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O Kong, Where Art Thou?

Kong - work in progress

Good things come to those who wait. Apparently.

An eternity ago, we promised you Kong, a wonderful new online tool for creating simple small business web sites, cheaply and efficiently. Fast forward several months to today and it’s still not ready. What gives?

Unfortunately there’s no single reason that I could give to pan off this question, end this blog post abruptly and return to my evening of watching MasterChef on TV, wishing that web programmers were showered with the same adulation as professional cooks. Rather, our seeming inability to deliver the enigmatic Kong is due to a whole variety of dazzling excuses, all of which I’m about to bore you with now. So buckle up and read on.

First up on my list of humble excuses is that building completely unfunded and massively ambitious internal products at the same time as providing high quality client services is somewhat challenging, to say the very least. Our work for clients always comes first and, as a result, we prioritise them above developing Kong no matter what (because, y’know, we like to make enough money to eat). Plus, truth be told, as much as we love Kong, we love working on client projects more.

At the end of the day, our business is primarily driven by work for our fabulous clients and Kong will always be something we have to develop in our spare time or when we’re not stupidly busy. And we’ve been busy, very, very busy. Perhaps the day will come when we can fund Kong’s full time development but right now, it’s something we work on in our downtime, free time, home time and, yes, holiday time.

Kong interface

Moving onto less sycophantic territory, regardless of how busy we’ve been with client projects, we have actually been hard at work on Kong in the background (you didn’t really think we hadn’t been doing any development work on it at all did you?) and it’s coming along very nicely indeed.

In fact, we’ve already been through our first phase of alpha testing and gathered a huge amount of valuable feedback and insight on how people use it… which, in return, prompted us to pause our delivery schedule and massively overhaul its user interface. We’re now on our third version of the UI and although we’re probably never going to be 100% satisfied with it, it’s looking pretty great. Indeed, every time I use Kong I see a glimmer of something special that I hope just isn’t the jaded imagination of my brain as it plays horrible tricks on me.

Kong interface

For my third and final excuse, I think it’s also fair for us to throw our hands in the air and admit that we just plain underestimated the scale of the damn thing. I’ve worked on some very large sites and systems in my time but they pale in comparison to the vast undertaking that is the behemoth Kong, particularly when we’re idiotic enough to follow the perfectionist principle of the long, hard, stupid way. Cue example of us spending an entire month building our very own text editor.

But my, have we learnt so much. At first glance the notion of developing an entire web builder system doesn’t seem so insanely crazy but, when you break down what’s involved in creating web applications of this size, you realise that they are gigantic endeavours and that there’s good reasons why our competitors in this field have millions of dollars investment and huge teams of designers and developers at their disposal. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Ultimately, creating something like Kong has been an incredible journey and taught us so, so much, giving us invaluable experience and industry skills that we wouldn’t have gained anywhere else. Plus, in a rather satisfying way, working on a system of this size has also allowed us to share the knowledge we’ve gained and resulting tools and technologies we’ve developed with our clients. It’s nice when things come to together like that.

Anyway, that’s where we are with everything. Kong is coming along, slowly but surely, steadily moving forward every month. It will be the worth the wait when it finally arrives. Hopefully.

If so inclined, you can sign up for the beta here.

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Author: Gordon McLachlan

Gordon is uncomfortably good looking.

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