I'm a software developer from NYC. I first saw the challenge posted when I was at the TechCrunch hackathon. I had previously been working on some code that use the Mozilla AST format to do model generation for a DBO project. I was having a lot of fun messing with the AST and code generation, so this challenge seemed right up my alley.
The contest had already been running for a while when I found it, but I got caught up quickly. I wrote the bulk of the code in a giant twenty four hour chunk of coding fury and presented it on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt. It got a lot of applause from the programmers in the audience, but didn't seem to impress the more business/product-minded judges. In the morning the parser was running Lua code, but there was still a lot of work ahead catching corner cases and integrating with Aether. I spent he next two weeks trying to get more and more samples of other peoples code running, as well as hanging out with the other awesome contestants in the CC chatroom. It was really awesome how the other contestants helped each other with their integration and really a great experience.
I'm a software developer at Adobe by day, and work on my own projects by night. I have a huge drive to learn more about all things programming, because creating valuable stuff from thin air makes me feel like -- well, like an archmage. I also wanted to learn Clojure. The CodeCombat challenge was a perfect fit to satisfy my curiosity!
Initially I wasn't serious about participating. The idea was to give myself a reason to learn Clojure. So I went through a lot of tutorials and books, familiarizing myself with the fundamentals and idioms of the language. It started becoming more and more fun as I got my hands dirty with other cool stuff -- compilers, functional programming, TDD, CoffeeScript -- and suddenly I realized, I had a real shot at making this work. After that, the idea that thousands of young programmers would be able to learn Clojure and functional programming by playing on CodeCombat was more than enough to keep me going. One huge advantage of participating was that I quickly got to know tons of extremely useful Clojure functions and data structure subtleties that I otherwise would've known only with a few years of experience with it. Altogether this was hands down the most fun I've had with a side project!
I'm a SF-based software engineer. I had filed CodeCombat away as a cool project to contribute to, and when I got back to it the parser challenge had just started. I enjoy researching programming languages, so it was a perfect fit.
I'm a second-year Computer Science student at the National University of Singapore. Since starting school I've had a deep fascination with programming languages, and this challenge felt like a great opportunity to teach myself more about the area.
It was great fun. I've always found writing parsers and compilers to be a mental workout, much like solving a puzzle, and writing this was no different. In the process I learned a lot about Io, the node.js ecosystem, and parsers in general.
That said, the project was not easy: there were moments of self-doubt, and times where I was stumped as to how to move forward. It was, however, immensely gratifying to see the parser take shape, and that made it worthwhile.
Thanks to all everyone who took a crack at the challenge! We'll be hard at work documenting and polishing the new languages. Until they're shiny, you can find them in the editor config menu from the playback settings cog while playing:
... Wait, how do you run Python/Lua/Clojure/Io in the browser?
(If that doesn't make any sense, but you're still curious, don't worry: we'll do a longer post on this soon.)
More languages coming! Tell us what you want to see, or even take a crack at a parser yourself.