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How Facebook Ships Code

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the wish-i-had-hundreds-of-engineers dept.

Facebook 314

Hugh Pickens writes "The two largest teams at Facebook are Engineering and Ops, with roughly 400-500 team members each, together making up about 50% of the company. All engineers go through 4 to 6 week 'Boot Camp' training where they learn the Facebook system by fixing bugs. After boot camp, all engineers get access to the live DB and any engineer can modify any part of Facebook's code base and check-in at-will so that engineers can modify specs mid-process, re-order work projects, and inject new feature ideas anytime. Then arguments about whether or not a feature idea is worth doing or not generally get resolved by spending a week implementing it and then testing it on a sample of users, e.g., 1% of Nevada users. 'All changes are reviewed by at least one person, and the system is easy for anyone else to look at and review your code even if you don't invite them to,' writes yeegay. 'It would take intentionally malicious behavior to get un-reviewed code in.' What is interesting for a company this size is that there is no official QA group at Facebook but almost every employee is dogfooding the product every day."

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no process (5, Funny)

mortonda (5175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917878)

any engineer can modify any part of Facebook's code base and check-in at-will

That explains a LOT...

Re:no process (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918004)

Yeah really. Funny how the "development process" is always assuming to be "coding" by queerbait chinbeards who write code in pHp and push it to production themselves shortly before returning home, which is typical an apartment shared with roommates or their parents house.

Re:no process (0)

MichaelKristopeit404 (1978298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918076)

ironically, your vague comment explains nothing.

i've never been to this facebook... what has been explained to you?

Re:no process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918652)

>he's been modded down once
>(Score: -1)
>That means he started at 0
>LOLOLOLOLOLOLO

Re:no process (1)

MichaelKristopeit400 (1972448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918766)

ur mum's face's been modded down once.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:no process (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918842)

Why are you so mad, Mikel? Did your father touch you as a child?

Re:no process (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918138)

the culture of the company seems to be set so that *everyone* feels responsibility for the product

It's astonishing that they can keep such a process rolling with 500 engineers, let alone 200

product managers have a lot of independence and freedom. The key to being influential is to have really good relationships with engineering managers. Need to be technical enough not to suggest stupid ideas.

So basically, Facebook is run by an aggressive engineering culture based not on consensus or managerial decision making but by cliques and lobbying, where the worst thing someone can possibly do is suggest an idea that an engineer claims is "stupid" and doesn't give them opportunity for nerd glory. How much you want to bet that Zuckerberg sets the tone and decides that any modifications to the way the privacy settings are run is "stupid" and "boring."

Re:no process (2, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918186)

Like Google, unlike Apple.

I don't mind a professional engineer for a boss, but any which displays the traits celebrated by xkcd would be absolutely unbearable.

Re:no process (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918292)

Facebook is run by an aggressive engineering culture based not on consensus or managerial decision making but by cliques and lobbying

At any other company, that could be counter-productive. But considering that the tool they're building is basically the ideal tool for building your clique and growing your influence, it probably just adds to their "dogfooding."

The Cheetah and the Elephant (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918446)

This is still a learning process as they're one of the biggest guys out there usage-wise. It's hard to tell what's real and what's fake but I reviewed Beautiful Data for Slashdot a while ago and am reminded of a chapter by Jeff Hammerbacher about Facebook's database [scribd.com] in the early days. Maybe the culture is still a little bit like those early days with the database where they spend more time constantly addressing data issues and trying to step up to the next <prefix>abyte? You can go ahead and presume all you want but I'm going to guess the developers are pretty busy dealing with some serious scaling issues. Past performance of the website reinforces this and, let's face it, the "chat" feature was and always will be a nightmare to use.

At a staff of 200, I would also wager that new features take a back seat and would propose that this is why we see Facebook's "upgrades" as being almost purely cosmetic (i.e. layout, markup, etc.).

