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May 14

Damned if you do; When do you eat your own dogfood?

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Eating your own dogfood

When should you eat your own dogfood? I saw two contrary thoughts recently that showed how sometimes you are damned either way.

Microsoft Silverlight Dogfood

I hit Channel9, or some baseball thing, or any random video site that uses Silverlight and I get the in-your-face “upgrade for a better experience” message. This has me thinking “geez, why wouldn’t they just use Flash here for the cheesy little video.” It feels forced and gratuitous.

But, then….

Curl using Flash

If you go to you will see Flash content everywhere. It is easy to laugh and say “wow even Curl doesn’t use it!” and “How can they not eat their own dogfood”. Or, you could look at it another way: “They realise that they are enterprise players, and they don’t want to force a download on people who are just browsing their website.”

All of this brings us back to the question of when to eat your own dogfood, and it appears that the answer is nuanced. You don’t want to be bloody minded about it either way, and it depends on what you are doing. Are you forcing dogfood on your own teams that have a vested interest in making the thing better? Are you trying to shove it down other peoples throats? Could you even do both. For example, if you have Curl installed use that (showing something cool in addition), else, show Flash but have a small link to the Curl version if people are interested.

2 Responses to “Damned if you do; When do you eat your own dogfood?”

  1. Richard Monson-Haefel Says:

    Hi Dion,

    Your explanation of why we (Curl Inc.) have Flash on our site is exactly right. Flash is a great tool for mass consumer (B2C) web sites and we see nothing contradictory in using it ourselves. Curl is not nearly as ubiquitous so it seemed a bit bull-headed to insist on that everyone interested in learning about Curl download Curl.

    On the other hand your also right that we should provide more content in Curl. We are so focused on the enterprise where the company simply dictates the type of plug-in supported, that we tend to error on the side of caution when it comes to the Web – you have no idea if people already have your plug-in on the Web. I’ll see about adding more content in Curl.

    All the best,

    Richard Monson-Haefel
    VP of Developer Relations, Curl Inc.

  2. Felix Dixon Says:

    You make me do the “ew” thing.

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