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"Never before has there been a time when you could watch (video) programming and also be part of it, all from your phone—that is pretty powerful"

– Joe Perez, Co-Founder of Tastemade

BuddyTV

Tool Used: AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO)

OpenPath Products Helps Tastemade
Spice Up Their Video Review App

The Tastemade App Allows Tastemakers to create and share professional-looking videos about places they love right from their smartphone.

Last year, Tastemade enlisted the help of OpenPath Products to bring their ground-breaking app to Android. Tastemade is a global food and travel network for the mobile generation which now reaches over 25 million viewers per month on social networks like YouTube and Facebook as well as on connected devices like Roku and Apple TV. The Tastemade mobile app allows anyone to easily create a well-produced, high quality piece of video content.

With HD video capabilities, the speed of today's LTE networks and of course, the reach and ubiquity of mobile devices, they created the Tastemade Video City Guide app. This app contains professional-looking video reviews that bring local restaurants and attractions to life. What's unique about this app is that Tastemade has formulized the video review creation process so that anyone with a smartphone can contribute reviews that look professionally created and edited. Essentially, they've distilled or reduced the complexity of this process to a few simple steps performed right on the smartphone.

Users start by selecting a theme (includes music) and then recording short 10-15 second video clips for different segments of the video (e.g. introduction, ambiance, meal). The app takes these clips and with a little help from server-side video services, creates the final product. The whole process only takes a few minutes. Having launched successfully on iOS (featured in iTunes Store and received a lot of positive press) and understanding that the Android platform was different, Tastemade enlisted the help of OpenPath.

Tastemade phone image

"ARO helped identify and confirm that third party libraries were misbehaving with queries taking way longer than needed. We tweaked it and now it's much more responsive."

- Rich Smith, CTO and Co-Founder of OpenPath Products

OpenPath is a Veteran in the Mobile Space Starting Back in 2001

OpenPath started working with AT&T back in 2003 with clever, seasonal SMS-based apps (Santa and dreidel). Having journeyed through SMS, J2ME apps, Blackberry, iOS, and Android, and having launched over 23,000 apps, they were well suited for moving Tastemade's video and audio intensive app to Android. The Tastemade team had an in-house team create the iOS app and chose to partner with OpenPath to help develop the Android app—"Working with OpenPath allowed us to get to market faster than we could have done alone" said Joe Perez.

With an iOS reference app in hand, OpenPath sought out to recreate a comparably compelling Android experience. This task may be simple for your typical app but given the differences in the two mobile operating systems and with the heavy video and audio processing, they had several challenges to overcome.

For video and audio, they had to recreate (read low-level C programs) or find equivalent support libraries. During development, they discovered the default settings in some third-party libraries slowed down their app. Rich was grateful that "ARO helped identify and confirm third party libraries that was misbehaving with queries taking way longer than needed. We tweaked it and now it's much more responsive."

For the app to be fast enough, OpenPath had to get as many as 15 HD video clips uploaded to the server, fully edited with audio and music overlay and have the final product ready to play within a few minutes. Between actual optimizations and some perceived optimizations (e.g. pre-upload), they successfully created a fast app that has been well received and even includes wearable support.

"(ARO) keeps experienced developers doing what they should already be doing and it helps new developers to become even more effective."

- Rich Smith, CTO and Co-Founder of OpenPath Products

OpenPath Developers and Testers Incorporates AT&T ARO
Throughout Their Development Process

Rich was introduced to the AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) at the 2012 AT&T Developer Summit and from that first version, he could "see the promise of ARO immediately". Today, Rich's Annapolis, Maryland team of architects, developers, testers and graphic artists use AT&T ARO as "part of our suite of tools for providing quality products." ARO is used primarily by his testers and by his developers. Both seasoned and new developers use ARO's Mobile Best Practice recommendations as an objective checklist during development. "Even senior developers with 10 years experience and 10,000 hours need this automated check list," says Rich, adding "(ARO) keeps experienced developers doing what they should already be doing and it helps new developers to become even more effective."

For testers, ARO provides "independent analysis we can run without a lot of grief and that testers can run as well. It provides a whole extra perspective." Rich goes on to say "testers can use it independently of developers. Normally, they can't tell what's happening under the hood but with ARO, testers can see what data is going across the wire. Testers can take it and run with it. It gives them independent validation and verification.

More than just a checklist, ARO also "gives concrete advice and includes the whys for each best practice. It's a good training tool and a good validation tool." Compared with other optimization tools, Rich finds ARO the "most comprehensive tool" and "all data is cross referenced so I can easily click on it … it even ties to video of the app." OpenPath has had so much success with applying ARO's analysis to their software development and testing processes that they even offer an independent code audit and app assessment service for their customers. When a company is purchasing another a company with mobile app assets, they use ARO to help evaluate the quality of their apps.

“I would recommend ARO. It's fantastic to have independent analysis that our tester can run … It adds a whole extra perspective."

- Rich Smith, CTO and Co-Founder of OpenPath Products

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