Introducing The OpenTok Playground

tokbox-inc_markWhen evaluating a new product or service, we know how important it is to be able to test out the technology first.  Stakeholders in different areas of the business, both developers and non developers, need to see and understand how the technology works.

We’ve noticed that for customers evaluating the OpenTok platform, without using the API, it can be challenging to visualise your use case. Even when a developer works through our Quick Start Guide, there can be a need for additional implementation to build a custom proof of concept. All of this translates into time invested during the business’ evaluation phase of the product; worse yet, it can lead to an incomplete or inaccurate evaluation.

We started to think about how to help users obtain a more comprehensive understanding of our platform’s functionality in the fastest and easiest way possible, even if they aren’t developers.

Enter The OpenTok Playground. The OpenTok Playground is designed to provide access to our APIs with an easy to use graphical interface. With just a click of a button, you can make granular API calls and get instant visual feedback.

Not only does this showcase the API, but it also answers those burning qualitative questions about your application. What is the quality of the tenth user’s experience in a video call if they are on a Mac Mini running Firefox while nine users are already publishing simultaneously? How about if half of them had a restricted frame rate? You can find out without writing a single line of code. All you need is The OpenTok Playground and a couple of colleagues.

But evaluation is just the start. Under the hood of the new UI is a tried and tested developer tool. Because our platform is an API, and developers use it for many different kinds of applications, TokBox employees used to have to reproduce corner case issues by building a new application for each new use case. After doing that a couple of times, we  built the first version of the Playground (formerly known as the Live Debugger). By entering a Session ID, you can join live sessions running your application and see the associated Session, Connection, or Stream data. This makes it easy to understand and iron out the workflows of your application.

You can access the tool here. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, let us know in the Tools section of our community forums or connect with us using the feedback widget built into The OpenTok Playground.