JavaScript competition js1k returns

Tiny JavaScript app competition js1k has returned, and this time the theme is love. Entrants have until 1 March to submit their demos, and can win a number of prizes, including ThinkGeek credit and cold, hard cash.

Site owner Peter van der Zee told .net that while js1k started as a joke response to the An Event Apart 10k competition, it soon snowballed: "I ended up with over 700 submissions". In part, this was down to frustrations with the 10k competition, said van der Zee: "It allowed external resources such as jQuery. While it wasn't the objective of aea10k to focus on 'golfing' like js1k does, the 10k part of the competition still felt wrong."

Having been disappointed with the most recent js1k outing, van der Zee decided on a simple theme for this year's competition: "Last time, we used an obscure old game, The Oregon Trail, but the latest theme is straightforward: love. Some say it's inspired by me getting married last year, but I just wanted something simple that people could easily catch on to." Additionally, netting some prizes and updating the website has boosted the competition's appeal.

We asked van der Zee about the broader concept surrounding competitions such as js1k, and whether modern coders place too little emphasis on efficiency and trying to do a lot with a little: "Yes, undoubtedly. With the surplus of CPU power and memory, the emphasis on proper coding habits and big frameworks is huge. Of course, that means a lot of overhead as well, not just in JavaScript, but in pretty much any language. I love code golfing and competitions like js1k and 140bytes are great opportunities to do these exercises without having to worry about 'correctness'."

Jed Schmidt, one of the js1k judges and founder of 140bytes, told us he had a slightly different take: "A lot of really small code is actually less efficient, because there's no room to cache results or perform similar speed-enhancing tricks. Small code doesn't necessarily mean efficient code!" However, he added that competitions like js1k are nonetheless a "good opportunity for programmers to learn about the language of JavaScript," and he noted how his own code-golfing contest had resulted in a compendium of byte-saving hacks.

Find out more about js1k on the website and follow the competition on Twitter.

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