Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


March 23, 0:27

Honey becomes Backpack, 37signals keeps busy

It's time to drop the code name. Honey is Backpack. The next big thing we've been working on at 37signals. It's an application we've been trying to narrow down in our heads for the better part of six months, but only recently acquired a focus sharp enough to start Getting Real.

And getting real we have. Backpack has once again provided me a fresh slate to experience the Rails anew, which always gives rise to a wealth of new ideas. I couldn't build a better framework any other way even if I wanted to. Frameworks Are Extractions and all that.

We've already extracted a big chunk of the technology already, actually. Remember those shiny new Ajax helpers in Rails 0.11.0? That's a Backpack extraction. Since the scope of this application is significantly larger than that of Ta-da, there was simply no way I was turned every Ajax opportunity into a mini-project of its own.

Those constraints again. If we had allowed ourselves to allocate an abundance of resources, we would perhaps just had followed what we knew from Ta-da. Did the mini-projects. Poured sweat and tears into hard work of hand-held Javascript. But we couldn't, so we didn't, and there you have it: A need to innovate.

Actually, that script/runner we also added this release. Backpack extraction. Oh, the incoming email support for Action Mailer? Backpack extraction.

No wonder the lines of code is currently a mere 585 despite having an application that does a ton more than Ta-da. I'm extracting every infrastructure breath I take. Luckily, I haven't drawn a kitchen sink yet.

But what do you care about technology. Do you want to know what it is, Neo? Yeah, I'd love to tell you, but what fun would that be. We're still 30-45 days from a release so why don't we leave it at what the trailer says:

Backpack helps you bring life's loose ends together

It's true too. My loose ends are being tied together awfully well. We've been eating the dog food since the application was a mere 100 lines.

Intrigued? How about signing up for our announcement list. We'll be picking beta testers off that list too.

Backpack is coming soon — it'll be better, not beta.

Challenge by Casey Gollan on March 23, 0:33

I can't wait for this! It sounds awesome...I can't wait to have my loose ends tied up!

Challenge by Jay on March 23, 1:16

OK, well I made a guess on SvN, but now I'm going to have to go another one with this extra info:
A hiking goods repairer e-tailer!

Backpack. Loose ends. Oh well.

Challenge by Robert Pierce on March 23, 1:42

Sounds intriguing. Pretty please let me be a beta tester. :)

Thanks for the interesting update. Now if I can just figure out what the heck Ajax is...

As for my hasty guess: A personal contact/calendar/resource management system (blog on rdbms steroids). Web-based, hence the carry it everywhere with you "backpack". Oh well, not as witty as "hiking goods repairer."

Challenge by Robert Pierce on March 23, 2:47

Followup: The "best" Ajax article I've found yet (understandable for the only moderately savvy of us):

Any others? Thanks for letting me hang around an learn. :)

Challenge by anand on March 23, 6:20

Robert, that is the article where the term AJAX was introduced for the first time .. Funny, how fast it got picked up by the blogosphere ..

Challenge by justin on March 23, 22:41

Ajax will be the buzz-word of 2005 - mark my words.

Challenge by Brandon on March 24, 5:24

Ajax will be the buzz-word of 2005 - mark my words.

Justin, I think you are a little late with that prediction ;)

Challenge by Matt Moriarity on April 10, 20:48

I would love to be a beta tester for Backpack, whatever the hell it is. I'm already a proud user of Basecamp and Rails, and I would love to see what your next project is all about. Already signed up for the announcement list.

Btw, why haven't you switched to Typo? It's got a script for converting from Movable Type.

Challenge by Matteo Vaccari on April 28, 6:16

''Frameworks Are Extractions and all that.''

Do you have a reference for that? The way you wrote this seems to imply it is something well-known... but my quick google search did not come up with anything relevant.