Silverback | February 14, 2008

Ever since starting Clearleft people have been asking why we don’t build our own app? After all it’s the kind of thing people like 37 Signals or Firewheel have been doing for a while now.

In truth it’s always something we’ve wanted to do, we just never had the time. We’ve been so fixated on creating great products for our customers, we couldn’t fit it in. The other problem was coming up with a great idea. Sure we’ve thrown concepts around before, some of which were pretty good. However none of them ever quite stuck.

That is until a few months ago when we came up with an idea so obvious, we couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before. As well as being stupidly simple, it was something we ourselves would use. In fact we liked it so much we wanted it to magically appear so we could start using it straight away.

So what is this mystery app? Well I’m afraid it’s a little too early to say at the moment. However if you know the kind of work we do, you can probably figure it out from the holding page. It’s kind of niche, but we hope it will be of benefit to a lot of you designers and developers out there.

The app itself is at a very early alpha stage. It’s almost feature complete but needs a lot of performance tuning. We’re hoping to have a demo ready by SXSW and will start a limited private beta when we get back. However I doubt the app will reach a releasable state for at least a couple of months.

In the meantime, If you’d like to be involved in the beta, why don’t you pop along to the holding page and sign up for notification.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. The app is called Silverback and it features a gorilla holding a clipboard. How cool is that?

Silverback holding page showing a cartoon gorilla wearing a lab coat and holding a clipboard

Posted at February 14, 2008 10:49 PM


John said on February 14, 2008 11:06 PM

Curse you guys and your viral marketing tactics! Tell us what it is!


Xander said on February 14, 2008 11:20 PM

Gabbo! Gabbo! Gabbo! :-D

I mean… Silverback!…

pauldwaite said on February 15, 2008 12:39 AM

I’m glad someone else made the Gabbo reference.

I’m guessing… a performance testing tool. That gorilla looks like he’s about to profile stuff.

Adam Schilling said on February 15, 2008 1:39 AM

I’m just hoping that Steve (the gorilla) goes ‘ape’ when he finds a web site that doesn’t pass his tests. You’ve sampled a gorilla roaring, right? ;-)

“Easy now. There’s a nice gorilla.”

Ian Lloyd said on February 15, 2008 9:19 AM

I think that whatever this app does, it should feature a mini version of the gorilla on the page - perhaps the top right corner of the page. Then, while using said app, I can quite rightly claim to be ‘ignoring the 800lb gorilla in the corner’. It simians like a good idea to me at least. You’d be bananas not implement that, I reckon.

matthew said on February 15, 2008 10:08 AM

I for one am very intrigued.

Im sure Itll be better than Congo.

Chris said on February 15, 2008 12:17 PM

That holding page has the best use of parallax scrolling I have seen since Choplifter on the SEGA Master System. Seriously awesome, and genius in this context.

Chris said on February 15, 2008 12:43 PM

That holding page has the best use of parallax scrolling I have seen since Choplifter on the SEGA Master System. Seriously awesome, and genius in this context.

Jason Beaird said on February 15, 2008 2:27 PM

As with Chris, I was also amazed with the 3 levels of jungle vines. Inspirational for sure. After seeing it, I fired up Parallels to check it out in IE6. The flattened background was a great solution for the little browser that couldn’t. Not that you should really care, but the form plops down below the Gorilla in IE6. Perhaps that’s a metaphor? Regardless, I can’t wait to here more about Silverback.

Paul Annett said on February 15, 2008 2:47 PM

Thanks for the heads-up, Jason. I checked it in IE6 yesterday, but I added something to the page earlier today. It was such a small change that I didn’t think to check it in IE6. Shows what a sensitive little browser it is!

Gustaf Lindqvist said on February 15, 2008 7:00 PM

I hope you guys will make a effort to save the silverback gorillas, when you have choosen to use their trademark. Just a thought. That can generate goodwill for you and make process in the task for saving them. Nice graphic desing on the sign up page, looking forward to test the app. Regards, Gustaf.

John Handelaar said on February 16, 2008 12:10 AM

There are only two sentences in the Silverback RSS feed, and one of them has a grammatical error in it.

(Companies are singular.)

Oh, and your comment form mis-states what’s required and what isn’t.

Paul Annett said on February 16, 2008 7:49 AM

You just can’t please some people!

Paul Annett said on February 16, 2008 7:55 AM

Are you looking at the right feed, John? The word ‘companies’ isn’t even mentioned.

Helen said on February 16, 2008 2:24 PM

Sounds very intriguing! The gorilla is awesome, and I’m looking forward to the app itself :)

Doug said on February 18, 2008 11:47 AM

Calm down guys, it’s just a picture of a big monkey

NTD said on February 19, 2008 3:06 PM

Wow, love the Gorilla graphic! Very much looking forward to seeing what this is!