Today we are pleased to announce the release of Windows Azure Achievements for Visual Studio. Building on the existing Visual Studio Achievements extension, this updated release brings 15 new Windows Azure-based achievements to the popular Visual Studio extension.

If you aren’t familiar with Visual Studio Achievements, it is an extension for Visual Studio, which enables developers to unlock 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. It was released in January and it has been downloaded over 80,000 times. 

The extension works by launching a background thread each time code is compiled, looking for code constructs. It also listens for particular events and actions from Visual Studio. When certain criteria or actions are detected, the plug-in triggers a pop-up alert and awards a new badge, which then updates the developer’s Channel 9 profile as well as the public leader board.

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, share them on Facebook, and show a list of achievements on your blog using the Visual Studio Achievements Widget.

Today’s update to the extension adds 15 new achievements, all focused on Windows Azure development.  For Windows Azure developers who use .NET and Visual Studio, this is a chance to show their prowess with Windows Azure tools and SDK. 

The Windows Azure achievements are at once playful and pragmatic.  They focus on a wide range of skills with the Windows Azure cloud platform, including publishing to Windows Azure from Visual Studio, exercising features such as Windows Azure Service Bus and using toolkits, such as the Social Gaming Toolkit for Windows Azure

Each achievement description contains links to documentation and tutorials where developers unfamiliar with the feature can learn more.

Here are the available achievements:

 

Download the extension here.