Eating Your Own Dog Food

Eating your own dog food, or dogfooding, is a term coined adopted by Microsoft indicating that a software company should use its own products internally.

It’s true, and Microsoft does it. Internally, the company runs on its own products, and each team even uses pre-release versions of their products, such as Office, Exchange, Windows, whatever. Dogfooding is a way to ensure that what you build works reasonably well. It doesn’t replace proper testing, but it is still very important.

The problem is, dogfooding is not always possible. In fact, it’s seldom possible. How can you expect Autodesk to use AutoCAD or 3ds max internally? If you build a platform/framework/operating system, then it’s reasonable to assume that you can use it, but if you build an application, perhaps a very vertical one, it’s close to impossible that someone in your company will actually use it for other than testing.

It might sound silly, but that is why I’m reluctant to add features to Folder Downloader for Dropbox. Many users have asked for very useful additions, but I’m not going to use them, so I won’t be able to test them properly, thus I won’t implement them. FDfD works well and has a solid 4.7/5 average rating, more than 100 +1s and very few complaints and error reports. It would be a pity to bloat it with half-baked pieces.

Oh, and I’m going to forge a new motto: “Eat it or drop it.”



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