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The Playbook Workshop

How to design, build, and launch a successful application.

We’re a small team that builds web and mobile applications. We aim to create great user experiences powered by well-made software. We have teams in Boston, San Francisco, Sweden, and Boulder.

We’ve been writing about everything we know and believe about building successful apps in our Playbook. It’s filled with things we’ve learned based on experience and study. It’s intended for anyone who wants to build web and mobile applications, bring them to market, and make customers happy.

This workshop is the real-time, expanded version of that book. We’ll start with the video lessons and then work together on practical examples and your own real ideas. We will go through an example of building an actual application and we’ll explore all of the pieces of the web design and development process. What that process looks like and the tools and team used to build it.

You’ll get a clear explanation of the web development process and modern technology stack. You’ll understand how disparate terms like test-driven development, version control, and continuous development fit together in coherent whole. You’ll hear different ways of dividing team roles and ways to contribute to a code-based product when you’re not deeply technical.

When you take this workshop you’ll also get the PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions of The Playbook.

How the workshop works

Weekly lessons — Each week you’ll gain access to pre-recorded video sessions given by thoughtbot CEO, Chad Pytel. Watch the video and work on it as much as you’d like before the next lesson, and get guidance from Chad in our forums, online chat, and online video chat office hours along the way.

Online Office Hours — In this live video chat and Q&A, Chad will lead a group discussion about the topics covered in that week’s video sessions, as well as any other questions you might have. Office hours run from 3:30pm–4:30pm Eastern each Friday.

Ongoing — After the workshop ends, you’re not done. You get access to all existing and future content, and support for any ongoing questions you have from Chad and the rest of the thoughtbot team.


You will get access to the first pre-recorded video lessons as soon as you register. The first office hours are the Friday after you register at 3:30pm Eastern. The next week there is a second batch of sessions. Work on them as much as you’d like before the next office hours, and get help from Chad along the way.

  1. The workshop officially starts as soon as you register
  2. Week 1: Planning, Team, Friday office hours
  3. Week 2: Design, Development, Launch, Friday office hours

Remember, after the workshop ends, you get access to all existing and future content, and support for any ongoing questions you have from Chad and the rest of the thoughtbot team.

Will I learn to code in this class?

No, learning to code takes more work than this. However, you’ll learn the landscape of web development in 2013. You’ll understand the whole stack and the skills of people who work at each layer. You’ll understand the costs of hosting providers and cloud services. You’ll learn why Rails became a popular web framework choice for startups and which new tools are making their way into startups’ toolboxes.