Congratulations to Joe Bauser on winning the OpenStack obfuscated code competition!
First place: Joe Bauser (code)
Runner-up: Anthony Castle (code)
As many of you know, we held a contest along with our friends at Rackspace last week for the second birthday of OpenStack. The goal: to give away a MacBook Pro 15” with retina display to the person who can deploy an app on AppFog that does nothing but display the words “Happy Birthday OpenStack” but do so using the most obfuscated code possible.
Our reaction to the entries ranged from mightily impressed to absolutely astonished. The contest unleashed an absolute torrent of creativity. We knew the hackers out there were smart, but dang. Kudos to all of you on your hard work.
This weekend, AppFog CTO John Purrier, noted Linux hacker Brandon Philips, and self-proclaimed anarcho-geek Rabble put their heads together and decided that Joe Bauser (aka Coder Joe) is the rightful champion and winner of the new MacBook Pro. We think they chose very wisely. The app is here (no surprises as to the displayed content), and you can see the code for yourself here.
Joe chose to use Sinatra, a lightweight Ruby web development framework. What’s amazing is that Sinatra doesn’t make it all that easy to write obfuscated code. A while back, I wrote a post on Sinatra in which I showed that I was able to put together a simple yet functional app in 18 lines of code in a single Ruby file. But what Joe has done is both aesthetically sleek (which is quite a feat in itself) and maddeningly obfuscated. Notice the extensive use of base 16, a Swiss Army Knife of Ruby array methods, and an almost preternatural knack for ASCII art.
Really impressive stuff.
The judges decided that the runner-up prize (an iPad 3 with retina display) should go to the entry that simply made them laugh the most. This prize will go to Anthony Castle (aka @MachineEpsilon). Again, great choice by the judges.
Anthony wrote his hilarious entry in PHP and sprinkled in variables like
$john_purrier_rocks (which is true), and a few others that are fairly NSFW. But beyond being funny, Anthony made some very intelligent use of array maps and ASCII art. He was even kind enough to comment extensively on his code, with comments like “PHP gives me real ultimate power!” We can neither confirm nor disconfirm this claim, but PHP has indeed given Mr. Castle a new iPad, and that’s not too shabby at all.
To both winners and to all of those who submitted such impressive entries, we (AppFog, Rackspace and OpenStack) say thank you. Honestly, we ended up learning a lot about coding during the contest (if occasionally by way of negative example).
We encourage all of you to keep your apps online and show your friends the code. We guarantee they’ll be impressed, too.