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Summary:

At first peek, web app Teambox looks like another collaboration tool: it’s a Basecamp rival that facilitates collaboration and notifies team members of additions and changes to your projects. Both come with a simple, user-friendly interface. But Teambox has one bonus; it lets teams create unlimited […]

Teambox LogoAt first peek, web app Teambox looks like another collaboration tool: it’s a Basecamp rival that facilitates collaboration and notifies team members of additions and changes to your projects. Both come with a simple, user-friendly interface. But Teambox has one bonus; it lets teams create unlimited projects for free. Teambox charges for branding, installing it on your own server and subscribing to maintenance plans.

The dashboard has details of all your current projects. Every project consists of messages (discussion forum), lists (tasks), pages (wiki), people (contacts on the project) and chat. In less than 10 minutes, I created two projects and added content for each.

Teambox Dashboard

Teambox feels easier and more intuitive than Basecamp. Not once did I need to peek at the help file or the Textile (text formatting) reference; the tips on the page were enough. Even after using Basecamp for a while, I still needed to look up its Textile reference.

Basecamp’s interface is nicer than Teambox’s, though; it’s sleeker and more eye-pleasing, with a dash of color. By contrast, Teambox’s interface contains little color and it doesn’t look the same in all browsers. For example, it uses a serif font in Google Chrome, making it a harder read than the sans-serif font displayed in Firefox. The project dashboard formatting could stand some improvement, too.

Teambox Project

Web workers, especially those working solo, might prefer Teambox just because it’s free. You can freely create a project for every client and add those clients to the projects. However, if you need to build a complete extranet, complete with branding (which you have to pay for with Teambox), Basecamp is still the collaboration tool of choice. Furthermore, Basecamp has been around longer and has third party apps that work it. I’m sure Teambox will add new features as it develops a following and continues to grow.

You need to determine your own needs and chose the applications that best meets those needs. For a freelancer like me, Teambox fits my bill if I need to collaborate and manage projects with clients.

What team collaboration app do you use?

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  1. Hi Meryl, thank you for this advice. I’ve been contemplating using Salesforce for a long time, however stayed undecided. Teambox seems reasonable to me, just wanna know, where do you see the difference between Teambox and Backpack? Thank you.

    1. Great question, Petra. I played with Backpack only once — ages ago. So I couldn’t give you a thorough response. It looks like Teambox has some of the same features as Backpack with its PAGES. Salesforce is heavy duty — at least, last time I checked and I haven’t seen the “Free” version.

  2. We use Wrike for collaboration and project management. I guess Wrike is more a pm tool.

  3. I think it would be a colossal idea if someone integrated Freshbooks with Teambox. Both have great APIs and I know Teambox is excited about the idea. Im not a programmer or I’d make it happen. But someone please jump on the idea!

    1. Web apps banding together and integrating is just the kind of holistic approach I discuss over on GigaOM Pro: http://pro.gigaom.com/2009/08/enterprise-2-0-web-apps-and-the-patchwork-quilt-problem/

  4. links for 2009-08-28 | Mitchell Hislop Friday, August 28, 2009

    [...] Teambox: Collaborate Freely with Your Team [...]

  5. Hi Meryl,

    This project collaboration is getting too much cluttered. With the arrival of so many tools after basecamp, I notice more players and less customers. :)
    We have been using one such tool called Remindo and are pretty satisfied with it. As always I tried teambox and didn’t find a compelling reason to switch to it. The only differentiation is that I can host it on my server but I don’t need that feature.

  6. You may want to look at HyperOffice as well. It brings an integrated approach to collaboration, in that includes tools for mail, project collaboration and online meetings in a single suite.

  7. At the moment, I am using Apollo (http://www.apollohq.com). They are still giving out invites, and apparently are going to get out of beta by December.

    Apollo has a very different interface, it’s web based but it’s like using a native application… not everybody’s thing, but it really works for me! J

  8. Just played with teambox, a bit of curious why such simple collaboration tool with very simple functionality can get a lot of attraction, just because it’s too simple? There are pletty more which is more powerful and user friendly, such as huddle.net, ajaxworkspace.com. I think even deskaway.com is far more better than it

  9. One of the reasons I think that Teambox is getting play right now is that they actually have a downloadable set of code and an appliance model. I work in a space that they would never move to a SaaS environment. The networks aren’t even connected to the Internet but they’re clamoring for tools like this that don’t cost millions to implement. I believe there is actually a great business opportunity to partner with some of the west coast startups and package their products and services into appliances or provide support on closed networks.

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