Last January, we released Visual Studio Achievements, bringing gamification to the IDE. The reaction from the developer community was very positive and we’ve had 85,000+ downloads to date.
Today, we’re excited to announce an update to extension, adding 15 new achievements, all focused on Windows Azure development. You can read more about this on the official MSFT blog, the Windows Azure blog and, of course, on Channel9.
Bring Some Game To Your Code!
A software engineer’s glory so often goes unnoticed. Attention seems to come either when there are bugs or when the final project ships. But rarely is a developer appreciated for all the nuances and subtleties of a piece of code–and all the heroics it took to write it. With Visual Studio Achievements Beta, your talents are recognized as you perform various coding feats, unlock achievements and earn badges.
Learn More About Visual Studio
Visual Studio is a powerful tool with tons of features, many of which you may not know about. Earning some of the badges may result in learning about features you didn’t even know existed!
How It Works
With the Visual Studio Achievements Extension, achievements are unlocked based on your activity. Your code is analyzed on a background thread each time you compile. In addition, the extension listens for certain events and actions that you may perform in Visual Studio, reporting progress on these events to the server.
When you unlock an achievement, Visual Studio lets you know visually with a pop-up:
Figure 1 – Unlocking An Achievement
In addition, your Channel 9 profile is updated with any achievements you earn, recalculating your position on the leaderboard:
Figure 2 – The Visual Studio Achievements Leaderboard
Some examples of individual achievements include Regional Manager (have more than 10 regions in a single class), Close To The Metal (use 5 preprocessor directives), Stubby (generate method stubs 10 times) or Interrupting Cow (have 10 breakpoints in a file). All in all, there are 32 achievements awaiting to be unlocked, all of which are listed here. Here’s what the 6 different badges look like:
The Six Categories of Achievements
Customizing Visual Studio
Don’t Try This At Home
Just For Fun
Unleashing Visual Studio
Share Your Flair
Each time you earn a badge, a unique page is created with your profile picture, the badge and a description. You can tweet about achievements you earn and/or share them on Facebook:
Figure 3 – Share A Page
Or, you can show a list of achievements on your blog using the Visual Studio Achievements Widget which is as simple as adding one line of script to your page. After all, those badges look so shiny and nice! Here’s an example of the widget on a blog:
Figure 4 – The Visual Studio Achievements Widget On A Blog
We’re just getting started with Visual Studio Achievements and are hoping to release more in the future. If you have ideas for additional achievements, we’d love to hear about them. Please use the Q&A section of the achievements extension to make suggestions for future achievements. And if you have suggestions, concerns, issues or problems, again, use the Q&A section of the achievements gallery page. Give a read to the FAQ as well as your question may already be answered.