Due to the popularity of its badges for coding achievements, Microsoft has extended the scheme to the Windows Azure environment.
It does seem that something as simple as a badge to show off to you friends and colleagues motivates programmers to code better.
As we reported in January, it was a suggestion on a developer's blog that prompted Microsoft to introduce the Visual Studio Achievements Extension whereby badges can be earned for completing specific tasks.
To date there have been more than 80,000 downloads of the plug-in- perhaps 80,000 more than some might have expected. Once installed developers not only get badges but they compete against one another for a place on a leaderboard. Badges and ranking are based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use. Currenlty there are over 27,000 entries on the leaderboard.
Which all goes to show that Visual Studio developers think achievement badges are a fun way to socially share their accomplishments.
Now cloud developers can join in with 15 new achievements for developing applications in Windows Azure added to the line-up of badges, bringing the total number to 47. All the new badges are with 5 points and are for achievements such as "IntelliTrace Rocks" - Configure Azure to use IntelliTrace; "Union Jack" - Configure Azure to use a worker role and "Attack of the Blob" - Use page blob features of Windows Azure Blob Storage".
So if you want to a a fun dimension to the sometimes lonely task of coding visit Channel 9 to download the Visual Studio Achievements extension.
If you are not a Microsoft Developer you don't need to feel left out. Now the Mozilla Open Badge API (beta) is freely available, you can devise your own badge system for accomplishments.
Of all the coding competitions, the Facebook Hacker Cup seems the most exciting. It is accessible to almost everybody and while you have to be an elite coder to get to the finals there's a lot along t [ ... ]