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Netflix Serverless-like Platform with Vasanth Asokan

Software Engineering Daily,

Originally posted on Software Engineering Daily

The Netflix API is accessed by developers who build for over 1000 device types: TVs, smartphontes, VR headsets, laptops. If it has a screen, it can probably run Netflix. On each of these different devices, the Netflix experience is different. Different screen sizes mean there is variable space to display the content.

When you open up Netflix, you want to efficiently browse through movies. The frontend engineers who are building different experiences for different device types need to make different requests to the backend to fetch the right amount of data. This was the engineering problem that Vasanth Asokan and his team at Netflix was tasked with solving: how do you enable lots of different frontend engineers to get whatever they need from the backend?

This problem led to the development of a “serverless-like platform” within Netflix, which Vasanth wrote about in a few popular articles on Medium. This platform enables frontend developers to write and deploy backend scripts to fetch data, decoupling the responsibilities of frontend engineers and backend engineers.

The tight coupling of frontend and backend engineering was problematic to the development velocity of Netflix.

We have done many shows about Netflix engineering, covering topics like data engineering, user interface design, and performance monitoring. To find these old episodes, you can download the Software Engineering Daily app for iOS and for Android. With these apps, we are building a new way to consume content about software engineering. They are open-sourced at github.com/softwareengineeringdaily. If you are looking for an open source project to get involved with, we would love to get your help.

Transcript

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