Achievements 7.x-1.3 released

The Achievements module offers the ability to create achievements and badges similar to systems seen on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Foursquare, Gowalla, GetGlue, and more. For a Drupal site, this could mean commenting a certain number of times, starting a forum topic, visiting the site every day of the week, or anything else that can be tracked and coded.

Here's what's new in version 7.x-1.3, released today.

Relative leaderboards and latest achievements

The biggest changes in 7.x-1.3 happened to the leaderboards. You can now provide an (optional) "relative leaderboard" which will show a logged-in user their current rank as well as (optionally) a number of ranks before and after their position. For folks who like achievements or mapping their rise to greatness, this will give them a little something more to strive for, a continual heartbeat of their movement through the site-wide rankings. It can also encourage rivalries as users flip-flop back and forth in their point gains and positions. Some users won't give a crap at all, certainly, but for those that do, relative leaderboards can increase a site's stickiness.

Another addition to the leaderboard is "latest achievement" which is exactly as it sounds: it'll show the latest unlock a user has earned. This is important because it increases discoverability of your site's achievements. In previous versions of the module, the only mention of individual achievements was located on a tab in the user's profile -- not exactly the easiest place to find. By including recent achievements on the leaderboard, we're increasing awareness of what you're offering, as well as providing subtle and potential todos for your users and curious visitors.

Hooks for developers

Besides the required hook_achievements_info(), I didn't add any other achievement hooks in the earlier releases because I didn't trust I had a firm grasp of how Achievements module would "end up" based upon my initial roadmap. With said roadmap nearly complete, the latest release of Achievements now includes some additional hooks for more integration. As is best practice, I'm starting off "small and obvious", but will add more as needs arise. hook_achievements_info_alter(), hook_achievements_unlocked(), and hook_achievements_locked() all do what they sound like and are further documented in achievements.api.php.

Small footprint

At its heart, Achievements is a monitoring and statistical module: it listens for events, logs statistics, and does analysis on incoming data. When you have hundreds of achievements, all this intervention could slow your site down. Thankfully, the module has been designed under the oppressive gaze of better performance experts than I and has Examiner.com, one of the largest Drupal 7 sites, as an in-progress client. The new release of Achievements has yet another performance improvement that ensures heavy traffic sustainability, and the new features above cost just one additional database query (per page, but only if you're using the block with relative leaderboards enabled). Future releases of Achievements will continue this dedication to a svelte codebase.

Take a look, bub

You can read about the full feature-set at the Achievements module project page which also includes screenshots of the default interface. Don't hesitate to contact me or create an issue with your pie-in-the-sky feature requests and questions.

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