What I have learned building Songkira.com

I’m hacker and love to listen the songs while programming. My concept of life revolves around music and programming.

Music + Programming = Life

One month ago, I was searching for song ‘Pehla Nasha’. The search results shown by search engines were mostly remix versions. But I was looking for the original song and wanted only one result per song.

A great way to build software is to start out by solving your own problems.
— Getting Real (a book by 37signals)

This idea of showing only one result per song become core of Songkira. In last week of Dec 2013, I started working on crawler codes of this new search engine. It had no name; I used to call it ‘engine’. After programming the crawler codes for two days and realizing that it was not working as expected, I decided to work on front-end first.

I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.
— Mark Zuckerberg

A name was required to work on front-end so I gave it a weird name ‘Songrat’. It was based on a philosopher Socrates.

I love taking an idea... to a prototype and then to a product that millions of people use.

In 4 hrs, prototype of front-end was ready and functioning properly with demo database. It was responsive web app and built using AngularJS. This was my first AngularJS project.

I was looking for better name — something better than Songrat. After playing with few combinations of song, rat, music, time and universe, I started asking to my friends to suggest a name. Suggestions given by friends were not so impressive, so I decided to continue with Songrat.

You know that naming a startup and securing a great domain is difficult, but you’re committed to the cause because you realize it’s important.

I was chatting on facebook with my friend Kiran, she suggested names like SongIn, SongMaster etc. None of the name was available as .com domain. I thought of using her name so I just checked domain name songkiran.com and it was available :-)

Songkira first version: front end with demo database.

But I wanted a short name so I tried variation, by removing last letter from ‘Kiran’, Songkira.com and voilà, it was available too.

This is the screenshot of first version of Songkira which was working on demo database.

I again started working on crawler codes from scratch. Its a good habit that I don’t give up easily.

Never give up. You only get one life. Go for it!
Richard E. Grant

After hours of coding and lots of debugging, crawler was working. crawler is a program which fetches web pages from the Internet and extracts required information and stores it into database. It was two step crawler containing 250+ lines of PHP codes. I know it was very buggy but still it was working.

The Launch Day

On 25 Dec 2013, Songkira.com went live as beta version. Subtitled as ‘You will fall in love with’ and described as ‘The most awesome music search engine’. This subtitle is inspired by my favorite source code editor Sublime Text.

This version of Songkira had 2,500 Hindi songs indexed, ranging from year 1994 to 2013. Search was slow and had many user experience issues. But it was working and easy to use web app.

Screenshot of Songkira’s first live version. It had no play or share option.

Feedback From Day One

I worked on Songkira’s front-end and crawler codes every day. Many users were giving feedback on facebook and twitter. Songkira’s live version was being updated 20-30 times a day. After valuable feedback from users and many iterations of development, Songkira’s new major version went live on 2 Jan 2014.

2nd January — On B’Day of Kiran,
New version of Songkira went live wishing happy birthday to Kiran. After all Songkira’s name was inspired by her name.

First Big Achievement

6 Jan 2014 was a special day for Songkira as it was A. R. Rahman’s B’Day. The media website YourStory published a article about A. R. Rehman’s birthday and Songkira was covered along with top 10 players of the music industry. It was big achievement for web app which was just two weeks old — or say young.

Today Songkira has more than 21,500 Hindi songs indexed also some Tamil songs are indexed. Soon it will have Marathi songs in its database.

Grow inch by inch, minute by minute.

Songkira is improving day by day. Its still in beta and I’m trying to add support for English songs.

While building Songkira, I have learned many things regarding music — genre, marketing — social and offline and development — AngularJS and PHP. And I hope to learn more.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
— Mahatma Gandhi
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