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37signals released their fantastic Getting Real (Das Kapital for the Rails Generation) also as free web version.

Somehow it makes me sad that they seem to stick to some old school notion of beta:

These days it feels like everything is in beta stage forever. That’s a cop out. An interminable beta stage tells customers you’re not really committed to rolling out a finished product. It says, “Use this, but if it’s not perfect, it’s not our fault.”

Beta passes the buck to your customers. If you’re not confident enough about your release then how can you expect the public to be? Private betas are fine, public betas are bullshit. If it’s not good enough for public consumption don’t give it to the public to consume.

Don’t wait for your product to reach perfection. It’s not gonna happen. Take responsibility for what you’re releasing. Put it out and call it a release. Otherwise, you’re just making excuses.

☍ 27.10.2006