Announcing Visual Studio Achievements Beta
- Posted: Jan 18, 2012 at 8:06AM
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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.
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!
With Version 2.0 of the extension, we've added 15 new achievements all based on Windows Azure cloud development, which you can read more about here.
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:
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 47 achievements awaiting to be unlocked, all of which are listed here. Here's what the 7 different badges look like:
The Six Categories of Achievements
|Customizing Visual Studio||Don't Try This At Home||Good Housekeeping|
|Just For Fun||Power Coder||Unleashing Visual Studio|
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
The widget uses our Visual Studio Achievements public API, which you are welcome to access to create your own mashups and apps.
We have to give props to the blog While True, whose blog post What If Visual Studio Had Achievements inspired us to go build this. That post spawned a reddit post that is the thread which started it all!
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.