When starting to build Littlstar, our engineer brains wanted to build tools first. APIs, SDKs, players, encoding, etc. This not only gives us the tools we need to build the platform, but gives us an opportunity to give back to the community and work with other great developers. Within a few days, our co-founder Dom had an undocumented API that we could expose to the world. We were wondering if we should let the world see it in it's current form or not, and ultimately decided we should. What better way to refine it than to get it out there and get feedback?
The Random Email
We put the API out there as basically a read only content API. The only way you could interact with it, short of writing code, was to use curl. We had no libraries (which we have now), and no real documentation other than what's generated by a rails gem. We tweeted it out and posted to Facebook, and we expected very little to happen. Within a week, we received a random email from a developer name Den Ivanov. The email said something along the lines of: "Here is an .apk file for the Gear VR app I created based on your API." It was amazing :)
After a couple back and forth emails and Skype conversations, we decided to help Den release it into the wild. It may have been basic, but we had much to learn. So, we started working with Oculus over the course of a month, debugging, tweaking, testing, and ensuring proper operation across devices and operating systems. Once we had everything dialed, we got an email from Oculus. It said that the app was in a good place for release, and that they'd release it and feature it. Well, before anyone had a chance to read the email...they had released it and featured it. Wait! We wanted to wait until we added more content, and made a few tweaks before we released it. Too late. It was out there, and regardless we were thrilled to be one of the first applications EVER in the Gear VR.
The best way to learn something is to build something, test it, measure it, listen to feedback on it, and take the learnings into your next iteration. We learned a few things, and we're still learning! We have a basic upgrade to the VR apps coming, but there is something much bigger on the horizon. We look forward to hearing what you want in a great immersive experience, and please let us know what you'd like to see next!
Thanks for all the love and support while we build this new world together!
The Littlstar Team