What do you think?

If yes - where would/did you? If no - why not?

Did anyone ever get in trouble for that?

Where do you think lies the line between a funny/insightful easter egg and embarrassing yourself in front of your boss/clients/open source community?

+4  A: 

I think it depends on the application. I wouldn't be very impressed finding an easter egg on my banking website! lol

+2  A: 

It would all depend really on what the application was being used for, who it was for or what kind of work was done. You don't want to spend a lot of time adding in an Easter Egg on a application if its pass dead line, or if its really buggy. It would just make your employer think you spent time on something unneeded when you should had been working on the main program.

If its something that is within the context of the project, done quickly and isn't anything vulgar its probably not going to make or break ya.

+5  A: 

For real world production applications, it's not a good idea - for perception reasons alone. It's seen as unneeded, so the time (read: money) to create it is waste. Also, who knows what kind of problems something "innocuous" might introduce? Cool "cries for credit" like the famous easter egg from "Adventure" on the Atari 2600 just won't fly for the professional programmer.

On the other hand, if it's some shareware app or something else you control, it might be fun. I doubt you'd get far trying to submit an easter egg patch to most open source projects, tho'...

+7  A: 

I say yes, you should put Easter Eggs in applications, it makes your users passionate about the application, also it's just plain fun to code up little things that you and select few know about.

I would code up Easter Eggs in apps that have user interaction in a fairly low risk environment. For example registration system, probably not, same with a payment system. But tagging a question in a programmers Q&A site, probably.

+2  A: 

If the Easter Egg is harmless, sure. I have yet to meet a user that did not like finding eggs.

I'd bury it in some obscure key-stroke combination. Something only an accident would uncover. They you'd get the call from a user swearing they saw a picture of your dog pop up. You'd tell her, "You crazy", and deny it, of course. Taking pleasure in knowing she'll spend the next hour or so trying to remember the right key strokes. To prove you wrong. ;)

Stephen Cox

I dont really think this has a place in the general user community. Sure they are fun for us "nerds" that can appreciate them, but most people will see it as unneeded and wasteful, so only in apps directed to those of us that can appreciate it do they have a place.

Adam Lerman
+19  A: 

Depending on your audience, I think Easter Eggs are a good idea.

They keep your users engaged, leave a memorable impression (if it's a good one), and hopefully keep users coming back.

  • You must have the right audience.
  • You must only add Easter Eggs when you're convinced you have a quality product. In other words, if your Easter Eggs are better than your product, that could be a problem.
  • Your Easter Eggs should be worth while. Nobody cares to see a scrolling list of credits. If you want credits, make it into a game.

I think it was the old MacOS that had a bricks-style game Easter Egg where you would hit the ball against the programmers' names. I played it all the time.

Don't just take my work for it - see what Jamie Zawinski has to say about Easter Eggs.

+17  A: 

At Microsoft, putting in Easter Eggs is now a fireable offense. Make of that what you will.

(So no more pinball in Word, or a 3D world in Excel. I am a sad panda.)

This greatly makes me sad, think of how happy the users were when they first found a flight simulator in their favourite spreadsheet app.
+2  A: 

I'm not sure if it's truly an Easter Egg, but at my last company, we had an error page with a gigantic person screaming at you. Alas, the owner called in the first time he got an error. It was brought down within the hour.

Brian Childress
+1  A: 

I think Stack Overflow has at least one:

Using this website may cause irreversible damage to the kidneys and liver.

I don't think that qualifies as an easter egg, as it's not really hidden.
Taken down by a copyright claim from Viacom... what video did the link point to?
+1  A: 

I think it depends on your product. If it is a commercial product and you are going to "waste time" on implementing an Easter Egg, you better be damned sure it is (relatively) bug free otherwise your customers will come knocking on your door asking why you are wasting time on creating Easter Eggs when they should be testing/fixing bugs.

+1  A: 

It is a waste of the development budget. We don't do that, right ?

So say No to Easter eggs.

The first time someone finds a bug, they will think of that easter egg, and that you could have fixed the bug instead.

Same goes for eye candy!

Tim Williscroft
I agree with you, even though I like the idea... =) Again, it comes down to "It depends".
+29  A: 

It's only an easter egg for true geeks, but I used this value as an encryption seed:

 long encrypt_seed[]={1263681869,1381122376,1313821513};

Hexdumping the executable shows:

00000130 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
00000140 00 00 00 00 4d 41 52 4b 48 41 52 52 49 53 4f 4e ....MARKHARRISON
00000150 01 00 00 00 0f 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 78 00 ..............x.

Since it's the file encryption seed, nobody can ever change it without destroying the program's ability to decrypt old files!

Mark Harrison
Reminds me of 'MZ' in the Dos header file :-)
Luke Quinane
Very nice. You might want to also post this over to Good show.
hehe that's cool
hasen j
+4  A: 

It all depends on the nature of the application, and the nature of the easter egg. In general my view is that they are not worth it.

If it's your own application you have more latitude, but when you are writing an application for your employer I'd be very careful about doing so - simply because you might not be employed by them anymore.

