Data Points and Mass Migration

Sunday was a busy, busy day. No rest for the wicked or the weary or some such. We migrated all our projects over from Basecamp Classic to Basecamp (which is the name for the new Basecamp). I don’t know if I’m a fan of companies doing reboots and going back to the original name (like Apple has done with the new iPad which is just called the iPad), but I sure prefer it to the trend of Product_Name 2.0. That kinda was cool for a microsecond and then got really stale.

Most of the features I dig a great deal, but there are a few of the finer points I hope they massage a bit, such as the restoration of the file versioning system or what I tend to call the CMS, the change management system. It’s not there. It’s now a discussion based thing and this makes me a bit nervous. While I don’t mind some nebulous features found in social media sites, I just don’t know how keen I am on design decisions which fundamentally change workflow. You see as a publisher versions matter. Iterative states help protect and defend and can often save work in the long run. Using BC (Basecamp) as a file repository has served us in good stead. It’s as though suddenly being told to stop on green and go on red. It’s a procedural reversal and one which we’re frankly more than bit nervous about.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to change. I like the Daily Recaps. I like seeing what’s up at a glance. I like the minimalistic interface and how granular I can get to discrete bits of information. I dig the time and date stamps displayed whenever even the slightest of changes is made within Basecamp. I just want them to restore what could be argued as the most important feature for us back into the software. I asked if they had plans to roll it into a feature update to @37signals yesterday and I got radio silence. I’m hoping that means they’re silently working away (but I won’t cross my fingers). While the Basecamp Classic is still available to us, I imagine it will eventually go away (as most things do), so we might as well soldier ever onward.

Now putting the curtain back down. Do you really even like to hear about what goes on in the Mad Lab and the Business of Making Games? Let me know one way or the other.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!

2 Notes on, Data Points and Mass Migration

  1. I have gone around and around with 37 Signals support and Jason Fried himself about their destruction of Basecamp. That’s how I feel about it because I depended on the product immensely as a small freelancer.

    It’s not just file version that went away, text doc change comparison is gone too!

    At the end of the day they added UI polish and took away functionality. In my book, that’s a negative.

    One more feature they took away: the branding opportunities so clients come to your Basecamp.

    Here’s the capper: 37 Signals default response is that you can always go back to “Classic” (the one that works), but there are two problems with that. One, you would then have to pay for two separate subscriptions – for the classic and new version. And two, you CAN NOT import projects back into classic once they’ve been brought into the new Basecamp.

    I don’t believe they told people clearly enough that the new Basecamp was missing features that you might need. Here’s what I thought: “this is 37 Signals, they’re not going to screw-up their own product.” I misjudged.

    Right now I’m investigating using the new Google Drive/Docs for project management. It has potential, I believe.

  2. Bill,

    Good to note about the text doc change comparison. While we don’t rely upon that, I’m certain others, as yourself, rely upon it regularly. I did note the branding was gone. However, since we use BC largely internally, it has been a non-issue for us, yet I can see that as potentially impactful, though not to the degree of the other features which introduce disruptive elements into the workflow.

    I thought the default response might be something along the lines you’ve mentioned. I do wish they were more transparent about the differences between the two, and I don’t believe new customers even have a choice between their flavor of BC. At the level of our subscription, we can still use both, but there is enough to recommend in the new for us to deal with the other pains of the missing items.

    From the look of things, it seems it’s designed more for build and burn projects–ones you move through and then destroy–then the long-term, ongoing projects (like for lines) which we have in place. I didn’t even mention the missing templates (another feature, yet one I hear they are working on).

    As someone not only writing and overseeing multiple projects simultaneously, I’ve already found a lot of value in the changes–daily progress reports, time/date stamps, and so on–and will stay the course, just braced for possible hidden dangers ahead.

    Hopefully, 37 Signals will listen to our voices and respond in kind down the road after the dust settles a bit.

    Best regards,


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