"Dogfooding" VS 2010 and .NET 4

As we get ready for the launch of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4, I find myself looking back at the project to think about some of the critical factors that lead to our success. 


One of the things that stands out clearly for me is our practice of dogfooding the various pieces of Visual Studio throughout the product cycle.  Here at Microsoft, we use the term “dogfooding” to refer to the internal use of a pre-release product in our daily work – after all, until our product is good enough for us to use every day, it’s not good enough for the rest of the world either!


Microsoft teams have a long tradition of dogfooding their products long before releasing them to external customers for their own adoption and Developer Division is no exception to that.  In fact, because we are in the same business as many of our customers (namely writing software products) I would say that dogfooding is an especially important practice for us to embrace.  I’m happy to tell you that with Visual Studio 2010 we have redoubled our efforts in this area. 


One of the first things we did during the VS2010 project cycle was to convert the entire division over to using Team Foundation Server for bug tracking and source control.  We had used TFS to track features across the entire project during previous product cycles.  We had also used TFS for source and bugs for the Team System teams.  So, switching over the entire division was a big step for us in terms of using our latest tools on such a large project.  Here are some statistics from our instance of TFS towards the end of the project:


·         3,668 active users in a 14 day period

·         896 builds per month

·         828,978 work items, including bugs, tasks and other work that we track

·         25,170,852 source code files under version control

·         15.5 terabytes of data


Brian Harry runs the TFS team and has reported extensively about our use of TFS during this product cycle.  I’d encourage you to follow his blog if you’re interested in learning more about what we’ve done and what we’ve learned as we use TFS internally. 


The other big thrust of our dogfooding effort for the VS2010 and .NET 4 project was to ensure that we had broad adoption of the latest builds of Visual Studio itself.  Unlike with TFS where the service is centrally managed, the tools developers and testers use on their desktops are not.  As such, we built telemetry into dogfood builds of VS to help us understand how many folks were using the product daily and what builds were deployed throughout the team. As of today, we have over 12,000 people inside Microsoft running VS 2010 for their day-to-day development.  In addition, employees installed pre-release versions of .NET Framework 4 to their desktops more than 35,000 times, and Microsoft.com and MSDN deployed pre-release .NET Framework 4 on 112 servers.


Early feedback from our internal adopters has provided us significant help in ensuring that our product works well in many different real world scenarios for different sized teams, projects and application types. 


As you can see, dogfooding plays a very significant role in our product development phase and one that we in Developer Division embrace fully.




Comments (29)

  1. Anton says:

    How long has VS2010 been in development? and how many developers are there working on building VS2010?

  2. It seems Dogfooding worked for Microsoft….VS 2010 is really awesome….hoping for the gr8 success…

  3. Another great example of dogfooding is Visual Studio 2010 IDE being developed in WPF 4. Just wish Microsoft get rid of those remaining pieces of unmanaged code already in on VS2010 on future releases.

  4. Techno-Pulse says:

    I am working on VS 2008. It’s amazing! Hope VS 2010 will be beyond a developer’s expectations…

  5. Shruti says:

    I was not able to download the Visual Studio 2008 Professional ISO from the DreamSpark website, so i downloaded the ISO from MSDN evaluation centre(90-day trial)… Are both the ISOs same? Can i use my DreamSpark product key to activate it? Will my key work with the MSDN version of VS2008.iso? Plz help…

  6. Eric Malamisura says:

    Hey Somasegar,

    Do you have any metrics on how expensive it was or how much overhead you incurred by doing "dog food" testing?  I would imagine it is quit costly since you have downtime during the transition phase and you might possibly block other teams if they run into a nasty bug in the software.  How did you handle situations like that?



  7. Todd Wilder says:

    I’m still finding bugs in the RC, mostly in the editor. Sometimes when i’m copying and pasting I got a value out of range exception. When I triple slash above a single line comment it doesn’t expand out, but when I triple slash below a single line comment it does. When I Control m+m inside the signature of a method declaration that is a multi-line declaration with a lot of parameters, it collapses the entire class when I only wanted it to collapse the method.

    It seems like VS2010 won’t be totally on par with VS2008 until SP1

  8. Tom says:

    Hey Soma,

    What worries and bothers me most is that VS.NET 2010 latest release still crashes. This crashing non-sense has to STOP completely. If you guys really did a thorough job, there should virtually be no crashes. If it does crash, it should restore everything back consistently (without falling into an infinite loop of crashing again because of the restore) – something IE 8 has been doing pretty well.

  9. Somasegar says:

    Hi Eric,

    Early on it was quite expensive particularly as we rolled out Team Foundation Server across the whole team.  Part of it was because we realized that we were hardening not just TFS but the whole underlying stack including Windows Server, SQL Server, etc.

    We also learnt a couple of things – the need to have adequate pre-production support both from a hw and an operations perspective as well as potentially scaling up in a couple of different steps as opposed to going all the way day1.

    At the end of the day, we are all really glad that we did this because we feel that hte product is that much better when it ships.


  10. R says:

    I like what I’ve seen so far regarding VS2010 but could you tell me what significant projects and apps (I mean commercial products which MS sells) are written in .NET?

  11. dougturn says:

    Hi @Tom and @Todd,

    Can you either connect with me via my blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/dougturn/contact.aspx), twitter (@dougt) or report these items on http://Connect.Microsoft.com/VisualStudio so we can see what is going on with your specific scenarios?


  12. Somasegar says:

    Hi Anton,

    We have been working on Visual Studio 2010 since we shipped VS 2008 – so almost 2.5 years.  We have about 1800 people working on VS 2010 and .NET Framework 4 – this includes developers, testers, program managers, and people working on documentation, localization, user experience and the like.


