From IndieWeb
(Redirected from Selfdogfood)

selfdogfood is metaphor and a historical IndieWeb encouragement to use your own creations and depend on them personally yourself, beyond just self-testing or dogfooding a work project; on the IndieWeb, it means using your creations on your personal site as an aspect of your primary online identity, day to day.

For an updated metaphor, see:

For the broader IndieWeb principle, see:

Why not

For why not to use "selfdogfood" as a metaphor for the use what you make principle, see criticism of the term "selfdogfood", especially with respect to "dog" or "dogfood":


Use and development

Are there two dimensions to selfdogfooding: use and development?

A: There are many required aspects of selfdogfooding, use and development are only two of them, testing in production is considered another.

Replacement Discussion

Chat discussion several times brought up the suggestion that a more broadlyappealing term should be used by the community.

After much discussion and awaiting more input, the following replacements had the most community support:

Options discussed:

eat your cooking

As discussed:, related suggestions:

  • eating what you make
  • Cooking your Own Dinner
  • eating our own cooking - From:

    Developers of IBM's mainframe operating systems have long used the term "eating our own cooking".

  • eat what you cook
    • +1 Kevin Marks: monosyllables are more emphatic. we'll need to update the dogfood + self explanation above
    • +1 Jeremy Cherfas I like this version too.
    • +1 Tantek Çelik I like this as an emphatic call to action. Would still want a noun for the actual practice, e.g. eating what you cook, and a verb that can be inged (but can't think of one).
    • +1 Aaron Parecki I like this version best
    • +0 gRegor Morrill I'm not totally sold on the food/cooking options, but out of them I like this one best
    • Michael Bishop the reality is when you cook for a living, you rarely eat what you cook. I'd go as far as to say historically even in the home the main food maker rarely eats everything they cook. Also feels very close to the "eat what you kill" idiom
    • +1 Jacky Alciné Personally, this aligns with me more. Also in the realm of consumption of content, it makes sense; we should be the ones creating and at least sampling what we put out there.
    • +1 Marty McGuire Agree w/ the folks who voted for this one before. Quite like it!
  • eat your cooking
    • +1 Tantek Çelik nice parallel structure with "own your data". And the noun for the actual practice could be eating your cooking ("your own" seems redundant). How do you "verb" this without a pronoun?
      • We can replace wiki usage of "selfdogfooding" as an adjective (e.g. on project pages listing the author as an IndieWeb Example) with "eating her own cooking" / "eating his own cooking"
    • +1 Eddie Hinkle: this is nice because it doesn’t use specific food or drink. A challenge is the length, there is no way to really shorten it. But it is simple which means it should be easy to remember.
    • +0 Aaron Parecki sounds a little funny to me but I like the sentiment
    • -0.5 gRegor Morrill sounds funny to me too
    • +0 Marty McGuire has a "eat your vegetables" ring for me.

use what you create

gRegor Morrill: The more I think about it, I'm wondering if we actually need a metaphor. It feels like an unnecessary abstraction. The current definition isn't too long - "use your own creations and depend on them yourself" - and I think "use what you create" works as a reasonable shorthand.

  • Advantage: no metaphor needed, directly conveys the principle


  • +1 Tantek Çelik - this is worth considering in the running. It may not be as emotionally compelling as "eat your cooking" or "eat what you cook" yet it may be more effective in reaching some broader audiences.
  • +1 gRegor Morrill in addition to my initial thoughts, this is easier to translate to other languages. Currently I like the create/build/make variants of this equally.
  • ...

use what you make

On her home page, Cathie uses the variant "Use what you make" as a deliberate summary replacement for "selfdogfood", which has explicity been the summary of this in our principles since the revision as of 2017-09-24.


use what you build

Similarly, Cathie LeBlanc has proposed in her 2019 article An Alternative to the Corporate Web:

Build what you need, use what you build

In the context of different which has a point on "Selfdogfood" which also references "Scratch your own itch".



