The vision behind Yahoo's Cocktails platform and Livestand app

Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz on how Cocktails and Livestand are designed to optimize both user and publisher experience.


This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

New content distribution platforms are springing up all around us. Most are from startups struggling to gain market visibility. When a long-term player like Yahoo enters the market, though, it’s important to give them thorough consideration. Late last year, Yahoo launched a multi-pronged platform called Cocktails, which they described as “a mix of HTML5, Node.JS, CSS3, JavaScript and a lot of ingenious, creative, mind-bending tricks from Yahoo’s engineers.” In this TOC podcast interview, Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz (@olympum), architect fellow and VP at Yahoo, shares the thinking that went into Cocktails as well as their Livestand app.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Cocktails & discoverability — Recommendations and delivering better, highly targeted content are keys to the Cocktails platform. [Discussed at the 1:20 mark.]
  • Livestand was built with Cocktails — What you see looks like a typical news app, but below the surface are loads of transformation and optimization tricks done via Cocktails that result in a terrific user experience. [Discussed at 2:02.]
  • We live in a “partially connected” world — One of the mistakes made by mobile app developers is the assumption that there’s always a live connection to the web. Yahoo recognizes that’s not always the case and built Cocktails with this issue in mind. [Discussed at 3:00.]
  • HTML5 as an alternative to native apps — Because Cocktails is built upon HTML5, publishers can experiment with it without feeling as locked into a platform as they would with native apps. [Discussed at 6:49.]
  • More than a presentation model — Livestand also lets publishers leverage Yahoo’s advertising and personalization systems. [Discussed at 8:40.]
  • Open source will play a critical role — Mojito, a component of Cocktails, will be open sourced soon. The benefits are to have the community look at what Yahoo has created and help extend the platform further. [Discussed at 9:17.]
  • Formats will converge … toward HTML5 — EPUB and mobi are tied to book formats whereas HTML5 allows for a much richer experience. As we rethink what a “book” can become, we’ll probably want to lean more on HTML5 and not try to graft more HTML5-like functionality onto EPUB/mobi. [Discussed at 11:45.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

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