Mike Onslow

Code In The Dark 2019

Posted by Mike on in Tech.

Code In The Dark 2019 -

Last week my colleague Jack and I took part in “Code In The Dark” as part of the Leeds Digital Festival. This meant a couple of days off work and little jaunt up the A1 (M) to Yorkshire, completely unsure of what to expect.

The concept of CitD, is that you get a flat image of a website and are given 15 minutes to re-create it, the catch being that you are coding blind, unable to check your progress. The winner is the contestant who the judges consider to have got as close to the real design as possible.

There are monitors showing your code and your work progress to the watching audience of around 300, all heavily intoxicated and shouting obscenities at you. Along with the pumping electro trance music and flickering laser disco lights, the whole idea is to make it an overly intense and difficult environment in which to code, a million miles from the usual working environment.

There are 25 developers taking part, split 5 heats of 5 with one winner from each heat progressing to the final.

Somehow, I managed to win my heat, after having to recreate the Deadpool Core website. My attempt, which was judged as the best by the three judges is below, with the real site below:


The final, however, was a different kettle of fish. This time we were allowed to look at what we were doing and even to use Google, but rather than a website design, this time it was more of a complex javascript maths problem – something well outside my comfort zone.

Rather than even attempting this one, I found myself pretending to book holidays to the Caribbean for the judges in a vain attempt to secure some backing, browsing YouTube for the funniest videos of cats and making it look like I was doing some sick coding using hackertyper.net.

Alas, it was not to be for me and I finished in what I’d like to say was join-fourth, with Jack achieving a far more respectable third place after also winning his heat.

Some would say that we were mad to drive three and a half hours across the country to take part in a random dev event out the back of a hipster bar in Leeds, and that may be true, but taking part in the Code In The Dark was great fun. There’s no doubting that it was the most intense environment in which I’ve ever built a website, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will definitely be returning next year, with the aim of going one step further!

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