This week saw the introduction of the new employment import. It is pretty cool and you will probably want to join a demo to see it, but it isn’t the most awesome feature of the week. The coolest feature is one that customers will never see. It was inspired by the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler. His review of research studies showed that smiley faces or frowny faces on utility bills changed how much energy was used. After reading Nudge, we started thinking, “Where could we make this work for us?”

At Envisage, we have emails that go out every time a developer makes a change to the product. The email lets the team know who made the change and why. It tells the team all the files that were changed and whether all our automated tests ran successfully. Finally, it has a list of best practices and any files that are violating the best practices.

picture of a frowny face and instruction that document.all is not supported by IE9

A frowny face on the team’s automated build notice helps keep problems away.

Unfortunately, some best practices can only be discovered after banging your knees a few times. Coding practices change over time and what was best practice two years ago may be something to avoid these days. If you have a software product with lots of features, it may take a while to implement new best practices.

The highlighted feature this week is the introduction of smiley and frowny faces in our automated emails to communicate to the team whether a developer’s changes improved or worsened the code in terms of our current best practices list. The exciting part is that it is raising awareness and making our code better every day which, although not visible in a feature demonstration, will make customers’ worlds better, nonetheless.

A smiley face and a not that all uses of session state should be reviewed since IIS can reset it on a whim.

A smiley face helps encourage developers to make progress toward best practices.