Join the rat pack with PackRat

by Giles Turnbull

Here's a nice one for anyone with a Backpack account and a Mac. PackRat is an offline data viewer that syncs with your Backpack account using the API.



packrat_screenshot.jpg



It makes a pretty good job of displaying all your Backpack data just the way Backpack does, so your information looks the same when you're offline as it does when you're online.



I have a feeling that we're going to see many more applications like this in coming months, as webapps get more popular and gain more users. Most of the smartest webapps (like Gmail, and everything 37signals is working on) are fantastic tools but being offline kind of puts a spanner in the works.



What these webapps need are simple-functionality desktop equivalents that allow you to at least view your data, better still edit it too, and then automagically sync themselves with the online version the next time you're connected. I'd be astounded if Google wasn't working on something like this for Gmail users.



In the meantime, Backpack users can get ahead of the curve by trying out PackRat. A licence costs $25, not much more than one month's Backpacking. If you're increasingly getting frustrated with offline time, it might just be the solution you've been looking for.


3 Comments

Matthew
2006-03-01 07:23:04
I've played with PackRat and it's cool, but I think the problem I'd have with it is forgetting to sync before going offline. The syncing on this type of app needs to be made more automatic, it seems to me. I'm not sure whether this is a job for Sync Services (does that only work with .Mac?), or a standalone daemon or prefpane (sounds like a memory hog) or, hey, how about something that's invoked when you pull up the Dashboard? I don't need to remember to do that; I'm hitting F12 all the time anyway.
Mandaris
2006-03-01 14:14:30
My only problem is that he's charging $25 dollars when there is a free widget. Found here
Matt
2006-03-02 18:04:50
Doesn't the widget require being online? Automatic syncing does need to be accomplished too. Now if they could figure out a way to sync your Todos (a la Notebook) with iCal along with iCalendars, that would be cool.