Re:no process (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918570)

It's astonishing that they can keep such a process rolling with 500 engineers, let alone 200

I'm always curious about this expression, which - just like "I could care less" in place of "I could not care less" - is the opposite of what's meant. Surely, 200 would be astonishing, let alone 500.

Re:no process (2)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918662)

Actually, it sounds like a form of quality circle. [wikipedia.org] Presumably, every piece of code interacts with at least one other piece of code. Each programmer is responsible for checking that the code he/she interfaces with behaves as expected. The same thing happens on assembly lines. If a component arrives and it doesn't look as expected, the assembler is expected to flag that component for review.

It also sounds like all changes are controlled by comparing them against some sort of metric when distributed to the sample audience. This is a classic continuous improvement [wikipedia.org] method. If the new system does not outperform the old one, it doesn't get implemented.

Sincerely,
The Devil's Advocate

Engineers? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918288)

I'm just laughing (sadly) that web developers are considered engineers.

But hey, they call garbage collectors "Sanitation engineers" so why not Javascript and PHP coders...

Re:Engineers? (0)

MichaelKristopeit404 (1978298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918490)

you are exactly what you call yourself: NOTHING

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918638)

I just took a fat shit, come over here and lick my asshole clean.

Re:Engineers? (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918552)

I've never heard anyone call a garbage collector a sanitation engineer, though I have heard them called sanitation workers.

Re:Engineers? (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918746)

Engineer is defined as: A person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or public works.

A web developer is someone who designs, builds, or maintains software.

I suppose you could argue that software is not an engine, machine, or public work. However, the first half of the definition is quite applicable.

Re:no process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918290)

I wonder if there is some internal competition to see who can redesign the profile template the best....

Re:no process (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918774)

any engineer can modify any part of Facebook's code base and check-in at-will

That explains a LOT...

Personal journal: This company trusts me with the code base. I don't know why. Dumb fucks!

Facebook ships code? (2)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917894)

Then where can I get that shipped code?

Although, after reading that story, I don't think I want that code. It sounds like a textbook example of feature and focus creep.

Re:Facebook ships code? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918448)

No, you got it all wrong. The article is about cargo ships transporting facebooks that are doing the coding.

Re:Facebook ships code? (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918586)

It sounds like a textbook example of feature and focus creep.

From using facebook it seems like they lack a real plan anyway. When they're not busy ripping of the hot new thing, feature creep is their roadmap.

Why would Facebook need 500 engineers? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917928)

It's not like anything really changes on it.

Re:Why would Facebook need 500 engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918202)

They are inventing new ways to harvest user's personal data;) Imagine an advertiser says we want our content to be shown
to a certain group of people (eg diabetic, employed with good insurance) then they'd need an engineer to write some code
to search thru comments to see about that.

You don't get Facebook (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918690)

It's not like anything really changes on it.

How would you know? Are you one of their paying customers?

Re:Why would Facebook need 500 engineers? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918702)

I was wondering that myself.

How many engineers does Apple have working on OS X? Or Google on Android?

I don't see 500 engineers worth of results on FaceBook.

Re:Why would Facebook need 500 engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918768)

They sound like an "agile" shop. You need that many engineers to create a herd that's large enough to avoid blame. That way if management decides to start firing people, they won't be able to figure out which one of them to blame. I think that's how "agile" methodologies remain entrenched for such a long period of time. I wonder how long it will take for management to realize that this isn't what real programmers look like, and this isn't what real programming looks like. It sounds like it would be impossible to take any pride in your work, or have any feeling of ownership (both in terms of responsibility AND recognition).

as a nerd (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917950)

i share the worry facebook represents in terms of privacy and the future of the internet with everyone else here

but at the same time, i get a warm feeling in my pants thinking about the programming and workings of an enterprise this big and powerful

and if you laugh at me for getting that warm feeling in my pants, you're clearly on the wrong website

Re:as a nerd (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918022)

and if you laugh at me for getting that warm feeling in my pants, you're clearly on the wrong website

You are on the wrong web site. The nerd doesn't care about "an enterprise [...] big and powerful".

