Last month, we announced Queued, an open-source application for managing your Netflix Queue. Queued is a desktop application created with web technologies and techniques including the Dojo Toolkit, and it is distributed as an Adobe AIR application to provide several performance boosting benefits from living on the desktop.

At SitePen, we help our clients build great web applications. Most are not available for public consumption as they live behind company firewalls and/or require licensing. On the other hand, Queued is free and open-source software, BSD-licensed, and hosted on Google Code.

Queued Beta

The project started with a discussion with Rob Christensen of the Adobe AIR team. The Netflix API had just been developed, and we had previously worked with Adobe to make Adobe AIR work with Dojo, and also worked together on the Dojo Extensions for Adobe AIR (dAir), and on the Dojo Toolbox. We quickly converged on the idea of creating an application sponsored in part by Adobe, to make it easier to manage a Netflix Queue.

Even if you don’t have a Netflix account, Queued can still be very useful for understanding the SitePen approach to building web applications. From now until the end of the month, we will be running a series of blog posts explaining the various things that come together to build an application like Queued, from low-level APIs to high-level interaction design.

Adobe AIR offers several benefits for such an application over a traditional web application:

  • Offline data storage for caching movie image files and an encrypted local data store
  • Desktop functionality including icon, notifications of movies shipping or being received by Netlfix, and running the application in a separate application process
  • WebKit, which allowed us to target one very feature rich browser, allowing us to create a beautiful application that isn’t possible in Internet Explorer 6 and 7

In many cases we pushed the limits of AIR in creating a beautiful, simple application for managing your Netflix Queue. This blog series provides extra insight into how to build a complex application like Queued with great open-source tools. Each blog post will come from a different member of the SitePen team, explaining a different aspect of the application in context of their expertise. We’ll also provide insight into lessons learned and difficulties along the way. Check back tomorrow to learn more about how our team built Queued.