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To Easter Egg Or Not To Easter Egg? That Is The Question

December 7th, 2008 22:45 pm | by Ed |

I was doing some catch-up reading in my slashdot emails and came across a item from reader asking whether or not it would be a good idea to include a little "Easter Egg" in a program they're developing. This is with the person fully realizing that very few people will ever see, let alone comment on, said Easter Egg. The idea is that it's something that, as the writer said, leaves an "I was here" kind of mark on the program.

As to whether you should do something like that or not, all I can say is that I don't see that it hurts anything so long as it has no effect on the normal operation of the program. You'd also want to insure that it isn't something that an unsuspecting user could run into by accident and think that the software they'd paid for was hosed.

The other factor depends on the development environment and the personality of the people in charge. This is where producing something for a small business opportunity in it's early stages of growth has a definite advantage. People in those operations are usually a lot more easy going and likely to be interested in something that might be just a bit extravagent (or wasteful depending on how you look at it).

Honestly, I think a *good* Easter Egg in a program would be a good idea really. You release the program with the Easter Egg in it and don't say anything to anybody about it. Then, after it's been on the market for two or three months, arrange for a rumor to get started that there's an Easter Egg in the program. A few months later, anonymously post the key to revealing it on a blog or three someplace in comments and wait for them to be indexed in the search engines. Meanwhile, shortly after planting the key to the Easter Egg, start again (on totally different sites, with a different IP address and ID) re-inforcing the rumors about there being an Easter Egg.

Then all you need to do is sit back and wait for people to "discover" it. Frankly, there's a real potential in "Planned Easter Eggs" in software. You could have each new version of a program tell part of a story of some kind. In doing so, you end up creating a need (people's desire to see the next version of the software so they can find the new Easter Egg).

Technorati Tags: software, people, development environment, easter, programming, easter egg, personality, discovery, extravagent, definite advantage, small business Opportunity, unsuspecting user

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