Case Study

Netflix

Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with more than 130 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Challenge

Netflix maintains several apps, for their internal teams to use for keeping track of finances across the spectrum. There is currently a big push to standardize all the apps, and convert them to React, but there was still Ember work to be done, in the meantime. Ship Shape was tasked with whipping the Ember apps into shape, increasing code coverage from tests, and developing some long awaited new features, freeing up the internal Netflix teams to work on the rewrite.

One of these features was the Cost Categories page, in an app that helps break down the costs associated with shows and movies. The app was fully integrated with Ember Data, and mostly used JSON API for the endpoints previously, but the new endpoints were using a different format that did not follow REST or JSON API standards, which meant we needed a very custom Ember Data setup, to support these APIs.

Solution

One of the first issues we had to overcome was displaying a table of default values when a call to get the cost categories returned a 404. With JSON API, this would have returned a 200, with an empty response, but with our API it returned a 404, which would typically but your app into an error state. To get around this, we caught the error, and instead returned the default data we wanted. The details of this approach are outlined in our blog post on Creating a Default Record When a belongsTo Request Errors.

Another issue we encountered was it was not possible to setup links to pull in related data automatically, like you typically would with JSON API, so we decided to setup custom serializers that manually added in the links. This allowed us to use typical belongsTo and hasMany relationships and automatically fetch the data we needed. The setup for this is outlined in our blog post on Ad Hoc Relationships with Ember Data.

In addition to the custom Ember Data work we did, we had a need for a table that would allow us to use very specific components in each cell, and add header rows with the cost category names, with an optional add row functionality, for categories that supported multiple values of the same type. To accomplish this, we used ember-light-table, and nested ember-power-select dropdowns in the cells. This allowed us to set default placeholder values, and disabled fields that were not editable.

Outcome

The Cost Categories table now allows developers to use Ember Data like any other app, and interact with the models in the way they are used to. The table also allows users to accurately track the cost category values, which both shows the cost values with more granularity than before, and allows for multiple values of the same type, via the add row functionality we developed.