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Dog Food

By Steve Jones,

Chuck Wagon Dog FoodThis editorial was originally published on Sep 28, 2007. It is being re-published as Steve is out on the SQL in the City US 2012 tour.

I saw this article showing Sun bragging about their green data center, and being someone that is interested in alternative energy, paying attention to the environment, and conserving our use of natural resources, I thought this was pretty cool. I remember seeing a similar announcement from Sun years ago when they finally moved off a mainframe (or mini) for their internal financial and administrative systems and onto their own boxes (Solaris or SunOS).

This has been an interesting week here at SQLServerCentral.com. We released a new version of our site last Saturday and have been dealing with complaints, bugs, and even a few complements throughout the week. We are working through issues and trying to tailor our site to the needs and wants of the community. I'm not drifting off track here, so bear with me.

I've had a few people question whether we did much testing on the new site, or if we did, how could there be so many bugs. I feel a little like Microsoft employees must feel after spending a long time working on a product and then having people tell us that we didn't do a good job. We worked on the final product long and hard and there was lots of testing.

However testing doesn't really cover all the issues with the software. Things like search "work", but they just don't work the way many of you want them to work. That's because you have a different usage pattern than we do and than our testers. So with that in mind, I have an interesting poll:

Should software companies "dog food" their own products?

It's easy for Microsoft to do it. Everyone uses Windows, so they can just slip in new versions, people do their daily job and report on issues. Dell can run their own management software in data centers, and Google can require everyone to use Gmail and Google Reader.

But what if you're Adobe?

Most of your people probably don't edit images or build movies and it isn't really practical to pay the network guy to do that. And you might get him trying things, but not really "using" the product.

So I'm kind of wondering what makes sense to you or what flaws you see in "dog fooding" things. I know at Peoplesoft we ran their platform internally, but no one really seemed to care about our complaints in using the product. At End to End Training, where I'm a founder, we built our own platform to support user groups and ended up running it ourselves as the first "customer." As much as we appreciate feedback from other groups, we've learned a lot internally as wll.

If you build commercial software, do you run your own products? Does it make sense to do so? Let us know what you think.

I'm getting into the podcasting business (maybe) and there's a link below to the audio cast of today's editorial. Comments (good and bad) are welcome.

Dog Food (Podcast 3)

Music for today's Podcast from:


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