Jan 9, 2013
Update: There are significant developments related to Basecamp apps and the apps mentioned, please view notes at the end of the article. Also, please note that this article has been updated due to those changes.
There are two front-runners when it comes to 3rd party iPhone apps for Basecamp: Rappel and Lodge. Hands down, these two apps are the most polished, and actively developed of the apps I’ve tested, beyond the new official app.
The first version of Basecamp’s official application is nearly perfect. It comes with almost all of the features that you can get from the web-version of the application and it performs as you would expect a product from 37 Signals — beautifully.
Basecamp is late to the game with this official app. Prior to their release, there were two front-runners: Lodge and Rappel, and let me first say that both of these apps really do pretty much the same thing as the official app. They both take full-advantage of 37signal’s API and both apps are updated as new features are made available in the API.
Lodge from Rounded
After 37signals launched the new version of Basecamp in 2012, the Lodge was the first polished looking iPhone app that I tried with Basecamp. It was clean, well designed and over-all has been a good experience. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the skeuomorphic style of the design, but many will find it appealing. Ultimately, the app is well designed and the account sign-in / authorization process is fantastic.
Rappel from Gospelware
Rappel’s design is very polished, tight and has less white-space than Lodge. In addition, it’s easier to navigate to key Basecamp features like Activity and Progress in the app which makes my life much easier. I feel a bit biased towards Rappel because of the quality of its design — and at this time, it’s my go-to iPhone app for Basecamp.
So What’s Missing? iPad Support!
There are one or two apps that cater to Basecamp users looking for iPad compatible apps but they are no-where near the quality of Lodge and Rappel. With the launch of the iPad Mini, I find that I end up using the iPad Mini and Basecamp’s mobile site more than I do the iPhone apps. To me — and a growing number of users — the iPad is becoming more important to GTD and communication than the iPhone.
At this point, both Lodge and Rappel teams has mentioned that they plan to provide either a universal version of their app (works on iPad and iPhone) or an iPad specific version of their applications — but haven’t given any details regarding timeline. 37Signals typically does not publish a road-map for their products, so we have no idea if they will make their app compatible with the iPad in the future.
Basecamp Feature Wish List
- iPad Support — I’ve already covered this above.
- Notifications — It would be fantastic if notifications could be bult into Basecamp, and in the applications so that people could cut-down on the amount of emails sent their way.
- Better Search — While search isn’t broken or horrible in Basecamp it is greatly lacking. I cannot search within 1 project, I have to search across all projects which often returns similar results, making it harder for me to find what I’m searching for.
Article / Topic Updates:
- As of February 8, 2013, 37 Signals has officially launched a iOS version of their application for the iPhone.
If you have an app that you think contends with these two or would like to talk about productivity, just hit me up on Twitter.