Easter egg follow-up

Tom says there’s no excuse for adding easter eggs.  I think this post of mine has generated more activity than anything I’ve written about WinFS or Longhorn 😉

I’m not going to advocate that every developer ought be able to spend as much time as they want checking in hidden features willy nilly.  But I think there is something to be said for allowing developers to add some personal expression and creativity to a product that they spend years building.

The original Mac had the signatures of all the designers on the interior shielding of the case.  To me, that shows pride, and passion, for the product they worked on.  At their best, easter eggs serve the same purpose (although admittedly adding code to software is higher risk than carving your name into a piece of shielding).

I also strongly disagree with the notion that developers ought to be spending every minute of their time at work writing code.  While that’s clearly their #1 job, if you hired only developers who sit at their desk all day writing code (and don’t take time out to experiment, or be creative, or de-stress at the foosbal table, or whatever), I think your product would be worse off.

[update: fixed spelling of easter in the first sentence ;]

Comments (11)

  1. Paul Tyng says:

    I think the seperation of the easter egg from the actual product codebase would be the proper way to continue with them. Tying some key stroke or specific command in to an app to invoke the easter egg is just asking for problems. I don’t see an issue with including a "Credits" app along side an application especially if it could be deleted or something thus alleviating the security minded people of having to worry about it.

    On a side note, I remember fondly the days of the excel flight sim.

  2. Ferris Beuller says:

    If they want to express themselves let them become a stripper or artist.

  3. Jeremy says:

    How many developers think that writing code for Ferris’s company would be a good job?

  4. Tom Mertens says:

    I fully agree with you that developers must experiment and be creative with code. They must even de-stress (Dutch has a nice word for it: "onthaasten", or freely translated "de-rush") from time to time. Team building and other fun activities must certainly be done to keep their minds fit and in topmost shape. These things are also time well spent.

    Easter eggs will not be designed and documented as well as the rest of the application. (Proof can be found on Paul Vick’s blog: http://www.panopticoncentral.net/PermaLink.aspx/b54b161b-ac99-4b3a-8136-bbc83e01eb5e). If a developer wants to be innovative and creative and he wants to write a flightsim or race game, he can/should do that in his own time. But developers should never be allowed to add these gems into corporate software.

  5. Ferris Beuller says:

    Well, you can do what you want here, im flexable, but if any rogue code ends up in the product that puts food in our mouthes, you jeoperdise ALL of us. SO yeah yer out but outside the project you can do pretty much anything you want you can create your own apps or things but they dont go in the live code. There is this issue about trustworthy computin you are mouthing on about and harping on blah blah yack yack.. So you want to have this "Do as we say but not as we do" label?

  6. Mertens Tom says:

    Hey don’t repres us word 97 pinball gamers!!

  7. Ferris Beuller says:

    At the end of the day, Work is work its not a hobby, if you want a hobby go take up pottery or something. WTF kind of products do you think we would have if we just let everybody go willy nilly at them adding whatever they want at the drop of a whim. Please, it scares me.

  8. Ferris Beuller says:

    Lets see, past easter eggs…

    Word 95 thesarous, substitutes the word "nigger" for "black". Yeah, easter eggs are an expressive form.

  9. Ferris Beuller says:

    And another golden gem.

    Office word fonts, NAZI fonts. DO you support such expressive forms of creativity then?

  10. Ferris Beuller says:

    <Monty Python>Help help, I’m being repressed</Monty Python>

  11. Ferris Beuller says:

    From the easter egg database, 90% of this so called "creativity" you rant on about and "expression" is mostly displaying of CREDITS, OMG IM CRYING A RIVERIN THE POOL OF CREATIVITY!

    The other ones seem to be offensive.