Content providers often encounter difficult choices when trying to expand their offerings. You have the content, but how do you get it on to various platforms for people to enjoy? There are a few decisions you can make: hire a development team to create an app from scratch or hire a design team to create an interface.
Last year, in an effort help developers quickly create simple, media-oriented apps, we introduced the Web App Starter Kit—a template solution for Fire TV using web technologies. To expand our offerings, we now offer a native Android solution: Fire App Builder.
Fire App Builder
Fire App Builder is a Java framework that allows developers to quickly build immersive, native Android media applications for Fire TV without writing code. This is accomplished by using a plug-and-play Java framework based on easy configuration files. Developers simply specify the format of their media feed and add resources for logos and colors to create a rich media TV experience.
Fire App Builder provides a functional foundation that does not require a team of highly technical, often expensive, developers to build on. It includes a familiar interface as well as a modular structure that supports most features common to media apps, including ways to monetize, ad support, analytics, search capability, and much more. With Fire App Builder, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, which greatly reduces the amount of effort, time, and resources to create a rich 10-foot experience for Android and Fire TV.
Sample app from Fire App Builder
Fire App Builder contains a sample app (called “Application”) with a home screen that looks as follows:
The home screen of the Fire App Builder sample app. The sample app in Fire App Builder contains a generic video feed from Lightcast that is used for testing purposes only
How does it work?
Some setup with Android Studio is required to work with Fire App Builder. (See this list of requirements.)
Fire App Builder consists of several files designed for use with Android Studio. To start, you download or clone the Fire App Builder project from Github (published under the Apache 2.0 license). This Github repo will provide you with all of the source code for the sample app. You can run the sample to get familiar with the functionality and look and feel of the app.
Once you are familiar with the basic components, you can start to customize the app by loading your own media feed. You can configure how your media is displayed and categorized to best suit your needs using Fire App Builder’s recipes or by creating your own.
When your content is displayed the way you want it, you can start to customize the appearance of the app. You can customize as little or as much as you’d like, having access to fonts, splash screens, page layouts, overlays, icons, background images, and more—the sky’s the limit.
Fire App Builder is designed to be modular, so you can add whichever components best suit your business needs—ads, analytics, authentication, or in-app purchasing components. This can all be done by loading only the components you want to use within your app and leaving out those you don’t.
Submitting your app
Your app is ready, now what? Since this is a native Android app, you can use tools like Live App Testing to have select users test your app, or you can submit your app for publishing. Either way, you can rest assured knowing that the functional aspects of the app were built to meet or exceed industry standards.
We’re excited to see what you build with Fire App Builder. We are always happy to hear from you, so please feel free to send any questions, feature requests, comments, or feedback through the Issues tab on the Fire App Builder Github repository or through the Fire TV forums.