Re:as a nerd (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918112)

you're talking about the emo nerd, a subset of nerddom, not representational of all nerds

some nerds are more of the evil scientist variety. and while sharks with friggin laser beams on their heads are more their kind of psychosexual gratification, facebook is not bad either in terms of pants warming evil plots

Re:as a nerd (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918170)

No the 'warm feeling in your pants' type nerd means the nursing aides are a little slow this morning.

Shuffleboard programming at 10:00 in the Big Room!

Re:as a nerd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918472)

and if you laugh at me for getting that warm feeling in my pants, you're clearly on the wrong website

I'm laughing because despite how much you get that "warm feeling in your pants" your crotch is still flat as a board.

No access controls? (4, Insightful)

choongiri (840652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917954)

After boot camp, all engineers get access to live DB

So anyone who's ever worked at FB as an engineer will have likely downloaded copies of all their friends' / family's / ex-girlfriends' inboxes, chat history, etc.

Not surprising really.

Re:No access controls? (2)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918528)

I could've sworn there was an article on /. some time ago that indicated Facebook employees had to justify accessing "personally interesting" information they didn't have legitimate access to through their FB profile, namely, the sorts of things you mentioned: inboxes of exes, family members, etc. There was a master password and all uses of it were recorded and audited so you had to explain yourself whenever you used it. My memory might be a little fuzzy but it seemed that FB employees didn't have unmonitored access to all data on the site.

Re:No access controls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918610)

select * from database_table - "I was doing load testing."

Programmers != Engineers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917958)

Once and for all, programmers are not Engineers.

Programmers can not be held liable, have no professional license, no government accountable body, no code of ethics, no liability insurance, or other measures in place to directly protect the public.

Think about it.

If facebook was staffed by real engineers, a privacy breach would cost the engineer his/her license, and they could be personally sued, as well.

But then again, anyone in the good old US of A is an engineer. From the sanitation engineer who picks up my trash, to the beverage refreshment engineer who makes my coffee at Starbucks.

Engineer is just another cheap title, like CEO/CFO/CIO/CTO, etc, free to be used by anyone.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918002)

Careful now. Some of the dot-bomb programmers have managed to hang onto their employment and they regard their wage as proof of competence.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918100)

"Careful now. Some of the dot-bomb programmers have managed to hang onto their employment and they regard their wage as proof of competence."

So do the CEO's of the banks you bailed out. See what happens when there is no oversight?

Re:Programmers != Engineers (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918228)

Not all engineers are licensed. Civil engineers are usually licensed. Mechanical engineers and electrical engineers are usually not licensed. Similarly, there is no licensure for system engineers. There are "certifications" but these are essentially meaningless.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918344)

Good point. But here in the great white north, to call yourself an engineers, means you hold a license.

If you provide any sort of services to the public, you must be licensed.

Since facebook provides services to and for the public, if their simple programmers want to be called engineers, they should be licensed.

Mechanical and Electrical engineers are usually licensed if they want to provide services to the public, ie: building inspections, maintenance, etc.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (3, Informative)

Mentally_Overclocked (311288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918592)

I have a degree from a university in electrical engineering. I work as an electrical engineer and I consider myself one. I am not licensed as a professional engineer (PE) and have little interest in obtaining that license at this point as the type of work simply doesn't appeal to me.

As you suggest, those PEs do put their license on the line when they sign a document. From my understanding, companies that have resident PEs will only have a few and have other non-licensed engineers do the less expensive work.

If it is a product it will usually need to meet expectations set by a different regulatory body (ETL, UL, FCC, whatever). If it is a building, power related, whatever, then it requires the review of a PE.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_Engineer [wikipedia.org]

I'm not really sure how they would regulate Facebook with their data ... I've never dealt with something like that.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918820)

Lots of people call themselves engineers. The meaning of the word is changing.

