Home 37Signals Relaunches Backpack Organizational Tool

37Signals Relaunches Backpack Organizational Tool

37Signals relaunched their Backpack service today. The app’s back end code was completely rebuilt from scratch, according to Jason Fried, and the service also got a new UI to match some of 37Signals’ other recently updated products (such as Basecamp). The design still feels very familiar to any 37Signals app user, however.

There are a number of new features in Backpack, but a handful of them really stick out, and those are the ones that I’ll focus on in this post.

Perhaps the best new feature is that you can now move anything, anywhere on your Backpack page. It used to be that items on your page were mostly fixed, but now every item can be dragged and dropped around the page using AJAX. This makes organizing your pages much easier. You can more easily group related items, or move them around as you add bits or change and update things.

Hard to see in this shot, but you can drag items between pages.

Extending from the drag and drop functionality, you can now drag items between pages. Just drag an item from one page and drop it onto the link for any other page in your sidebar and it will automatically be added to that page. If you drag an item onto the “Make a new page” button, Backpack will create a new page with your item on it. (Check out a demo movie here.)

Another long overdue feature that makes an appearance in the new Backpack: search. You can now search all of your Backpack pages and search terms are highlighted in yellow in the results, which makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for. Other new features: titles for lists, picture galleries, and page dividers, and new RSS feeds.

Dividers can now have their own unique titles.


Backpack is a great organizational tool that got a little better today. We’re big fans of 37Signals apps here, and use Basecamp (a project management application) daily to keep track of things going on across the Read/WriteWeb network. Now, to make me really happy, 37Signals needs to integrate Backpack and Highrise (their contact manager). Highrise has a feature called Cases that lets you group information about dealings with contacts on a single page (i.e., keep notes about your real estate agent and a to-list of things you need to do for your open house together in one place), but adding full Backpack functionality would put Cases on steroids. One can dream.

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