The International Obfuscated Clojure Coding Contest

December 29, 2014 at 11:31 am | Posted in Clojure, Programming | 3 Comments

While some people may argue that Clojure is already obfuscated by default, I think it is about time to organise an official International Obfuscated Clojure Coding Contest similar to the IOCCC. This idea was born out of my own attempts to fit my Clojure experiments in one single tweet, that is 140 characters.

Winning IOCCC entry: flight simulator

The plan

First get some feed back from the Clojure community on this idea. You are invited to share your thoughts as comments to this blogpost. I will also twitter about this idea. If this particular tweet will get 100+ retweets, I will go ahead with the next step in the plan, which is establishing the rules for this contest.

These rules are also open to discussion. At the moment I’m considering for example a category ‘Code fits in a single tweet’ and another one like ‘Code size is limited to 1024 characters’.

After these preliminary steps I will set up a website, find a jury to judge the submissions and will continue from there.


Since Clojure is such a powerful language, there are also plenty opportunities to make the code more challenging to read. Mike Anderson already created a GitHub project called clojure-golf with some tricks.

You are also invited to violate the first rule of the macro club: Don’t write macros. And obviously the second rule (write macros if that is the only way to encapsulate a pattern) should be ignored as well.

Also extending datatypes in unexpected ways is alway a good idea. See for example my answer to this StackOverflow question about ‘an idiomatic clojure way to repeat a string n times‘.

Generating code on the fly is of course a breeze in a ‘code-as-data’ language like Clojure.


So if you think you can create a fully functional chess engine in 1024 characters, a Java interpreter in a single tweet or managed to make the Clojure REPL self-conscious with your obfuscated code, leave a comment. Also if you have suggestions for rules, want to help with setting up a website, want to be a judge or want to help in another way, I would love to hear from you.

And most importantly: have fun!

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