Microsoft has come up with a very clever (and fun!) way to help developers perfect their coding skills when working with Visual Studio and Windows Azure. Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Azure launched earlier this year on Channel 9 to the delight of the developer community. Similar to the Cisco's Subnet Game we wrote about a couple of months ago, VS Achievements is a fun and engaging way to learn.
The gamified learning experience allows developers to hone in their skills and receive some recognition for their knowledge. A total of 15 new achievements based on Windows Azure cloud development have already been added, and there's talk of more achievements coming to the platform in the upcoming months. Let's take a look at how Visual Studio Achievements works and how you can benefit from the experience. You can download the free Windows Azure trial here as well.
Getting Started with Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Azure
To get started earning your VS achievements, you'll need four things:
- A Channel 9 account (if you have a Windows live ID, that will work too)
- Visual Studio Achievements Plugin
- Free 90-day Windows Azure Account (if you're an MSDN subscriber, a Microsoft partner or a BizSpark member, that will work too)
- Windows Azure SDK for .NET
Once you've downloaded the plugin and logged into your Channel 9 account, you can start earning achievements based on your Visual Studio activity. When you unlock an achievement, you will see a pop-up that looks something like this:
VS Achievements for Windows Azure – Collect Them All!
Currently, there are a total of 15 Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Azure all worth 5 points each that you can earn in 3 different categories:
Unleashing Windows Azure:
- Database Darling – earn by using SQL Azure
- Desktop Debutante – earn by configuring Azure for Remote Desktop Connection
- Get On The Bus – earn by using the service bus
- Heading Into The Cloud – earn by publishing to the cloud from Visual Studio
- IntelliTrace Rocks – earn by configuring Azure to use IntelliTrace
- It's My Party – earn by configuring Azure to use start up tasks
- Keep Heading Into The Cloud – earn by publishing to the cloud from Visual Studio 10 times
- Performance Power – earn by configuring Azure to use performance profiling
- Show Me The Cache – earn by using Windows Azure caching
- Union Jack - earn by configuring Azure to use a worker role
- Write Once, Run Anywhere – earn by running multiple websites in a single web role
Windows Azure SDK Guru:
- Attack of the Blob – earn by using the page blob feature of Windows Azure Blob Storage
- Tired Of Waiting In Line – earn by using the time out feature of Windows Azure Queues
Windows Azure Toolkit Wizard:
- Game In The Cloud – earn by using Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Gaming
- Phone In The Cloud – earn by using Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone
Windows Azure Achievements in Visual Studio are just the beginning! You can earn more points and more badges and get your name on the leaderboard with some fun and challenging achievements from other categories as you impress your friends and master Visual Studio. Learn more about Visual Studio Achievements and get started today.