Sebastian Alonso

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Jan 5

Kaanna, the project that never got to launch day

If there is something that I have learned it’s that launch day should under no circumstance be postponed. And that is what happened in kaanna, a small translator, built around google translate’s API.

During the development of kaanna I focused on 2 axis which I consider keys to a good desktop software product: User experience & multi-platform. Kaanna got to be an outstanding, fully featured product, designed with everyday translations in mind. After highlighting a certain text, your translation was only a hot-key away, and it could be delivered both through the OS notification system or straight to your clipboard… Or both!

I was deeply engaged in this project. I took the time to port it to windows, dealt with windows native API, spent days working on the user interface to make it as intuitive as possible, testing it with relatives that are not familiar to computers and such, etc. I even packed it in a .exe installer and a .deb package! It was such an effort. And when did I get stuck?

I began planning launch day. I would email a ton of people, publish it on blogs, HN, Techcrunch, I’d build this super web page with an even greater SEO strategy, and so on… Everything got so big without even existing! And so it ended up not existing. Ever.

Months later google announced they would shutdown their API. And it was doomed. I no longer planned on launching it, since it had an expiration date. I kept using it on my daily translations, kept loving every single one of their features, until one day it no longer translated. Good bye Kaanna, you’re my project that never got to launch day.

tl;dr Life has taught me that postponing the launch of a project is no good, no matter what you are preparing. So launch it! Even if it’s unfinished, who cares, you will get a real life experience of it’s functioning.