I think Professional Engineer might imply licensing. In fields like software where licensing and insurance isn't even an option, nobody could say they were mislead by the title of "Software Engineer".

Re:Programmers != Engineers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918324)

But then again, anyone in the good old US of A is an engineer. From the sanitation engineer who picks up my trash, to the beverage refreshment engineer who makes my coffee at Starbucks.

Engineer is just another cheap title, like CEO/CFO/CIO/CTO, etc, free to be used by anyone.

As one of slashdot's many Comment Moderation Engineers, I believe you bring up a good point - henceforth Anonymous Coward shall be known as Anonymous Engineer.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918346)

And the industry likes it that way.

Why? it keeps programmers as a dime-a-dozen level. If we were actually real Software Engineers, than we would be getting engineer pay, the managers cant force us to ship it if it compiles as engineering allows you to tell management to STFU if it's unsafe.

Corporations worked hard to make sure that programming and IT would be a factory level job.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (1)

Volvogga (867092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918480)

We have a code of ethics... the ACM writes them. I suppose it isn't really mandatory that we belong and therefor adhere to them, but I was taught to fall back on them for ethical issues.

http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics [acm.org]

The code is pretty much common sense. If you want a funny and kinda sad read, find the real estate code of ethics. They have to outline every evil, dirty little trick ever pulled and explicitly say not to do it.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (1, Insightful)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918482)

Ya well I knew a "DBA" that was responsible for a MS Access DB. Not actually even creating it... just running it. Yes one. Couldn't even script, hired consultants for that. Seriously. Made more money than me.

Also I have known people that called themselves CEO or CFO, etc... but were basically a one man show working from home.

Titles are cheap. I always wanted to put "Supreme Overlord" as a title on a resume just as a joke. It has about as much meaning as some of the crap I have seen other people use.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (0)

MichaelKristopeit403 (1978294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918514)

you are exactly what you call yourself: NOTHING

cower some more, feeb. deny the existence of software engineers as you have denied your own identity.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918642)

Engineer is just another cheap title, like CEO/CFO/CIO/CTO, etc, free to be used by anyone.

No, this is not true. There is a big difference between being the employee of a company and being an officer of the company. Those "O" titles actually mean something. Doesn't mean that the people who are officers of the company are the right people for those roles, but there's real baggage that comes with those titles, including a higher standard for the consequences of entering into contracts, obligating the company to act or pay bills, etc.Being an "O" also makes you more of a law suit magnet.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918648)

Once and for all, programmers are not Engineers.

Like a typical engineer, you don't understand english.

Some of them are licensed, professional engineers, even if it isn't a job requirement.

What you mean is that computer programming isn't a field that is restricted by law to licensed, professional engineers.

Many licensed, professional engineers work outside the fields that are restricted by law to licensed, professional engineers.

Programmers can not be held liable,

Of course they can, just like anyone else who fucks up. It depending on the contract, terms of sale, applicable law and what kind of mood the judge/jury are in.

Oh, you mean responsible to a professional body? Licensed, professional engineers wouldn't be responsible either for computer programming.

Computer programming isn't one of the things that is reserved to licensed, professional engineers.

If facebook was staffed by real engineers, a privacy breach would cost the engineer his/her license, and they could be personally sued, as well.

No, you first have to pass a law restricting computer programming to licensed, professional engineers. Then the licensing body would have to investigate and determine if the engineer's fuckup was sufficient to warrant disciplinary action, and then determine what the appropriate reprimand would be.

Licensed engineers != Engineers (2)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918676)

An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, economics and ingenuity to develop solutions to meet economic and societal needs. Engineers design structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, safety and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin root ingenium, meaning "cleverness" -Wikipedia [wikimedia.org]

Nowhere does this mention licensing of any kind. Licenses and liability to lawsuits are a recent invention and are little more than unnecessary government intervention in the free market for the purpose of restricting the supply of engineers. This sort of guild mentality has always been detrimental to the economy by forcing people to pay for something they don't necessarily want. It would have been much better if all this licensing nonsense disappeared and we could rely on the traditional reputation system that the free market uses to maintain quality.

