Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dog fooding our web site

The term "Dog fooding" or "Eating your own dog food" means to consume your own product and therefore experience it as the user does. Whether it comes from a disgusting true story involving dog food manufacturers or if some one just coined the phrase and it stuck I don't know. However this concept is particularly useful in the world of software development. So at Spiral its time to eat our own dog food and use WebShell, our content management system, for our own web site.

Why it took so long

Because we are geeks we like to get into code and tinker with things and a nuts and bolts level. We all had windows machines with fancy software to edit web sites, every one could read and write at least some HTML and Asp.Net code and felt that being able to code rather than use WebShell gave us more freedom what we wanted with each page.

Why it is now a necessity

Editing on different platforms. With some of our team now running Apple computers and our site built with Asp.Net (a Microsoft technology) we had the problem that all the software to edit Asp.Net sites is built for the windows platform. To add to this people now work from different locations on different devices. We want to be able to make content changes from a home computer or tablet or smart phone, not just the office computer that has our software on it. Webshell fixes all of these problems as it runs in a web browser and can therefore be used on almost any computer, tablet or other device with an internet connection.

With our team members becoming more specialized at their particular roles, the desire to tinker and have total control over code is being replaced with the the need to make changes easily and efficiently. WebShell help us with this by providing a simple and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface to the web site. No more need to set up ftp connections or run complicated software just to change content, the coding can be left to the programmer.

Experiencing our software as the users do will enable us to provide better support and keep improving WebShell.

Watch the Blog

As we get to grips with the WebShell version of our web site the team will post about their experience as Webshell users and maybe some tips for others. In the long run we can hopefully be more responsive to our customers needs and will be turning out a much improved product.