Four Kitchens

NBC: Managing content for all devices

Decoupled architecture across platforms

The client is the online presence of NBC, the broadcast television network and flagship brand of NBCUniversal, a multi-national media conglomerate. NBC is responsible for some of your favorite entertainment, such as The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and Law & Order: SVU.

The problem

NBC has a lot of data of many different kinds, and it all has to be delivered across a lot of different platforms. Rather than building one way to deliver the latest episode of Dateline on Roku and a whole other way to deliver it on, the NBC team wanted a single — and fast — solution. While has their own internal web team, they need the expertise of the Four Kitchens Web Chefs to augment their team

Case Study: on mobile devices on mobile devices.

The solutions data includes video clips, full episodes, character bios, production credits, and a localizable schedule for over 230 NBC affiliates nationwide. Collaborating closely with NBC, our Web Chefs worked on building a content API that would allow NBC to deliver their data across different platforms and on a fully responsive main site

Migrating toward a new platform

The initial work with NBC was a challenge — we wanted to provide a fast, reusable solution for delivering content, and while we love Drupal, it’s not great at the kind of scaling needed for NBC. We eventually found a solution to take advantage of the good things Drupal does, while migrating to a new Node.js framework that can provide the scale needs for its UI. Along with the content API, the new UI for is something our Web Chefs were heavily involved in helping to build

Continuing development

With an eye on success, the Four Kitchens team continues to work to hit every benchmark, every time. When it comes to test coverage, we like to “keep it 100” — making sure every line of code has a test that touches it for 100% coverage. This allows us to limit the number of regressions we see so that when we implement a new bit of code, we can make sure it doesn’t break a feature we’ve already fixed

The first broadcast network on Amazon Alexa

Inspired by the Alexa codebase developed for (another NBC Universal property), came to the team at Four Kitchens to build out the first Amazon Echo “skill” for a broadcast TV network. The Alexa interface on Amazon Echo has a unique way of processing spoken language; the Web Chefs had to anticipate not just how people search for shows on NBC, but also how they might talk to their Echo. With the addition of a specific [alexa] field in the content data model, Echo can parse the information on and use that in its response

Case Study:, on Echo is now on Amazon Echo.

The details

As NBC’s digital presence grew, our team helped them rely less and less on Drupal, making things less custom-fit and more reusable across platforms, finding ways to manage their content once and present it everywhere.

Services provided

  • Built the Drupal-powered API for The Tonight Show
  • Built the Node.js-powered API that runs Saturday Night Live and NBC online
  • Moved to a “headless” site structure
  • Built the Amazon Alexa content API
  • Helped update the NBC Roku application

Technologies used

  • Drupal 7
  • JavaScript
  • Adios
  • AWS Lambda