Long time no see! First, I’d like to wish you an excellent year on behalf of the whole CodinGame team (never seen our faces?). Whether you’ve just joined us or you’ve been a true CodinGamer for a long time, here’s a brief recap of everything that happened in 2017.
And now, I can hear you:
“Oh no, not another 2017 recap.”
Bear with me, I promise it won’t be boring.
The Ranking that Shook the World
Oh, my. What a buzz! I published Which Students Are Really the Best Developers in the World the 9th of January. On the 10th, the article was all over the French news (because the school “42” was at the top). Well, not all of it. The ranking, yes; but the part where we recognized there was unavoidable bias in the results? Nope. It’s funny how people argue, quite violently sometimes, over this kind of data. And it continued for months!
I can’t wait to see what kind of reactions the next ranking will generate…
The Beginning of the New Start
After few months of keeping secrets, we finally revealed what we were working on: a new “branch” of CodinGame dedicated to learning.
It became Tech.io
The goal was to add open-source tutorials and blog articles with runnable code to the platform. The whole thing is based on a Docker architecture, which enables us to run code from any language quite easily. By the way, the current CodinGame site doesn’t work on the same architecture. If it did, adding new languages to the platform or updating the current ones would be much easier and quicker. More on that later.
True Programmers Never Stop Learning
The Legend among the Legends
Probably went unnoticed (and for a reason), but I ranked Legend for the first time in a contest. I used my uncontested poor Java skills to reach the 57th place during Ghost in the Cell. If anything, that proves anyone can achieve it. So have a little faith in the force.
Finding the Right Heuristics to Win
The Unforgettable Contest
In early May, we held the contest Code4Life, inspired by the board game Splendor, and sponsored by Roche. I personally liked the fact that this game wasn’t just a coding game, and that it was related to a good cause. By playing it, I was kind of promoting the work on health care.
To your utter disappointment (and mine), we didn’t release the challenge in public on the platform. Yet. Chapel thanks you for the likes.
Roche has been using the game for internal events until the end of December. I’d love to announce a date when the game will be released but I can’t.
Now, cheer up; as I’m writing this article, we’re discussing with Roche about it. I also heard about the possibility of a Code4Life reboot this year — with a brand new game, obviously…
That would be cool, right?
The Next Big Thing
In July, we launched Tech.io in open beta as the new knowledge-sharing platform for developers. A lot has changed since the first open version. Back then, there was no page to explore the “playgrounds” (that’s what we call an article on Tech.io), no GitHub integration, no tags, no comments… In the next months, more than 250 playgrounds were created and published on a lot of different topics. If I’m not mistaken, the playground that has been the most praised by the CodinGame community was the playground about Genetic Algorithms by Sablier (Congrats to you!).
Now you might be wondering what’s next. We’ve somewhat paused the developments of features because we believe that the most important parts are there. We hope that this year, more and more developers will be willing to share what they know with others. Meanwhile, we’re stabilizing the platform and making progress on other projects that are part of the whole CodinGame adventure. Don’t worry, I will be writing an article just about that very soon!
CodinGame and Tech.io: Past, Present, and Future
The Fantastic Four and Mean Max
Also in July, as most of you probably know, we started working on the first contest crafted by the community in the history of CodinGame. Created by Agade, Magus, reCurse and pb4, MeanMax finally happened in mid-November. It was a big success, and despite my original fears (hey, I’m not a fan of games involving physics), I think the game was truly great. July to November — I’ll let you do the math; it took a while and it’s normal.
We now want to have more community contests, so we launched 4 teams in early December to work on the next four contests. We’ve also made good progress on building up tools to create a game more easily, which helped the new creators a lot. I’ll soon present what we call the “contest toolkit.” We’re targeting the beginning of March for the first one; I’ll keep you updated.
A Dive Into the New Era of CodinGame Contests
The Challenge of Designing a Game for a Whole Community
The Language of the Year
After Google announced adding Kotlin as an official programming language for Android development back in May, we decided we had to step in. A few months later, we had added Kotlin to the platform. The announcement surely made as much noise as Google’s did, as Kotlin was the most expected language on CodinGame.
If you want to learn it, I can only recommend checking the Kotlin playgrounds on Tech.io. It’s actually the language I’m intending to learn this year.
We also did two major rounds of updates of the languages: one in January and one in November. I wish we could update languages more often, but it’s not that easy.
In short, everything needed to run the code –compilers, interpreters, Linux environment– is packaged in a big blob. Individually updating these tools means you have to package the whole blob again. Each time we want to update the version of a language, we need to be very careful of possible compatibility issues with other languages or tools. Supporting a new language also means increasing the size and the complexity of this blob. We’ll see how the Tech.io technology could benefit the CodinGame platform.
I’m aware of some issues affecting languages using the JVM. They seem to be linked to the update of servers (which happened in December) and not to the update of languages. We’re currently working on it.
. . .
In December, I sent some of you a short survey about this very blog. Thank you to those who have participated; it’s very much appreciated! If you haven’t, well, you can do it now; I’ll check the new results! The bottom line is that I’m very happy to be writing here for one more year and I’ll try my best to publish stories worth reading. If I fail to deliver, don’t hesitate to call me out.
Once again, have a great year and have fun programming!
About the Author:
Fond of challenges and board games fan, I like to solve people’s problems. CodinGame Community Manager since July 2016, I still code a bit in Java.