CodeChef turns se7en

4 min read

Today is the day when it all began – the day when the cerebration of creating a truly global programming platform, while amending the programming scenario in India, transitioned from our minds to the canvas. And CodeChef was born.

Seven years, thirteen hundred contests, and over nine million submissions later, here we are with you all by our side, standing tall as ever. It has been one joyful ride to say the least. The transition from infancy towards adolescence has taught us some hard lessons and given us a plethora of moments to cheer. And to give credit where it is due, let us start by thanking those who made this happen.

  • First and foremost, it is you, who constitute the heart and soul of our community. None of this would have been possible without you. You have been there with us through the thick and thin of it. Always.

  • The conscientious SPOJ team for its constant support through their unwavering and loyal Judge. You’re the engines powering our McLaren.

  • Our amazing Chefs – the problem setters, editorialists, testers, the translators, and the omnipresent contest admin. They define what we are.

  • The support team and staff at Directi, for ensuring that CodeChef is up and running 24×7. They are the people whom no one sees or knows but they keep working behind the scenes to help us run the platform.

  • All our beloved team members, interns, former and current, who worked hard and are consistently working (when not on the foosball table) to take CodeChef to newer heights.

Every single individual above has contributed immensely towards the development of the CodeChef platform and community.

Now that we have thanked all the people involved to take us where we stand today, it is only imperative for us to show you our report card. The effort put in by everyone associated with CodeChef certainly isn’t quantifiable. If anything, it’s an indication of how far we have come from where we were when we started. And it does make us happy today. We hope you like them too.

* All the data mentioned above is from March 2011 – February 2016

If there’s one word to describe our past year, it would be turbulent. We saw some amazing highs and we have been through some crushing lows. And as we embark upon another year, let us take you through some of the highlights of the year gone by. Do share your favorite moment of this year with us.

To start with what pegged us down, it has traditionally been the shorter format of the game. We have been found wanting in handling the load at the start. And this year too has not gone without those hiccups. The load is an indication of your growing love and we were extremely disappointed in not being able to do justice to it on multiple occasions be it the August Cook-Off, Amritapuri Online Round, or the Hindustan University Online Round. We have made plenty of improvements to give you a much better experience at these short contests, and only when we thought that things have improved we were fooled once again in our last CookOff. Are we doing anything about it? Certainly we are. Do read about it here.

With the goof-ups behind us, let the happy times roll in and let us brag about some good things too. What may seem to be contrary to popular belief, most of our engineering team’s time this year went into performance improvements. We hope you will see and experience the benefits soon. However, there are also some other moments/feats/features that we have achieved in past one year, that bring smiles to us.

  • We brought back our annual onsite event SnackDown after a hiatus of 5 years. With participation of over 8K teams from across the globe in the SnackDown 2015, this was clearly our biggest event of last few years! We only hope that this continues to be a more regular annual event from now on.

  • For our little friends in schools, we introduced the beginner category in our practice section.

  • We added a tad more security to our kitchen as we moved to “https://” from “http://”.

  • Coming to the performance fixes, we changed our caching layer and contest page loading logic.

  • To add a pinch of excitement to our contests, we introduced the feature to freeze rank list, hide time and memory of submissions in a running contest.

  • Our online IDE “CODE, COMPILE & RUN” became more flexible with the introduction of multiple tabs and code saving features. What was even more exciting was to make submissions to problems through it!

  • Our comment page got a facelift, becoming even more interactive and secure.

  • We feel great about the fact that we could be of help in hosting the ACM ICPC Amritapuri Regionals onsite round, when things went bad. It was a moment of huge test for us to be able to make sure that nothing gets goofed up in transitioning a running contest, something that we had never done before. We are happy that we were able to do it as we have been ourselves been a victim of load failures many times in the past. This undoubtedly tops our list of feats we are/was/were/will be proud of.

  • We ended up hosting all the rounds (including online and onsite) of all there ACM ICPC 2015 – 2016 India regionals. This was the first time we hosted an onsite round for any ICPC regionals.

  • And finally, the effort that we have been putting in with CodeChef for Schools. Now into its second year, the initiative has seen a slow start but it has started finding firm steps amidst the programming fraternity. We have seen a constantly increasing presence of school students not only in our monthly contests but also across all other programming contests/workshops in the country, which is an indication of brighter things to come in the future. We also have many schools, colleges, students, professors and professionals  from around the country joining hands with us in promoting programming among the schools.

Most of these features and changes, which we introduced in the past year, were all result of your feedback and suggestions from our community members and we will continue to follow the process. Keep sending your requests and choke our pipelines – it keeps us busy and helps us make the platform more suited to your needs.

And now, it is gifting time. Yes, what is a birthday without some giveaways? So, here a small gift that we hope you will like. There is a lot more exciting stuff that has been keeping our Chefs up till late nights and you can expect them soon. Very soon.

There is a new  “Laddu Accrual System”. Yes, it’s as sweet as it sounds. We are sure this will bring a lot of smiles to the community. We are aslo running a small contest on our facebook stream. The first one to find out the correct URL for our newly launched Laddu Accrual System, gets 300 laddus. So, what are you waiting for? Let the website scrapping begin?

Now, while we take a dip in the pool of accolades accumulated in the past one year and use the critiques towards enhancing the platform, you go search your closets for your party hats and bugles. Because no matter how clichéd it sounds, there can never be a party without you.

That will be all from us for our 7th anniversary blog. It has been quite a ride with you all, and we hope to have many many more. With that it’s time now to start the celebrations of our 7th anniversary and we hope to find you all by our side.

In anticipation of yet another exciting year ahead, let’s set the ball rolling.

Team CodeChef

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