Dogfooding - Done right by RIM's Developer Relations Team

Dogfooding - Done right by RIM's Developer Relations Team
By Bla1ze on 8 Oct 2012 06:35 pm EDT

Although I'm sure RIM has intentionally avoided the term 'dogfooding' in their recent developer blog posts, that's exactly what they're doing with their own developer tools. Dogfooding, if you're not aware of the term, is the process of testing out your own tools, products and / or offerings that you expect others to use. Not only does it show confidence in what you're offering, it also serves as a level of quality control.

In RIM's case, this means walking through their own samples and tutorials, navigate their own documentation, and building a few apps all using the exact same tools and resources that they expect developers to use in order to make great apps for the BlackBerry Platform.

Historically, RIM's developer documentation and resources have been all over the place. Often times, making it near impossible for developers to find direct, concise information but with the new tools available we're seeing an entirely different RIM here. Now, RIM has dedicated pages for every developer platform they support, they have dedicated YouTube channels for learning and have opened up the developer issue tracker so that devs may file bugs.

Back on the topic of 'dogfooding', which, is normally held behind closed doors and embedded in software as "Send Feedback" buttons and for some, is viewed quite negatively. RIM is changing the game there as well. The developer relations team at RIM has recently been putting all their tools to the test and documenting everything for everyone. Right there, in the open and in the public eye for all to see. If you're interested in reading about their experiences with the tools, you can check out some of the links below.

If you're a developer thinking about building apps for BlackBerry 10, this would be a great way to look into things before diving in head first. The series of posts being posted to the BlackBerry developers blog covers a lot of bases and answers a lot of questions for would be BlackBerry developers.

Reader comments

Dogfooding - Done right by RIM's Developer Relations Team


Bla1ze, kudos for spreading the word and encouraging devs to give BB10 a try. Not only informative, but helpful for Rim as a company too. Good article.

+1000000 to that!

RIM is doing the right thing! I am living proof!

I got into developing Blackberry Apps this year, first time ever! Totally new to this (I work in the healthcare field). RIM is definitely doing something right if ANYONE with some interest and time to learn can use RIM's awesome set of FREE tools to develop an app:

1. My first app was "Smoking Calculator"
- made using Webworks for Playbook
- used website editor to make my app
- simple fun app to figure out how much you spend
- I actually use this in my work, that's why I made it

2. Second app was "Talking Alarm Text Clock" Pro/Demo
- also made using Webworks for Playbook
- used website editor to make my app
- a bit more sophisticated but still relatively easy
- made it to give me spoken reminders for scheduling

3. Third app "Raspberry Pi" made by App Generator!
- used by Mippin
- this one is really all done by Mippin software
- just supply graphic, RSS/Blog-type feeds, done!
- made this because I am a fan of RasPi and have one

4. Fourth app.... in process....(to finish by end of 2012)
- Took advantage of Marmalade SDK playbook offer
- Using free MS Visual C++ Express and Marmalade SDK
- a bit more complicated but lots of examples
- going to make a game, never tried it before

Along the way, I learned a lot of cool things, got some free playbooks for my effort, made a bit of money from my 99 cent pro app, just enough to buy a few coffees... :-) Best of all, I'm supporting RIM!

RIM is making it easy to develop apps. They are practically giving away hardware and software to let anybody who wants an opportunity to get started developing apps. Some people have cool ideas and with some hard work can make something fun and useful. Next time I have a need for something in my work, or hear from a colleague, I can say "Hey I can make an app for that"! It can be as simple as an offline Web-based reference guide made with Webworks, or a calculator, or something more sophisticated.

I know professional software developers are still the *key* to making awesome apps, but it can never hurt to have "non-traditional" people (high-school and college students, web designers, hobbyists like me, etc.) making apps as well. We see problems every day that an app may help to solve. If we know how to make an app, who knows what fresh ideas may spring up that could be useful?

Go RIM Go!

And they're using their own product, in this case developer tools. Explain it however you wish, the end result is the same in this scenario.

exactly they are using their own SDKs to build their own native apps, like they are using WebWorks to build their browser, which has the highest HTML5 test score out of all the browsers, even desktop/laptop browsers and if i'm not mistaken parts od BB10 are build using the Cascades SDK also, so talking abotu using y our own products is one thing but actually using them to build your own stuff is completely different and like Bla1ze stated it shows RIM confidence in their own SDKs if they can build great apps with their own tools

Thank you for posting before I did. People need to actually look up words before they use them, as this has very little to do with how the concept evolved at Microsoft or Apple. It also has nothing to do with being confident about anything. It is just SOP to use an internal, closed, in-house, environment to find the bugs and test usability before going to market.

"Eating your own dog food, also called dogfooding, is a slang term used to reference a scenario in which a company (usually, a software company) uses its own product to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of the product."

key point usually a software company and using its own products to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of a product.

also from the exact link

"Dogfooding can be a way for a company to demonstrate confidence in its own products. The idea is that if the company expects customers to buy its products, it should also be willing to use those products. Hence dogfooding can act as a kind of testimonial advertising"

thus proving Bla1ze point and you being wrong :)

Not really dogfooding. In this context it means using your own build tools for building/bb10 dev - which is something I suspect they've been doing much longer than this.

Seems to me that if you read more of the wiki page on dogfooding you would see the example link. Reading that would make it seem development of a product and using it as you build it and then use the end product are all dogfooding. But I don't know what I am talking about.

Apparently no one at RIM "ate" the Podcast app on the PlayBook or BB, because it is dogsh!t. Worst excuse for a podcast app I have seen. And no good option on the PB. There is no apparent change with the app on the latest PB 2.1 release.
Rely on my BB and PB, but no one at RIM seems to really look at their apps or do anything about the feedback.

Have you seen the piece of shit that Apple released on iOS? Normally their apps are quite good, but this is slow, unintuitive, crash prone and has flaky downloads.

You just can't handle any criticism of BB so you bring up iOS. You know who you sound like? mrhockeycoach is that you?

apparently you can't handle any criticism of Apple so you come and throw out comments liek this, sure the podcast app isn't good on the playbook but it doesn't seem like iOSs is any better a poitn made that there isn't much to compare to on the leaders own apps.

i'm sure both will update their podcast apps when the demand is greater for it but as of right now most users don't use podcasts they simply play games and browse on their tablets or phones

The article above explains what it means, as well as the possible origin of the term (1970's commercial for Alpo dog food where he feeds it to his own dogs, or Kal Kan Pet food eating their own dog food to show confidence in their own products). It was also apparently used in an internal Microsoft email.

Bottom line : RIM is doing a great job of creating, testing, and improving there own tools. Even my dogs understand that.

Dog food is right...can't stand the Momentx IDE, it looks like crap, but if you can get past it, you got something useful to digest.

That said, just like dog food, you can't complain about a cheap / free product.

Well, I hope that RIM employees haven't shown confidence in their products by tracking appointments on their playbooks local calendar (the one they finally gave us in OS2 ). All appointments on local calendars were wiped out by OS2.1. So much for quality control. I hear others lost locally stored contacts, too. That's pretty bad. Not even so much as an acknowledgement or apology. I'm wondering if RIM is capable of making the transition to BB10 without major problems.