New Visual Studio Achievement - For Early Adopters
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 13 July 2012

Would you upgrade for a badge and a higher position on a leaderboard? It's an idea that Microsoft is currently testing. The latest addition to its Visual Studio Achievements program  asks you to Run VS2012 RC on Windows8 RP.



Clearly someone at Microsoft has a sense of humor or is it a prediction?

Assuming that it's the book by Aldous Huxley, rather than a Shakespeare quote, that is being referred to then it paints a bleak future for any programmer daring enough to move to VS2012 on Windows 8. From the description of the book on Amazon:

In Huxley's darkly satiric yet chillingly prescient imagining of a "Utopian" future, humans are genetically designed and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded and as a thought-provoking yet satisfying entertainment.

Yes it sounds much like using VS2012 and Windows 8....


If you haven't encountered the Achievements scheme before it is designed to "Bring some game to your code". It has been going since  January 2012 when Microsoft launched the Visual Studio Achievements Extension, a plug-in that enables developers to earn badges and compete against one another for a place on a leader board based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use to do so.

The rationale, according to its download page is to enable developers to gain recognition for stuff they do in the course of their day-to-day activity.

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.

The scheme had an enthusiastic take up and by the end of April when a new set of badges encompassing Azure in the scheme were launched there had already been 80,000 downloads and there were over 27,000 names on the leaderboard. Things appear to have slowed down, as you might expect, and now the leaderboard has approaching 30,000 names and the downloads have just rolled over 105,000 - 104,500 for the original VS 2010 version and just 500 for the VS 2012 RC version that was posted last week.

The scheme has shown its effectiveness in that over 800 developers have collected over a hundred points and six have over 200. At the top of the leaderboard competition is fierce and the latest badge, with the title Brave New World is worth 10 points and has aready been gained by AceHack enabling him to tie on 244 points at the top of the leaderboard with two others nsavga and drweldem.




So is this competitiveness promoting programming skills or just being a diversion? I'm not sure. What is clear is that gamification is currently very popular and Mozilla's Open Badge API means it doesn't have to be restricted to Visual Studio.

More Information

Visual Studio Achievements

Mozilla Open Badges

Future of Gamification

Related Articles

Visual Studio Achievements Program

Azure Gamified - More Badges!

Mozilla Open Badges API in Beta


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