Most developers have heard of the phrase “Eat your own dog food”. It refers to the habit of actually using what you’re creating.
A typical example would be a company building Yet-Another-Issue-Tracking-Tool™ while using said issue tracker to manage their Yet-Another-Issue-Tracking-Tool™ project. And you’ll surely have heard of a game engine that was initially only developed as a necessity to build a game, then polished and released to the public to great success, while the developer continued to create games with his own engine.
Dogfooding is considered a good practice, actually a best practice. You know that the tool you’re building works, and that it satisfies your needs.
But “your needs” is also the achilles heel of dogfooding, and it’s just a small step away from forever “perfecting” your product (known as “gold plating”). So sooner or later, you’ll have to do some catfooding, too. Meaning: to feed the user’s needs. Continue reading »
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