Ondina

Release delayed

After working diligently for the past three months the 6th has come and gone. We missed our target Private Preview Release day and it’s extremely disappointing. I first realized we weren’t going to make the release date on Saturday. While we have a lot of the infrastructure in place and systems working (in fact we’ve been hosting a select few sites – including my personal sites – for the past two months) the Control Panel really isn’t anywhere it needs to be in order to provide anything worth previewing. Originally I intended to have a near fully functional Control Panel, complete with awesomeness folded into every page. Instead I found myself contemplating which features to drop from the Private Preview Release on Saturday: “I guess we can do without SSH access right now”, “I suppose only offering PHP hosting would suffice, for now”, “I don’t think we’ll need 1-Click installs at the time of release”, “Maybe we can do without database access”, “Do people really need to modify DNS?”. Ultimately today came down to “Can we provide a functional service that will really showcase what we’re doing?”

In end we can’t, yet. A truly huge disappointment; however, when presented with the options to “release soon, release often” or “delay and build a solid product” I ultimately chose the latter. So where do we go from here? Is Ondina to become the next Duke Nukem Forever? I want to take a moment to explain who “we” are and why it’s taken this long to produce a glimpse into the system.

Ondina was born of an old idea which masqueraded as “SeaCrow”. SeaCrow was half-assed attempt at making a web design/web development company which would host it’s clients sites. I teamed up with a good friend of mine, Mason Shelby, to get this done. Ultimately it didn’t pan out as neither of us had the time to truly invest into the idea. What resulted from this was a tool-set and server infrastructure that eventually would be used to build Ondina on. After a lot of scraping and re-tooling a new server infrastructure was devised. Since May 4th I’ve been working on laying the ground work for Ondina based on the trials of SeaCrow bouncing the idea off anyone who would listen. As I gathered more feedback from people and understood more the business aspect of an idea like Ondina, I began to pursue it further.

Early August I asked Stefano Palazzo if he could help with some design aspects. Little did I know how much assistance he would provide. In the time he’s helped with Ondina, Stefano has really helped in creating a solid user experience, but also has helped in a large capacity with security and communications aspects. In a later post I’ll explain exactly how Private Preview Release is setup and our aim for future infrastructure, but his Python experience and insight has been indispensable in getting Ondina as far as it’s come. Without his assistance Ondina would be delayed by months, not days.

The real delay in the project can be traced to one single point of failure, time. When I started Ondina I had one goal in mind: Quality above all else. Because of this I’ve refused to allow investments or outside revenue sources that could lower any portion of quality for Ondina. As a result this project is being entirely financed from my pocket. This includes the servers, development time, everything. As such my current employment position is vital to Ondina’s success, without my job there wouldn’t be any money (though it seems with my job there’s never any time). However, Ondina is designed to reach self-sufficiency quickly after public launch to avoid issues like cash flow and time constraints.

So when does Ondina Private Preview Release start?

We’ll be sending out the first batch of invites sometime before this Saturday, September 10th. From there everyone who signed up prior to the 6th will receive their invitation before the following Saturday. While we expect to be finished within the next few days the remaining days of the week will give us time to make sure everything truly is ready for you and everyone to use!

We look forward to sending out those first invitations and are excited for the future of this project! Feel free to field any comments here or on Google Plus