Mobile Continuous Delivery with a DevOps Mindset

Talk our colleague Patrick Debois gave at Velocityconf 2015. It touches a few of the same things we talked about in From Idea to App (or “How we roll at Small Town Heroes”) in a deeper way, along with a truckload of more information on how we do things at Small Town Heroes.


This presentation guides you through the toolspace and allows you to think similar for both mobile development and operations with a devops mindset.

The slides are also available on SlideShare.

Blokken case study

About 60% of Millennials (18-35) in the USA did not watch linear TV last month. With the Blokken Quiz App (iOS and Android app), public broadcaster één wanted the popular, 20-year old daily TV quiz show to resonate again with those millennials. As the average age of the Blokken viewer has risen to 41 and viewer numbers plummeted below 30, the idea was to make Blokken the most popular Quiz app in Flanders.

The app is a mix of Quiz-up (simply the best international quiz app) and Letterpress (a fun word puzzle game); it has 3 different game modes with a similar gameplay: 8 questions from the Blokken question archive; every correct answer unlocks a letter and finally an 8-letter word has to be guessed with the help of the unlocked letters. One game mode has questions of tomorrow's show, another is a real-time battle against a friend and a third mode is free play.

BlokkenUsage.jpg

After 150.000 downloads since February 2015, the app is a popular pass-along quiz snack amongst many Blokken viewers and people who have long stopped watching the show on TV. The average age of the app is 19, a normal day still sees over 10.000 users. To get in the alltime high-scores, one has to play over 40.000 games to catch up with the top-10. Over 80 million games are already played and over 4 million hours have been spent in the new Blokken world.

The app concept was created with an important restriction: we couldn't use the TV program's use of the Tetris game in the app. We created a game that resembles the game-play in the TV-show but  is not exactly the same either. Great attention was paid to the user experience. We needed to appeal to millineals but the same time not try to alienate the existing, older TV audience. The designs are thus spark and minimal and focus on the task at hand: winning a battle from a friend with readable questions, speedy feedback and clear visualisation of scores and progress. Every game is programmed to last less than three minutes, thus making it an ideal snack moment when waiting for buses, (late) trains and - well - other things people do when they need to be entertained.

The most fun and challenging game mode is the real-time battle. Two players can compete against each other live or - when the opponent is away from mobile - in delayed mode. The technical challenges to make this real-time user experience smooth and user friendly and scalable enough to handle peak traffic and robust, were big.

The Blokken app has surpassed our expectations and those of our client. We will keep pushing new versions and add a whole set of new features end of 2015, with interesting possibilities for brands and advertisers. Stay tuned.

iOS download   //   Android download