LightSwitch Achievements: Chapter one (Introduction) – The idea

In this blog post series, we’re going to create a fun extension that will stimulate the users of our LightSwitch applications by rewarding them with points and achievements when they use the application…

My profile on MSDN, not too shabby considering I didn't know anything about computers 4 years ago...

 History 1o1

If you want to fight a battle, you need an army.  An army full of brave people, trained, ready to kill, and more importantly, ready to get killed.

It’s not completely unnatural to put yourself into a such a dangerous situation for “the greater good”, however if I would have to live with the decision to be in the front line, that “greater good” better be “damn good, and damn worth the risk”.

The Romans understood that their soldiers needed some additional motivation, besides their scanty wages, and granted any soldier freedom and a substantial piece of land, for four years of their loyalty.

Hundreds of years later, Napoleon needed to motivate his soldiers as well, but quickly found himself running out of land to give away.  He was the first one to create a rewarding system based on medals, which – probably to his own surprise – worked remarkably well.  Medals don’t soften the blow of losing a relative on the field, or ease the pain of having one of your limbs shot to pieces, however the visual aspect of those shiny medal coins on a colorful bow, did motivate his soldiers by meeting their “lower esteem needs” (from the fourth tier of Maslow’s pyramid): the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention.

Today’s plan

History lessons aside, the rewarding  / motivation system of “Points”, “Achievements” and/or “Medals” is anything but history, it is used today in all kinds of areas, from employee retention management, games (MMORPG, XBox gamer profile, …), community sites (MSDN, forums, …), that obnoxious web site that stimulates users to spam their connections on social media, each time they “check in” somewhere, … to even the boy scout badges…

As old as the system may be, it is effective, motivating and fun for the rewardees, so why not make a reusable LightSwitch extension that any developer can set up and start using in no time, to give his/her users some extra incentive.  We will keep track of events that happen in our LightSwitch application, create a system to reward those events to our users, create a visual effect to show each time a medal is awarded, a summary page per user and a “Hall of fame”.

In this blog post series, we will continue our LightSwitch hacking quest, explore some of LightSwitch’s undocumented areas and have a lot of fun in the process…

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3 thoughts on “LightSwitch Achievements: Chapter one (Introduction) – The idea

  1. Hmmm . . . I read somewhere that if you wanted to win a battle, all you had to do is get a skinny little kid with a sling-shot – or just walk around playing a trumpet.

    I’m thinking about the rest . . .

  2. Pingback: Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 1/8/2012+ - Windows Azure Blog

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