37signals has introduced Basecamp, a new hosted Web-based project management tool aimed at designers, consultants and freelancers. It’s based on Weblog (blog) technology, and it consolidates disparate communications like e-mails, chats, presentations, links, comps and feedback, leveraging integration with Apple’s iCal software and the ability to publish Rich (or RDF) Site Summary (RSS) newsfeeds.
Customers log in and set up a project site, where they can then post updates, make contact info available, link to files on their own servers and design reviews, post milestones, to do lists and other kinds of content. Clients in turn can comment on posts or create their own posts. iCal users can also subscribe to calendars and to-do lists.
Basecamp-produced content can be customized to include company name, colors, logos, and URLs. Content produced in Basecamp can in turn be exported in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format at any time. And since it’s a Web-based service, there aren’t any platform-specific system requirements — all you need is a modern Web browser like Camino, Mozilla, Safari or others.
Free if you want to manage one project at a time — or if you want to kick the tires before subscribing — Basecamp costs US$19 per month for a “Basic” plan that lets you manage up to 10 projects at a time. A $39 “Plus” plan ups that number to 25 active projects, and $59 per month gets you a “Premium” unlimited plan. All paying plans include a 30-day free trial.