Designing from the outside in

Designing from the outside in.

I was talking with Jason Fried of web design firm 37Signals
recently. He believes that contrary to the normal expectation that
applications are built on top of frameworks, applications should always
be designed “from the outside in.” That is, at 37signals, they try to
design the usability and function of the application first, and that
drives the implementation. And if they can then extract a re-usable
framework, all the better. For example, basecamp wasn't built on top of Ruby on Rails.
Rather, Ruby on Rails was extracted from basecamp. This approach seems
obvious and commonsense — but hardly common in this era of heavy web
services standards-ware designed by technical committees far in advance
of actual implementation.  [O'Reilly Radar]

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