Fast Titles. That is what I learned about Open Source

Four years ago, during my PHP period, I released my first open source project: Fast titles.

It was a small tool for importing Final Cut subtitles via xml. In fact (sounds strange) the most famous video editing platform in the world doesn’t have a system to import massively subtitles, you have to insert them one by one, one per clip. A big waste of time.

The application was a small (tiny) success and after a long time many video editors still write to me to thank and ask for additional features. But now I moved on.

Here what I learned from that experience:

  • It doesn’t matter if you have many or few users, solving a problem for them is always a great satisfaction.
  • Use your project to experiment with something new. A language, a design pattern, a technology.. anything.
  • (See above). When you use something for the first time the result could be terrible. Do it anyway. Open source is research, not demanding perfection.
  • Start with a small idea. Don’t expect to build the new facebook, for that you should invest time and money. Do something possible and “get this shit done”.
  • If you don’t have ideas, talk to your mum, your friends, your colleagues. A light bulb will go on.
  • Love your project with all your strength but recognize when it’s time to let it go.
  • Your users are not your customers. They are not paying, dedicate the right time to them and don’t accept bullying.
  • Search for people who contribute and give them credits. Feedback is also a contribution
  • Accept, and thanks for every single feedback you receive. You will need them a lot
  • Have a button to collect money, but unless you have a lot of users you won’t get rich.

Good luck!


Irene Iaccio

Freelance web developer

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