Shawn Wildermuth

Author, Teacher, and Filmmaker
.NET Foundation Board Member

Goodbye Netflix API (And HowToWat.ch Too)

Goodbye Netflix API (And HowToWat.ch Too)

Today is the day that Netflix has decided to shut down their public API. They stopped giving out API keys a long time ago, but except for a select few apps, all others are dead…including mine.

As I shut it down today I have no regrets. I actually am surprised by how long it has lasted because the road was rocky and I learned a lot.

When I built the app, I was trying to build a service that I wanted. Unfortunately without Netflix, I don’t think the service is worth keeping alive. The reality is that I really believe that every success is built up other perceived failures. The net result of HowToWat.ch is a lot of learning that has served me well and I am sure will serve me well in my next idea (whatever it is).

I thought it would be an interesting list to see what I actually learned by building HowToWat.ch:

  • I learned that a one person startup is a lot of work. That finding co-founders is a great idea.
  • I learned that validating your business idea is crucial to success even though as a dev all I want to do is start building something.
  • I learned that most business have a lot of partnerships, even when they are not remotely equal partnerships including content providers, app stores, and other stake holders.
  • I learned that you have very little power when dealing with the app stores (ahem….Apple’s mostly)
  • I learned that you can build a viable app using Cordova (e.g. PhoneGap)
  • I learned that trying to build a single codebase for your website and your app isn’t a terribly good idea.
  • I learned that code sharing is JavaScript isn’t trivial but it’s not too complex either.
  • I learned that mobile first responsive web takes more than *just* a bootstrap template.
  • I learned that touch on the web is harder than it should be.
  • I learned that tracking your user engagement is key to improving your product.
  • And lastly, I learned that there is a time to let go and move on.

    • If you’ve been a user of the app or the website, I want to thank for all the support. This isn’t a sad day, just a day to move on to another idea…