October 19, 2023

🥞 Stacks, and how we did it

Hi again!

What does your desktop look like? Neat folders? Files everywhere? We don’t make changes to the Basecamp home screen very often. It’s a delicate balance between adding utility and just making things more complicated. But we’d seen from customers, and our own use, that it might be time to allow for a bit more organization. Enter: Stacks on the home screen (for desktop and mobile apps). Stacks let you group projects together, the same way you would stacks of papers or folders on your desk. You can try it yourself, right now. Or, check out this video.

Some of you will be just as interested in how we made this feature, so here’s a brief tour through the process, from the Shaping document that describes what problem we’re trying to solve (check out Shape Up, if that’s new to you), to the design review with Jason Fried, Brian Bailey (product manager) and Dorin Vancea (designer).

Here are some other things you might have missed…

Thoughts We’ve Shared

How “Campfire” becomes “Chat”

As we continue our focus on simplicity, ease, and clarity, we decided to rename the “Campfire” tool to “Chat.” That brings it in line with the other tools with self-explanatory names. This sounds like a minor change, and it is, but at our scale, every clarification has a big impact down the line. Here’s how we kept this from becoming hard. Hopefully our approach is helpful to your next easy thing, too.

You don’t create a culture

Company culture is more than just a buzzword or a section in your employee handbook. It’s not something you can just write down and expect to manifest. It creates itself organically, through the attitudes and actions of your team that define how you work and more importantly how you work together. This Rework Podcast episode covers the pivotal distinction between “wanting” the right culture and actively “doing the work” to foster a positive culture that truly reflects your values.

Things We’re Excited About

Rails World celebrated the 20 years of Ruby on Rails, and introduced so many new tools. Here’s a few of them:

  • Strada enables you to create fully native controls in your hybrid mobile apps, driven by the web. Build web components and native components that work together in WebView screens to elevate your Turbo Native apps to the next level.
  • Solid Cache uses a SQL database as its cache store. We get a much larger cache at a fraction of the storage costs of memory caches like Redis or Memcached. While memory access is many times faster than disk, it only accounts for a fraction of cache operation time — there’s also network time, serialization and compression.
  • Kamal 1.0 is a simple yet battle-tested deployment tool extracted from our cloud exit, which features zero-downtime deploys, rolling restarts, asset bridging, and just about everything else most people will need to deploy and update their web applications. See it live in action in this video walkthrough.

Until next time,
Elaine, COO of 37signals

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