We Eat Our Own Dogfood



Microsoft, in the 1990s, became the dominant force in personal computing.  Windows NT, first developed as a server product, was an advanced, modern, secure and stable operating system that eventually found its way into consumer-grade Windows with the Windows XP release....an operating system that many people still use today more than 10 years after its debut.


In fact, much of NT's code is still in use in modern versions of Windows.  


Question:  Just why was Windows NT so great compared to earlier iterations of Windows?  And how did Microsoft develop, in the early 90's, an operating system that was so advanced for its time?


Answer:  Because the developers of Windows NT were forced to run Windows NT on the very machines they were developing Windows NT with.  


This practice, of using your own software to do your work, is known in the software industry as "Eating Your Own Dogfood", or, sometimes, simply dogfooding:


From Wikipedia:  "The development of Windows NT at Microsoft involved over 200 developers in small teams, and it was held together by Dave Cutler's insistence in February 1991 on dogfooding, developing the operating system on computers running on NT using a daily build, initially text only, then with graphics, and finally with networking. It was initially crash prone, but the immediate feedback of code breaking the build, the loss of pride, and the knowledge of impeding the work of others were all powerful incentives" [source




Why do I bring this up?


At FASO, we eat our own dogfood.  The FineArtViews blog is a FASO blog.  It's the very same blogging software that all of our artists get standard, out of the box, with a FASO membership.  Likewise, my personal blog at http://faso.com/clintavo is a also FASO blog.  


At FASO, we don't use Wordpress (although I support the Wordpress ecosystem, as the first investor in ZippyKid), we don't use Blogger, we don't use Typepad, or any of the other myriad of blogging engines available.  We use FASO software everywhere we can.


It's not because we don't like Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, etc that we eschew their use.  It's because we don't want to miss the opportunity to experience pain points and frustration with our blog software... the same pain points and frustration that our customers are likely to experience with our software.  It's because we want to eat our own dogfood.


You see, as I write my blog posts, if I, as the lead developer of FASO, have a frustration, then I'm going to fix it.  And I do it all the time.


So here's something that surprises me:  I see some other artist website services recommending you use their software for your blogging solution, but, for their own company blogs, they use Wordpress or Blogger.  That should tell you something.  How do they find the pain points?  How do they know what to fix? [1]  Why don't they think their own software is good enough for their own use? [2]


By the way, it's not just our blogging solution either.  We "dogfood" everything: our email newsletter system [3], our image uploaders, our watermarking system, our image editor integration, etc, etc, etc.  You get the idea.


At FASO, we believe that sharing art enriches life.


To do that, you need to have the best tools available.  And to ensure that we provide you with those tools, we eat our own dogfood.




Clint Watson

FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic


PS - UPDATE: Sending the newsletter version of this post took me an hour longer than I thought it would as I found some issues in the html parsing of our new (forthcoming) newsletter editor.  I really wanted to just hit send anyway and scratch "send newsletter" off my todo list.  However, it was a perfect opportunity to eat the dogfood and fix the problem.  Which I just spent an hour doing.  That's what dogfooding is all about.






[1]  Like I said, I have nothing specific against Wordpress.  But if you're selling a different solution for art blogging, then you should use the solution you're selling.  Of course, if you are selling Wordpress blogs, then you should be using Wordpress.  That's the essence of dogfooding.


[2] I won't name the competitors who don't eat their own dogfood by name, because we don't believe in badmouthing competitors.  Apparently, some of them don't feel the same way.


[3] Yes, we do dogfood our own email newsletter system.  Every issue of FineArtViews, BrushBuzz, DailyArtShow and InformedCollector is sent with the FASO Email Newsletter Software.  Yes, we know it has pain points.  But I refuse to let my team work around those pain points and use Mailchimp.  We're experiencing the pain points along with you and fixing them as we go.  And, on the tail end, our software will be better for it.  We're building a newsletter system for artists.  It won't do the same things as Mailchimp, but it will do things artists need that Mailchimp doesn't do.  And so, to ensure we eventually get there, we need to keep dogfooding it until it's "perfect."



Editor's Note:  You can view Clint's original post here.

6 Responses to We Eat Our Own Dogfood

maxwell art gordon
via faso.com
.. excuse pleease... but do you have beer?? I like beer with me dogfood... hehe.. I thiink you are very much on the right track of providing to yoru major audience what they need.. ME?? I just do what comes easy.. if if dont cum eeasy leave it alone.. some 60s song it was.. lot's of knowlege from that era ..dont' yaz think?? hehe.. well anyways.. if your not on mobil advertising now days.. yer a no-body..so be sure ta chk it out on hipcricket....... I am an investor is this new wave of ad resourcing.. but this doesn't say much.. do yer own investigating.. maxwell

Kate Klingensmith
via faso.com
How refreshing! I think if more companies dogfooded their own products, the products would either be aborted, or greatly improved. It seems that it builds in accountability into the product, whatever it is, whether it is Windows or FASO. I think it's also what citizens wish Congress would do with anything they design or legislate for everyone. Right now those members don't need to live like the average citizen while in office or afterwards.

via faso.com
I'm glad you eat your own dog food and I think I can tell that you do -- your service keeps improving. I wouldn't continue using FASO if you didn't also provide great tech support for when the pain gets bad. Thanks!

Robert P. Britton Jr.
via faso.com
Hi Clint:

I'm posting here because I couldn't find an email address directly to you.

I just wanted to wish you a Happy Holidays. I have enjoyed your articles and the community of artists sharing their love and passion for all things art.

I hope that 2013 brings you greater success and happiness. God bless, Clint, and Happy New Year!

Cynthia Collins
via faso.com
I think your idea is brilliant. Sometimes I try to open a box of some product and I end up having to tear it to shreds or hack it apart with a knife to get it open, and I've often thought: If the people who designed these crappy packages were forced to open 50 in a row, they'd come up with some better packaging, and pronto.

That's exactly what you're doing without anyone having to force you. Kudos and thanks.