Re:Programmers != Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918694)

In Ontario it is the same way except if you start calling them Professional Engineers. That title is actually controlled by legislation. So now you just just put blinders on for anything that doesn't include Professional. Unfortunately if the writer doesn't know this importance it could be dropped in the summarizing.

Now we know! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917966)

Now we know how/why there have been such privacy issues if there is no formal process to determine what features should be included or not!

Fake (5, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917972)

It's too bad much of the article is wrong [reddit.com].

Re:Fake (3, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918086)

Great, a series of statements about Facebook by some people not speaking on behalf of Facebook corrected by one person claiming to be from Facebook but not speaking on behalf of Facebook. Who knew Facebook engineers and fanboys were as capricious and unwilling to understand boundaries as the users?

Buh buh buh ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918088)

This one time, at Facebook camp ...

Re:Fake (3, Interesting)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918424)

Sir the post you cite actually confirms a lot of this is true. Such as the lack of QA. They are all encouraged to test and then report any bug in a new internal version? Is that supposed to be sufficient?

Just more proof that Facebook really doesn't care about anything except driving eyeballs to ads. I bet _that_ system is NASA engineered.

what this means is... (1, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917974)

...that they have very poor/disorganised engineering practice, and they're trying to sell a bug in their methodology as a feature. It's like when Google suddenly fluffs something up with your search results momentarily, and you think "huh, that's weird," but actually they're just testing (or think they're testing... in reality, they're just annoying you).

Since there's nothing technically interesting or requiring resilience about anything Facebook has to offer, they can get away with it.

Re:what this means is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918384)

Just out of curiosity, what have you done that you're so eager to poopoo everything all over this story? You must have worked on something amazing to be in such a position.

Re:what this means is... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918440)

What's the name of the fallacy in which secunda requires prima to reveal that prima is Gandhi before prima may criticise Mussolini?

Tired of it all (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918006)

Way too many Facebook stories today. I wish that website would disappear. Just walk anywhere in public for 15 minutes and count how many times you hear a reference to this website. Sometimes the count reaches double digits. It is ridiculous. You would think there was nothing else in the world that mattered. People are boring *yawn*

this is why no US investors.... (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit402 (1978292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918038)

facebook offers a free product that costs them hundreds of millions of dollars per year to operate, it is inevitable they make their money by exploiting their userbase. a US investment firm allowing US citizens to invest in their own exploitation is a possible anti-trust issue.

facebook's hypocritical acknowledgement that it takes malicious behavior to do malicious things is not reassuring in the least.

down the road (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918054)

I can see the social network equivalent to SOX or HIPAA coming down the road :/

Re:down the road (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918328)

You may want to look at what those acronyms mean, what they do, and why they exist.

SOX already covers Facebook and every other company in the USA.

HIPPA is more appropriate to what you mean, but the meat of it probably does things that you had no clue, I'll give you a hint, privacy is a tiny portion of it really.

Re:down the road (1)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918484)

SOX does not apply to Facebook, at least now today. It is for publicly held companies only, and thus applies to only a small portion of all businesses in the US.

Intentionally malicious code, eh? (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918056)

It would take intentionally malicious behavior to get un-reviewed code in.

But will they catch unintentionally malicious behavior that gets un-reviewed code in?

Facebook = change on the fly for no reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918110)

You just have to play with their annoying product for a little while and you see all the constant and apparently not thought out changes. I stopped using facebook years ago because the interface kept changing. I wrote some scripts to do some basic stuff and they kept breaking because of the constantly changing interface. Changes that just made no sense. One day a button would be there the next day gone. A week later it would come back. I don't see how people tolerate that. I guess they are so self absorbed that they don't even notice the changes.