  13. Somasegar says:

    Hi R,

    There are several products that we ship from Microsoft which are written in .NET (at least major parts of the products).

    Just to give you a flavor:

    From the developer division, Visual Studio and Expression both have substantive parts of the products in .NET.

    A lot of our server products have substantive parts that are built on .NET.  


  14. Ankita says:

    Sir, i want to know whether the Visual Studio 2010 Professional ISO on DreamSpark will contain MSDN Library or not? Can you disclose the ISO file size?

  15. Hello Somasegar i find a bug in VS 2010 RC that


    In VS 2010 RC

    if we use Full-Screen mode and we have 2 document ex:-default.aspx , default.cs then if we set a document to dock as tab document and other to full view mode

    then in Full view mode document we can see two Font-size changer control. try  in your Vs and give us sollution


  16. Somasegar says:

    Hi Shruti,

    Yes you can use the same product key from DreamSpark as it is for the Visual Studio 2008 Professional edition.


  17. Somasegar says:


    For those of you who are reporting an issue that you have with VS 2010, first of all I appreciate your feedback.

    The team is following up on these.

    It will be hugely helpful if you could report bugs through http://connect.microsoft.com/visualstudio.

    That way you can provide us the necessary information that makes it more actionable, the bugs get automatically created in our database, others can provide input and we can dialog with the customer directly.  

    Thanks in advance.


  18. Shruti says:

    Thanks a lot Sir… Now i feel relieved to know that finally i can make use of my DreamSpark Visual Studio 2008 Professional key… Looking forward to working with Visual Studio 2010 by the end of this year; hope its a blockbuster release… Wish you all the very best for a successful release… Thanks again Sir!

    (Sir, one important thing: A few days ago in my college, during the Visual Studio 2008 Professional RTM installation, there was a problem installing the MSDN Library… And they had to then install the SP1 first and finally the SP1 version of the MSDN Library… So, i just hope the problem doesnt repeat again for Visual Studio 2010)

  19. Keith Hill says:

    Congratulations on the upcoming RTM.  I have been using VS 2010 RC on an older test PC and it feels quite snappy.  And I’m really looking forward to see what ISV’s will do with the new MEF extensibility capabilities in the text editor.  Should be very interesting.

  20. Somasegar says:

    Hi Keith,

    thank you and looking forward to the launch on Monday.


  21. Somasegar says:

    Hi Ankita,

    The products offered on DreamSpark do not include the MSDN library. Below are some links that you can use to search the online library, or download a copy of the library for Visual Studio 2008.

    MSDN Library: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/default.aspx

    MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7bbe5eda-5062-4ebb-83c7-d3c5ff92a373&DisplayLang=en


  22. Parag says:

    For all those experiencing crashes, I sympathize. It used to the same on my Machine. But finally I figured the problem: It  was not VS 2010 itself but Daily Nightly builds of Resharper 5. So uninstall it and make sure you use RC of Resharper. All the issues were solved after I uninstall Resharper 5 from VS 2010.

  23. @Anirudha Gupta:

    Thanks for posting.  Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to reproduce this issue yet.  Would you mind either posting a link to a screenshot or, better yet, filing a bug at http://connect.microsoft.com/visualstudio and posting its bug ID number?  That way we can better understand the problem and take a closer look.


    Brittany Behrens

    Program Manager, Visual Studio Platform

  24. william mckenzie` says:

    Is the 25 Million files and 15 TB of data for VS source code only, or is that all of the MS products/user on the central tfs?

  25. phuff says:

    William Mckenzie,

    The statistics on files and terabytes of data are for Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, .NET, plus all the other things we need to develop, test, and document VS & .NET, like unit tests, functional tests, our test harness, our development environment toolsets for branching and lab builds, and documentation.

    Polita Paulus


  26. Sunny nagi says:

    Hey soma,

    Great work by your boys, VS2010 and .net4 are for sure a step up in UX and performance.

    I know lot of people say that vs2010 is slow and buggy i suggest that they need to check that the machine is running all windows updates.

    Thanks again!

  27. Somasegar says:

    Thanks Sunny for the feedback.


  28. Steve Py says:

    I’m not sure I’m convinced that dogfooding really leads to better software. I’ve found that VS2010 is consistently less stable of a development platform than VS2008 was. Some of it is just "twitchy" behaviour such as screens not refreshing properly such as when a project is opened; (requiring a minimize + restore to re-render properly) But others are crashes such as when doing something as basic as a Find in Files (whole solution) where the find operation just locks up the IDE.

    The problem with dogfooding is that if the people that use the product are the people that make the product they A) develop a habbit of using it in a particular way, and B) it’s easier to work around a problem than fixing it. These are problems with getting feedback from end-users as well, but I’d argue that it would be more of an issue with dogfooding.

    Ultimately VS continues to be an exceptional development platform, however I feel VS2010 needed to be polished a bit more before release.

    On a side-note, how much effort was invested in testing Visual Studio with third-party add-ins that were being developed by the community outside of MS? (Such as Resharper, AnkhSVN, TestDriven.Net etc?) (Assessing that the hooks into VS are stable.)

  29. James Bartlett says:

    @Steve Py

    Re: your rendering and hang issues

    We’d like to try to repro these issues and work with you to investigate them further. Could you please open a connect bug (http://connect.microsoft.com/visualstudio) with repro details, details of any extensions you have installed, and attach the dxdiag file from your repro machine (Help>>About, DxDiag button, Save All Information…). Please feel free to contact me directly with the bug ID number or with questions (jbartlet@microsoft.com).