Understanding the mechanisms driving tissue and organ formation requires knowledge across scales. How do signaling pathways specify distinct tissue types? How does the patterning system control morphogenesis? How do these processes evolve? The Drosophila egg chamber, where EGF and BMP signaling intersect to specify unique cell types that construct epithelial tubes for specialized eggshell structures, has provided a tractable system to ask these questions. Work there has elucidated connections between scales of development, including across evolutionary scales, and fostered the development of quantitative modeling tools. These tools and general principles can be applied to the understanding of other developmental processes across organisms.