  • Alternative: #UseYourApps as a counterpart to #OwnYourData, trying to capture same snappiness and length

walk your talk

Ben Werdmüller: this is often used in non-product circles. It's defined as "you should do what you tell other people to do". In a software development context, this can easily be extended to mean "you should use what you create".

  • +0 Tantek Çelik While I appreciate this sentiment I think something like this "create what you suggest" is a distinct principle IMO that can be used before "use what you create".

Rejected Alternatives

Alternatives to "selfdogfood" that have been discussed and sufficiently rejected to not bother considering as an actual replacement.

If you would like to one of these reconsidered, please start a discussion about it in the meta discussion channel.

use your own product

    • gRegor Morrill likes the simple phrase "use your own product" or UYOP if an acronym is preferred. It's simple and to the point.
    • -0 Tantek Çelik: It's better than "selfdogfood" but it's also just vague enough to fail to capture the making/creating aspect, e.g. even "user your own creations" would better capture that. Also "product" feels a bit too corporate rather than indie.
    • -0 gRegor Morrill this is really old at this point and was probably more off-the-cuff comment at the time. Agreed on "product" now, and wondering how necessary a metaphor is.
    • -0 Aaron Parecki agreed, too vague
    • -1 Chris Aldrich also reminiscent of the drug culture phase (with negative connotations) of "don't get high on your own supply"

drinking our own champagne


  • Drinking your own champagne, or self-champagneing
    • or just champagneing; doesn't need distinguish it from a preexisting term
    • Eddie Hinkle: this seems potentially appealing because it touches on the food/drink area but can easily be shortened with “champagneing”.
    • -1 Jeremy Cherfas If we're going to be sensitive about how some people respond to dog, should we not also be aware that there are those who respond badly to being encouraged to drink alcohol?
    • Kevin Marks: There's a nice connection with Homebrew Website Club, but drinking our own beer may make this even more confusing with actual brewing clubs.
      • It also sounds like a euphemism for drinking your own urine.
      • Tantek Çelik: drink your brew (could be tea, coffee, kombucha etc.) would be more inclusive, yet may still have the problem mentioned above.
    • -1 Tantek Çelik: I personally like occasional champagne, however this feel exclusionary and/or triggering of anyone who is a recovering alcoholic. Also as Jeremy Cherfas says, it implies an encouragement to drink alcohol which is widely seen (lots of articles) as a negative aspect of many tech/OSS subcultures. "self-champagneing" sounds like it could mean pouring champagne over yourself and making a mess.
    • -1 Aaron Parecki: while I am definitely a fan of champagne, I agree that it's not inclusive
    • -1 Ben Werdmüller: lots of people don't drink for all kinds of personal reasons. I definitely wouldn't want to accidentally exclude devoutly muslim developers, for example. Alcohol-based metaphors (along with alcohol-based events) should probably be avoided.



In the Star Wars mythology about lightsabers, you (a Jedi) have *only* one, that you are expected to have *built* it *yourself*, and that you *depend* on as an extension of your *self*.

Contrasting examples:

  • dogfood: In Ep1, Anakin is merely dogfooding C3P0, which he built to also help his mom. Even though he cares about it, C3P0 is not part of Anakin. No aspect of identity/self.
  • selfdogfood: In RoJ, Luke is selfdogfooding his own lightsaber that he made. It's his only lightsaber, he made it, he depends on it as an extension of himself.
  • Eddie Hinkle: this is fun but too niche.
  • -0 Tantek Çelik agreed. I like this analogy a lot, however it is both a bit dated, and a bit too insidery. Could be good as a blog post anecdote/analogy for explaining the concept though.

Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps

Posts about renaming


testing your code in production


Main article: test in production

Whilst testing your code in production is a good part of selfdogfooding, security precautions should still be taken. Showing errors, warnings and notices usually reserved for dev environments is a huge security risk due to the fact that things like paths, usernames, secret keys, etc. might be inadvertently shown to anyone who cares to look.


For more details and examples, see:

See Also