About a year ago, we released Slife 2.0, a complete redesign of the original Slife client. Today, less than a year later, we are really thrilled to announce the release of Slife 3.0. We’ve been working on this new release for a few months and couldn’t wait to tell you more about it.
As we hinted in the previous post, Slife 3.0 is much more than an evolution of Slife 2.0. It’s a complete change in direction when it comes to Slife’s user interface and software model: Slife 3.0 is now a web application based on a thin desktop client and the Slife 3.0 client is now open source. The web-enabled Slife is now Slife Web, and it lives at slifeweb.com.
Let’s talk a bit more about these two big changes.
Slife as a web application
Slife is now a web application, supported by a very thin Slife client. The client makes all computer activity observations like before but instead of displaying them in visualizations, it streams them up to a web account online. All visualizations and interactions take place on the web.
Here are some of the reasons why we decided to make the switch from a desktop to a web application:
1. A web app allows us to build new types of services and interface with other web apps in a way that’s not possible with a desktop application. Imagine logging time and activities with Slife and sending it over to Freshbooks for invoicing and Basecamp for project management. We have some really exciting new features planned for Slife Web.
2. The move to the web greatly simplifies the client application and improves it along several dimensions. The new client is very lean and takes up little system resources (memory, CPU, etc). This has been one of the most popular feature requests for Slife and we are happy to finally make it happen.
3. Whenever we roll out new features or need to make changes to Slife Web, we can do so immediately and transparently, at the server level. We will be able to bring innovation to Slife faster and offer a more stable platform as a result.
4. As a company, our goal is to support and improve Slife for a very long time, but we need it to be a self-sustaining product from a financial point of view. For many years Slife was totally free, but we can’t distribute it gratis any longer. Offering Slife as a web application allows us to charge for the service following the now common software-as-a-service model while offering great value, excellent technical support and a rock-solid product.
The open source Slife client
When we made the decision to bring Slife to the web, it became really clear that open sourcing the client was the right thing to do. Why not give users the flexibility to modify the client to suit their needs? An open source client gives peace of mind to anyone interested in investing in the platform and might even lead to new Slife uses and applications. It’s a win-win situation.
Another motivation was our desire to offer an open source software platform for activity analytics that supports research in a number of areas, from productivity to context awareness. Slife itself grew out of a research project back in 2003, and we are still very much interested in contributing to the academic community.
Over the next few weeks we will be posting more about Slife Web, Slife Teams, the open source client and all of its new features. If you would like to try Slife 3.0, head over to the Slife Labs home page, take the video tour and sign up. For $5 a month, you get everything that Slife has to offer. It’s super simple to get started and we offer a free 30-day trial period.