Sunday, July 09, 2006


IE Trident Easter Eggs

I created the Trident easter eggs in IE 4 and IE5.

The IE 4 one is a sinusoidal animation of the names of the people who worked on Trident. I used the letter spacing property to perform the animation, and when the names collapse, I replace the name with the next name. I think it is a pretty cool effect. If you click once on the "<TRIDENT>" tags and the center name, I made my name display instead of cycling through the other names. An Easter egg in side an Easter egg :-)

The IE 5 one (fixed) is a gravitational simulation where the names of the people who worked on the product are the gravity wells and a collection of colored dots orbit the names. I had to play around with how much friction to simulate, as early on, the dots tended to fly away to infinity! Again, I hid my own Easter egg in side the Easter egg. In the top left part of the window are some NBSP's where the cursor will turn from an arrow to a caret. Clicking on this will cause only my name to appear.

After IE 5.0, the pointy haired managers at Microsoft decided that Easter eggs comprised a security thread (or at least they thought corporate customers had this thought) and eggs were removed from the product. Turds.

Speaking of Easter eggs. The project that turned into Trident, called Forms^3 (Forms cubed) also has an Easter egg in which you can find my name. This one was created by Terry Lucas. Forms^3 is a forms editing and runtime package which exists in the Microsoft Office products. It exists in Excel 2002, but I'm not sure if it is in later versions. Perhaps someone can check them out.

You get to the Forms^3 Easter egg by starting the Visual Basic for Applications tool.

  1. From the "Tools" menu, click on the "Macro" sub menu and then on the "Visual Basic Editor" item. This is usually bound to "Alt-F11".
  2. Then, in the editor, click on the "Insert" menu and insert a new "UserForm". This brings up a canvas onto which you can drop controls.
  3. Create a list box by dragging the listbox icon from the toolbar onto the canvas.
  4. Then, modify the "RowSource" property of the list box to have the value "Alchemy_Forms^3". The list box will now be populated with the first names of all the people on the Forms^3 team.
  5. You can then set the "ColumnCount" to be 3 to see the last names and the role each individual had on the team: dev, test, etc. You may need to make the list box larger to show this additional information.
  6. You can activate the control by clicking on it at which point you will be able to scroll through all the names.
This Easter egg uses some of the data binding technology Terry was working on at the time.

Sorry mate, I just tried and the easter egg is NOT in Excel 2003.
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