UK, 3 January 2017. In an exclusive interview with the Sikh24 news portal, the innovative Sikh resource developer group Khalis Foundation took time out for an interview revealing exciting new details about the upcoming version of the Gurbani search app, SikhiToTheMax.
Khalis Foundation has been developing innovative Sikhi apps for some time now. The Sundar Gutka app is one of the most downloaded Sikhi apps in the world. A whole array of other apps including, Baal Bodh (a Punjabi learning resource for kids), My Pothi (digital version of your own shabad listings book), Learn Larrivar (the title speaks for itself), amongst others.
They also host a variety of resources such as Vidhia, an online Sikh literature resource where countless books have been digitized for viewing or saving. The infamous online kirtan resource Keertan.net is also a Khalis baby.
Working with Khalsa Foundation, a UK based charity that promotes Sikhi through talks and camps, the two organizations have been collaborating resources to complete the project.
Reaching out to Khalis, we were put in touch with Navdeep Singh, the lead developer for the upcoming SikhiToTheMax release. A 30 year old Gursikh from Vancouver, Canada, he shares insightful details on the progress and expectations of the release.
Navdeep Singh has been enthused by technology since he can remember, a developer for 11 years and recently compelled to foray into the world of mobile apps. He finds himself often thinking in code and dreaming in stylesheets and enjoys helping others get up and going in their times of tech distress. He is also currently a small business owner.
S24: The question on everyone’s lips is; when does the new SikhiToTheMAx release?
NS: The first public beta will be released on January 6, with Maharaj Jee’s Kirpa. Anyone will be able to download it then and use in the settings that they’d like. There will be an auto-update feature so the newest version will always be downloaded and installed automatically.
Editor’s note: You’ll need to register your interest in the beta in order to be informed of it’s release.
S24: How excited are you to be working on this project?
NS: Gurprasad. I thank Maharaj Ji constantly for blessing me with the opportunity to work on such a project that, if it is in will of Akal Purakh, will help Sangat across the world connect with Gurbani in new ways.
S24: Have previous versions influenced your life? If so how?
NS: Indeed, I thank the Sevaadaars who have worked on previous versions, which were revolutionary. SikhiToTheMax brought me closer to Gurbani and gave me a taste of appreciation for the limitless ocean that is our Shabad Guru.
To have translations available alongside Gurbani in the settings of Gurdware Sahibs and Sangat at home while Ucharan and/or Keertan was happening was something completely new and amazing.
S24: How do you think the software has altered access to Gurbani for Sikhs across the world?
NS: The software has forever changed it. The grateful acceptance of SikhiToTheMax on large screens made it clear that access on small screens would be the next logical step when the technology became available. Specifically, SikhiToTheMax for PocketPC paved the way for all future mobile Gurbani-searching apps.
It was the first version that I used on a regular basis personally. First-letter search is something that we take for granted nowadays, but it started with SikhiToTheMax.
To hear a Panktee being recited or Shabad being sung and now having the ability to look up that Shabad in just a few taps on our everyday devices is bringing us closer to Gurbani.
S24: What new features are you hoping to introduce that would compliment the current version of the software? – How would these features improve the Gurbani search experience?
NS: We want the experience of reading Gurbani to be even more personal and hands-off. We’re aware that everyone is in their own stage of learning how to connect with Gurbani.
As much as we might try, we know it’s not possible to find the perfect balance of font sizes to fit Gurbani, English translations, Punjabi translations, English transliterations, and/or Arth from various Teekay all on one screen so that everyone will be happy.
What this means today is that Sangat will pull out their phones and search for the Shabads and toggle what they need to see. This is distracting in that everyone is now engaged with the operations of searching and scrolling rather than internalizing.
The new SikhiToTheMax will have a mobile app as well that will allow you to join the session that is already ongoing on the large screen.
Your own Larivaar/PadChhed/translation/transliteration settings are applied so you see what is important to you, but all of the searching and scrolling are being done for you by the Sevadaar who is controlling the projector screen. This means that your experience is hands-off and focused on internalizing Gurbani.
S24: There are quite a few Gurbani search softwares out there right now. How will the new SikhiToTheMax offer of a more unique experience? Other than the above, of course.
NS: Khalis Foundation is not looking to replace or compete with Sevaa that is being already being done. In fact, we are collaborating with developers of a number Gurbani-searching apps on a project to bring the most accurate versions of digitized Gurbani to Gurbani app developers.
How SikhiToTheMax will differentiate itself will be its ability to broadcast not only to other mobile devices, but in a unique way to wireless casting hardware such as Google Chromecast.
S24: How many of you are there in your team?
NS: There are a number of components to SikhiToTheMax, from design to database to website to mobile app to desktop app, and we have a number of designers and developers helping with various aspects of the process and giving their input.
S24: The original software designer was Bhai Tarsem Singh in the UK. Have you or your team been in touch with him or his team to obtain their input into the vision for the new release?
NS: We were very fortunate to have the blessing of the original SikhiToTheMax team to create the newest offering. Their input has been wonderful.
S24: Have sufficient funds been donated to enable a complete creation of the vision intended?
NS: With the grace of Akal Purakh, we have enough funding to last a few more months, but still lack enough to continue until the end of 2017. We are unlikely to reach the milestone of the full release without further funding though. We would be very grateful to receive more recurring donations, which can be setup at khalisfoundation.org/donate.
Editor’s note: UK donors can contribute through Khalsa Foundation.
S24: What platforms will the release be available on?
NS: The software will ultimately be available on desktop and mobile, with planned support for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The beta will start with desktop and will be followed by a mobile beta at a later date.
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