Good Plan (1)

fiendo (217830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918132)

Because fortunately there is no history of humanity ever acting with intentional malice. #phew

It's a component system (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918276)

Bear in mind how Facebook works internally. It's a large number of programs intercommunicating through a remote procedure call system. There's no one big "build". The interfaces between programs are well defined, and changing out programs individually is normal.

"dogfooding"? (3, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918286)

Yeah, I had to look it up. Never heard of the term "dogfooding" before.

It seems a silly word choice, since in context it carries no more meaning than the rather more conventional word "using".

Re:"dogfooding"? (5, Funny)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918390)

The choosing is weirding, you're right, but as long as the meaning is clearing, it's not really probleming.

Re:"dogfooding"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918522)

Please go back to the literary sewer you came from.

Re:"dogfooding"? (1)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918408)

Yeah, I had to look it up. Never heard of the term "dogfooding" before.

It seems a silly word choice, since in context it carries no more meaning than the rather more conventional word "using".

Well, it could be worse...

"In 2009, the new CIO of Microsoft, Tony Scott, argued that the phrase "dogfooding" was unappealing and should be replaced by "icecreaming", with the aim of developing products as "ice cream that our customers want to consume"

Icecreaming, you screaming...

Re:"dogfooding"? (1)

pwagland (472537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918436)

If you really had to look it up, the least you could do is provide the link [wikipedia.org]

That said, assuming that you are a software engineer, you really should have come across that term before, it's been around for 20 years, and in common use for at least ten.

Re:"dogfooding"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918450)

The context is "eating one's own dogfood", and it's rather known...

So how then...... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918300)

Does idiotic ideas like sharing my private info with any random app that is easily setup to be malicious get through?

Why dont they have a checks and balances with the executives that should be smacked hared in the head for their bad ideas?

Same old tune (5, Insightful)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918370)

We get to read this story every few years. Some company makes a popular product and all of a sudden they are the authority on development. News flash guys, enterprise software wasn't just invented and we've been rolling out features to millions of people for years. In environments where any discrepancy can lead to serious legal repercussions. So just for a second, hear us out. We know what we're doing and we don't need to reinvent it every few years because the guys from Facebook, Basecamp, Hacker news, or any other place said we're doing it wrong. Our bottom line and years of quality deliveries say we're doing it right. What do these guys have besides a history of rolling out mistakes? Their value is based on hype, not their code quality. Some of us don't have the luxury to make huge mistakes and have our customers be okay with it.

This explains bizarre feature regressions (4, Interesting)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918392)

I know they're always looking to "streamline" Facebook, but sometimes really obviously good features vanish without explanation and leave users scratching their heads. These decisions would make more sense if you could see some way that FB was making life easier for advertisers or something, but often, the feature regressions are just nonsensical to the extreme.

A few:

- Facebook got rid of statuses. The one e-crack feature they're best known for. Gone with the new profile. Now they're just wall posts to yourself that quickly fall down the page. *facepalm*

- Photos are now uploaded in descending order. It used to be that a group of images would be uploaded like this: beachtrip-1.jpg, beachtrip-2.jpg... and so on. Now it reverses the order of an uploaded album. The last photos taken are displayed first. Posting vacation pics? Well your friends get to see the day you left and work their way back to the day you arrived.

- The "Reverse Photo Order" option was removed when the above "feature" was introduced. You can drag around photos to manually reorder them, but every photo that you mouse-over jumps out of the way and moves to different rows. It's a UI disaster.

- A few months ago I started seeing tagged photos of friends despite the fact they were in private albums of people I'm not friends with who also happen to have locked-down profiles where you can't see anything at all unless you add them.

Re:This explains bizarre feature regressions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918758)

1. Facebook didn't get rid of statuses. They're not "gone". Maybe you need to understand how your news feed works.

2. How do you know albums of people you're not friends with were private and not set for "friend of a friend"?

Gotta love irresponsible speculation passed off as fact. So they changed the way photos are re-organized...hardly this "bizarre" incident as you put it.

