It’s time to kick off a new developer series on the Amazon Developer Portal. These interviews help to highlight how developers on our platform are using our services and tools. To help promote how we are making publishing Web Apps a first class citizen on Fire Tablet, we sat down to interview SB Nation. Chris Hines, SB Nation's Sr Product Manager, tells us about how they are leveraging responsive design, HTML5 and our web app publishing tools to deploy their fan-centric sports community sites to Fire Tablet users.
Can you tell us a little bit about SBNation and your products?
SB Nation is the fastest-growing online sports media brand and the largest network of over 300 individual fan-centric sports communities. From the beginning, SB Nation has focused on developing the highest quality grassroots sports sites on the web, recruiting only the most respected web-native journalists to build their communities. SB Nation's audience consistently ranks as the most affluent and influential in the sports category.
SB Nation is published on Chorus, Vox Media's proprietary modern media stack. Chorus supports seven different verticals, over 300 individual communities, and thousands of writers.
Why did you choose HTML5 as your development platform?
Our sites our completely responsive at this point and when Amazon reached out about being a partner in their HTML5 program, it was really a no-brainer way to seamlessly enter the Kindle App marketplace.
Have you found HTML5 to be an easy platform to scale on?
Absolutely. We already have almost 70 apps running with only minimal development effort from our team.
Talk about your move from Web to mobile. What hurdles have you faced and what successes have you had?
The move from web to mobile was really very natural for us. Our audience was increasingly discovering and using our sites on their mobile phones and tablets (a percentage that is still growing every day). That led us to prioritize the development and performance of our mobile experience. The switch to a fully responsive experience across all of our sites was not without it's challenges, but it has ultimately been very fruitful for us.
How did you hear about publishing HTML5 apps on the Amazon Appstore?
Amazon reached out to us about being a partner.
Can you describe the process and how you got your web apps ready for the Amazon Appstore?
The process was very simple. We connected with an Amazon rep who got us squared away with a login for the developer console on Amazon. We pulled together an XML file of a number of our sites and passed that over to the team at Amazon. Less than a week later, our apps were live.
Were there any special modifications you needed to make to your site in order to get them working with the Web App Tester?
No changes were needed at all. It was very simple.
What are your thoughts on the move from Web to mobile for HTML5 developers?
For publishers, the mobile web will always be a large source of traffic, given the in-app browsers for large traffic sources (Twitter and Facebook) and search traffic, but HTML5 wrappers are very good ways for developers to take advantage of the native app experience and audience
What advice do you have for other companies that are leveraging HTML5 on the Web in order to make the move to native stores such as the Amazon Appstore?
Ultimately, the move to developing in HTML5 will be a benefit to the performance and flexibility of a web app and limit the specific development necessary for a native app thanks to stores like the Amazon Appstore.
Anything else you would like to add or say about the platform, your experience working with it or about the Amazon Appstore in general?
It has been a pleasure working with the Amazon team. Everything has been very simple and straightforward.
SB Nation is just one of many companies taking advantage of our HTML5 publishing tools for Fire OS. If you are looking for more information on how to publish your own Web Apps to Fire OS and any of our devices, make sure to get yourself a free developer account at http://developer.amazon.com and checkout the following links.
About Chris Haines
Chris Haines is the Senior Product Manager for Audience Development and SB Nation at Vox Media. In this role, Chris leads product development for Vox's SB Nation property and leads up all product efforts on Vox Media's Audience Development team.
- Jesse Freeman (@jessefreeman) is a Developer Evangelist at Amazon focusing on HTML5 and Games for the Amazon Appstore.