I heard about the Getting Real workshop from a good friend who is a web designer/developer. We used to talk some time ago about using the UI as a tool to drive the development and he told me I should go to the workshop if I could.
I have to be honest, I didn’t know that much about 37signals and (you’re welcome to laugh) I didn’t know that one of the speakers was actually the creator of RubyOnRails.
A bit skeptical, I read a blog from somebody that participated in one of the workshops last year and my interest kept growing and growing. I told one of the company’s partners to give it a try and to my surprise he registered everybody for it. “The workshop better be good!” I said to myself.
So there we were, sitting down and waiting to see what these 37signals guys had to say. Right at the beginning of the presentation I learned that a businessman (Jason), a programmer (David) and a UI designer (Ryan) would be the speakers.
It sounded like a success formula to me.
It would not be about some nerds talking about adding the digit 2 in the 0-1 binary language; it would be about real-world professionals talking about real web/product development approached from diverse angles beyond the plain and traditional “bit-and-bytes” speech I am used to hearing in these kind of activities.
What a way to start!
The speakers did a good job on keeping people interested while sharing without any hesitation the fruits of several years of pragmatic experience.
Their advice was rich and wide: from how to integrate organically the layout and usability design with the programming endeavor using the application itself as a real “wireframe”; to business-oriented tips like how to hire the right people effectively.
As an architect (on the traditional sense-building design!) it was refreshing to see Christopher Alexander “in-action” on some of their slides while talking about design patterns; and to hear about 37signals’ approach to Mies Van Der Rohe’s aphorism “less is more” applied to all aspects of the product development.
The workshop was great, definitely worth the time and investment and I have no hesitation recommending it to everyone that wants a more “holistic” and practical exposition to what software development should really be (if you want to Get Real!).
A sincere “thank you” to the 37signals guys and to everyone there that helped to enrich the workshop with questions and comments.