Re:This explains bizarre feature regressions (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918810)

I remember being able to add a class schedule to my profile, and then being able to look up other people in my class on Facebook. It seems this feature is now gone, or perhaps it's just unavailable to me since I'm no longer enrolled in school.

Amazing (1, Troll)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918516)

I'm amazed that "Facebook" needs about 1000 engineers for their site. I'd have thought that a team of 3-4 engineers could achieve the same effect. Honestly, I'm not joking. Then again, I haven't looked at their site for more than a year and no longer have an account, so perhaps its by now powered by rocket science.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918712)

Thank you for commenting.

Re:Amazing (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918770)

"Based on old, irrelevant information from a year ago, and with my opinion which means nothing because I don't have a god damn clue, I'm surprised Facebook needs engineers!"

Two obvious thoughts... (1)

ArtFart (578813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918564)

First, this certainly explains Facebook's "glitch-of-the-hour" syndrome. Second, let's all pray that these folks never get to work on anything related to avionics, life support or nuclear power plants.

Of course they have no QA... (3, Interesting)

RJHelms (1554807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918572)

It's easy not to have QA when your users aren't paying you.

Google's in the same boat - the websites aren't the product, the end users are. When your website is your product this crap won't fly.

Ken Thompson code (1, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918582)

Ken Thompson got annoyed that Unix users would call him up or email him complaining about bugs, but would refuse to give him root access to their systems to snoop around. So he added a seemingly innocuous chunk of code to the Unix source, that would be transformed by the C compiler into a backdoor for him. Then when folks called up to complain, he would instruct them to recompile the kernel, and presto, he could get in to debug.

When describing this years later, he quipped something like, "Never trust or hire a guy like me."

So the summary says, "All changes are reviewed by at least one person, and the system is easy for anyone else to look at and review your code even if you don't invite them to"

So folks can review the code . . . can they understand what it really does?

Re:Ken Thompson code (1)

RJHelms (1554807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918608)

Did he actually do this? I've read a paper he wrote about this, but got the impression it was a proof of concept for hiding a backdoor in the compiler, not something that actually shipped.

If I'm wrong I'd be interested to read more.

"Compnay" (1)

Bourdain (683477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918606)

What is interesting for a compnay this size is that there is no official QA group at Facebook

I guess slashdot is also missing a bit of QA :)

Not that surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918624)

This isn't that surprising if you're trying to figure out how Facebook works by looking at it from the outside. Facebook has always looked like a mangled mish-mash of features. Things get implemented pretty much a random with no apparent regard for an overarching design or vision. Facebook looks like one gigantic hack. Turns out, it is.

You are what you eat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918704)

and Facebook is dog food.
Funny coincidence, no?

Dogfooding the product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918764)

While I'm not wild about the term, dogfooding your own product is not a bad way to find bugs, and also to see if the product sucks or not. Things people want are likely things customers want. Fix your niche wish (wouldn't it be great if we had...) and you are likely (with Facebook) fixing 10,000,000 users wish. I occasionally go to an upscale Chinese restaurant. Sure, they flip the dirty tablecloths over, and if the other side is dirty too, they pull it off quick, and put on a clean one. But the thing I remember most is that before they open (at noon), all the waiters, the chefs, and the boss sit down to lunch. If there is any problem with the food (or it isn't quite right), everyone will know right away, before they serve it to customers, so customers get the version thats been past quality control. The chefs sit across from the boss. I always wonder about companies that prefer other companies products over their own. There is something insincere about it.

Insider Attacks (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918786)

Urgh. That means every competent insider can easily put disguised backdoors into the code to be used later. Ordinarily you want to severely limit who can do that. In fact one fundamental principle when operating high security applications is that development personnel must not have access to the production environment, exactly to not hand all eggs to everybody.

Obviously a young and highly risk-taking company. Not good at all.

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