Garthmeister J.
+2  A: 

Not in commerical software. You may think your clever Easter egg is solid and will cause no problems for any user, ever, but there is always the chance that it could. If a problem does occur, such as a crash of the application, it will start making your user base angry, knowing that their frustrations are due to something you thought was cool. Google for "garciaui.dll" and see why people were not happy because their problem might have been due to someone placing a hidden image of Jerry Garcia in the software UI. If you're going to end up removing it later, and most people never see it, then why do it in the first place?

+2  A: 

The only easter egg I slipped into a program was a random connection string. When our product connected to the server, it printed a bunch of debug statements, most of which were redundant or pointless. I trimmed out all of those that I could, but ran into one string that was both redundant and pointless, but I couldn't remove it because of how the architecture worked.

So instead of leaving such a pointless debug message, I wrote a function that returned a random sentence. There were 3 columns of words to choose from: verb, adjective, noun, all filled with technical sounding words. So when our product connected and you had expanded the "details" view to see what it was doing, you'd see a line in there with random gibberish like "Enabling advanced algorithms", "Searching for obstructed scanners", and "Shifting exhausting transients".

The lead tester noticed it and threatened to make me take it out, but she ended up letting it slide for some reason. Must have been in a good mood that day.

You guys have testers that are in a good mood?!?
+1  A: 


If you want to write something cool, write it, and release it separately, rather than wasting time and making the codebase unnecessarily (and confusingly) bloated.

+2  A: 

It depends.

Kevin Pang
+9  A: 

No. It's simply unprofessional behaviour.

Greg Whitfield
Not that I'm bothered, but, really, what is the point in downmarking my answer?
Greg Whitfield
I guess people simply disagree to you point of view. I didn't downvote you, though ;)
Ola Eldøy
Thanks Ola :) I don't have any issue with people disagreeing, but when your reputation is supposed to relate to your technical ability, voting on opinions makes little sense.
Greg Whitfield
greg, go take your self-righteousness else where
If you think voting on opinions makes little sense, why are you complaining about downvotes but not about the upvotes you've also received?
True enough - same applies. I guess that's what the Community Wiki option would be for, but that's not my choice to make I don't think.
Greg Whitfield
Ah - oh yes it is. I've set my response to community wiki so I neither benefit nor suffer. But I think the question should be too?
Greg Whitfield
Yes. I agree with the question should be community wiki.
In some industries Greg's point is well taken. In others, it's debatable. In a video game, an Easter egg may be enjoyed more than an easter egg that may lead your financial-application's customers to believe you might have hidden back doors in their mission critical financial application.
Warren P
+5  A: 

Whenever I create a HTML table for layout purposes, I fill the summary with

<table summary="Please forgive me...">
Sadly this will confuse your visitors who use screen readers.
Its a good thing he's asking for forgiveness and not permission. /slap self for terrible joke.
+1  A: 

I think small ones are usually ok, and by small I mean 5 minutes or less. Python has "From future import braces," which is nothing more than a specialized exception, and "import antigravity" which is just a call out to a website.

It's most famous, thought, is "import this" , which publishes the entire text of Tim Peters' "The Zen of Python." With Python's "batteries included" philosophy, having a copy of our erstwhile constitution at hand at all times gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Under no circumstances, however, should you ever have an Easter egg that would be embarrassing if it was triggered during a demo.

J.T. Hurley
+1  A: 

Yes, fun and creativity is good for the brain. It's also a good way to check if your workplace has lost it's soul.

There are caveats though. If you're making software for a client who has no sense of humor and will flip out then probably not. Also, if it breaks something or is distasteful to some audiences then it's a no-go as well.

I added JavaScript snow to our company's external ecommerce site and internal intranet app for Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Daniel X Moore
+1  A: 

I don't think it makes sense in most applications, as it just increases the amount of code for no good reason. Why add more code to your application that needs to be tested and possibly debugged just to give 1% of your users a chuckle?

It only makes sense in games, where an "Easter Egg" can be part of the intended functionality, and only appear to be hidden.

Shane Fulmer
+1  A: 

I once wrote a Web forum application for the Intranet of a large bank in South Africa. Inspired by the IE4 about box Easter egg, I created a little about box for my application, which you could only trigger by selecting and dragging a specific character "2" onto a logo for the application on the same about box. Effectively it was just a simple animation that would list all the developers’ names on the team. The fun part was hiding it into the code so that testers and general code reading would not make it obvious.

It was loads of fun, never hurt anyone, and was appreciated by everyone that found it. As I recall, that was the best team I ever worked in. We definitely had SOAL.

I think getting your creative juices working from time to time actually helps you create better software, and improves general moral. The time taken to create something like that is paid back 10 fold because employees felt more creative, they probably learnt something useful during development of their Egg, and it makes everyone smile.

Doing what you do for 8 hours a day must be fun, otherwise you'll end up hating your life.


I added one to an app where there was an IP whitelisting page to restrict certain types of access to the app to certain machines on the network (yes, the clients were a bit paranoid).

Naturally, I set it up with IPs to some of the machines they already needed access from. If all addresses get deleted (unwise as then no "normal" users would be able to get any work done) it quotes the theme tune from Blankety Blank, followed by the warning that they really ought to whitelist some IPs from the list of possibles if they want anyone but themselves (admin users) to get onto the system. Silly really.

I'm not sure they've ever seen it!