Give your project a voice

We are all very into Extreme Feedback Devices (XFD), so we decided to use all our senses to gather feedback from our projects. This becomes a real challenge once you think about it, because we are naturally very focused on (and limited to) visual feedback.

So we decided to put audible feedback to work.

All our projects get continuously built by two servers in parallel. The first server checks for compilation and test errors, just like a good CI server should. The second server applies every quality metric we found helpful to the code and spits out huge amounts of numbers for every single build.

We identified the numbers that really matter to us and established a simple mechanism to scrape them from the result web pages. Then we associated a sound sample with all possible changes and plugged some speakers to our feedback server.

So now, expect our projects to clearly articulate their news.

To give you an idea of how it sounds, here’s a short list of possible audio samples:

  • Fixed an important bug: “Impressive”
  • Reduced code crap: “Excellent”
  • Introduced a bug: “Humiliation”

Imagine the words spoken like in an old Quake game. Now you can have an eventful build and be yelled at like “Impressive Excellent Humiliation”.

We reserved the biggest coding failure we can imagine happening here to a special audio sample. If somebody introduces new code crap (as determined by Crap4J), he gets ordered to “CUT THE CRAP!” at incredible volume. We used the voice of the inventor of XFDs, Alberto Savoia, taken from his delightful training video for management by numbers (position 2:03ff). The audio quality isn’t convincing, his command surely is.

If you wonder what it’s like to be suddenly interrupted by different voices rebuking or praising you – it’s healthy. You get used to it very quickly, yet the information always catches on. And the information is always relevant.

We call it our “audible remorse”.

Read more about our Extreme Feedback Devices: