This is part 2 of my interview with Jason Southwell of Arcana@Sivv. Jason is attempting to crowd source through KickStarter the funding of his new component library NakeyMonkey. NakeyMonkey will be FireMonkey wrappers around native Windows and OSX controls.
Jason needs to reach his $20 000 goal in just under a week or as per KickStarter rules, the credit cards of the backers will not be debited and Jason receives no funding. If you’d like to see native OS controls alongside FireMonkey controls please consider pledging towards his NakeyMonkey project.
So NakeyMonkey doesn’t replace FireMonkey, rather it’s giving you additional controls, native to the OS, that you can use in your FireMonkey applications alongside the FireMonkey controls. What is the level of interaction between the FireMonkey controls and the NakeyMonkey controls. For example can you host a NakeyMonkey edit control inside a FireMonkey listbox or can the NakeyMonkey controls be used in FireMonkey animations?
The intention is to make NakeyMonkey as “first-class” as possible within the Firemonkey framework and as such they can be used in Firemonkey Animations. However, they can only be parented by other NakeyMonkey controls or a Firemonkey control that has been altered to support the NakeyMonkey Container Interface. It should be possible to create a TListBox descendant that implements the container interface permitting native controls to be used within it.
The average amount pledged by most of your “backers” at KickStarter is currently around $100. For that $100 what will they receive and how confident can they be that you will deliver a completed product if your NakeyMonkey project reaches its $20,000 goal and is funded?
Essentially the $100 will provide them a Native OS component pack including at least 3 native controls, one of which we’ve committed to being a Rich Text Editor. They also get the right to receive beta builds and will get support for the product for a year. I’m extremely confident that we will be able to deliver this initial product. My hope was that we also would be able to deliver a bigger component pack and offered to write one additional component for every $5k we collect over the $20k goal, but it looks like right now we will need quite a bit of help even reach that initial $20k commitment.
What is the current status of NakeyMonkey and are you using it in any of your professional development projects?
We are essentially at proof of concept stage. We put together a functioning Rich Edit control that cross compiles on OSX and Windows and does so on top of a very slick native os control framework. You can see the functioning demo of this in the project video on Kickstarter.
The amount of effort that went into doing that was quite substantial and that’s when we decided to use Kickstarter to prove the market before we spent any more time and money on it. If we can’t find 200 or so people willing to put in $100 to make this happen, then there isn’t going to be a big enough market to justify finishing the product. I believe that this is important and something that every Firemonkey developer needs. But are there enough other Delphi developers that agree? That is to be seen.
This is the second instance that I know of of a Delphi developer attempting to use crowd sourcing to fund development of a library or component suite, the first being Simon J. Stuart’s Lua4Delphi. As a developer who has released commercial, open source and now hopefully crowd sourced components do you have any thoughts on the future of each of these models in the Delphi world?
At one point there was a statistic going around that said something like only 10% of Delphi developers even use third party components. This makes a very small market from which to target as a third party component vendor. My first commercial set of components was for Intraweb, which was a niche of a niche and that meant for a very tough business environment. That’s kind of where we are today with Firemonkey too. It’s so new that there aren’t a lot of people building Firemonkey apps and you again have a niche of a niche. And since Firemonkey only works with Delphi XE2, your potential market is further reduced to those that have actually shelled out money on the upgrade.
So when you are dealing with a micro-niche, you can save a ton of agrevation if you know there will be people to buy your product before you spend the money and time building it. This is the reason we went to Kickstarter. It was less for funding than it was to simply prove the market.
We haven’t had a huge uptake for our Apesuite components for Firemonkey, which was fine for that project as the components were written specifically to support our internal development projects, but we won’t be able to support a project like NakeyMonkey unless we see a much better uptake. Kickstarter allows us to gauge that interest before we spend too many resources on development.
I almost see crowd funding to be more market research than anything else. Sure it’s great to get some money up front for your project, but knowing how your products will be received and reducing the cost of customer acquisition at the same time is terrific.