OK, Backpack is due for release soon and as I had signed up for updates, I got a ‘preview’ account. And I gotta say, it’s pretty cool. Read the official preview to get an impression. Of course this is all buzz in them blogs as well.
Backpack is like a mixture of everything. What struck me the most is that it is just like a wiki—you create arbitrary pages and you can add content to them.
There are the notes, which are just like blog posts. You can create one list per page, which is the same functionality as Ta-Da. Of course, you can add any arbitrary content to the page body. And links to other pages you’ve created. Just like a wiki. And you can also add arbitrary files & images to each page, but these are only for paid members.
You can share your pages with others, and let them add content. Sharing is the best thing about Ta-Da, I can’t tell you enough on how convenient this is. Not tested it, as I can’t share pages till it’s released to the public.
Then there are the reminders. Haven’t got around to playing with those yet.
Even though all this functionality is ‘out there’ in different applications by themselves, Backpack is, how shall I put this, perfectly usable and elegant. I could very well put up a public wiki or something for collaboration, but it won’t match Backpack’s ease of use.
It’s the little features that make my day. You use Textile formatting for everything—I would have preferred Markdown though. And Backpack’s interface is excellent—miles ahead of Ta-Da and Basecamp, and that is saying a lot. You add things, they are updated instantly. You never need to reload a page. Hover over items to edit them. Highlighting and all is done perfectly. Everything is dynamic, and everything just works.
All’s not perfect though. You register for free, and your functionality is pretty limited. You can’t upload files & images—this is understandable.
But what I don’t like is you’re just limited to creating three pages other than you home page. This just sucks—there isn’t much you can manage by just three pages. (Update: This seems to be updated to five pages, which is better.) And you’re limited to 10 reminders.
You know, if I was in the States, I’d just buy a paid account. But the conversion of rates into Rupees just kills it. Can’t afford it. Still, goodbye Ta-Da list, hello Backpack. And sorry to those friends with whom I’m sharing lists at present, you’ll have to register to another site. Again.
As a sidenote, viral marketing only works if your product is good enough. It worked for GMail, it’s working for Backpack. It’s not gonna work for everything (read Yahoo! 360).