Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Code in the Dark Turku

What happens when you put 20 developers behind computers, give them nothing but an editor and a reference screenshot? Together with Valohai and Hub Turku and supported by Reaktor we organized the first Code in the Dark event in Turku last night and it was a blast.

Code in the Dark is an event where developers team up to replicate a given website in 15 minutes using nothing but the editor. You are not allowed to preview what you’re building, you are not allowed to look for docs — nothing. Just type code, have fun and do your best.

We had 7 teams of 1–3 people varying from high school students and university CS students to experienced front end developers and designers. The beauty of the Code in the Dark format is that you are not going to succeed no matter how good you are. So it’s fun regardless and small mistakes turn into really funny broken websites in the end.

In the round 1 teams had to replicate an iconic view of the Internet: the Google home page. As some teams didn’t realize that the image assets were provided for the page, we saw some minimalistic black-and-white versions as well as CSS styled letter-by-letter colored Google logos.

After each round all the participants: teams and spectators get to vote for the best solution and the first round proved to be super tight. Joni & Juho from Taiste and Kari, Eero & Viktor from Vaadin tied for the first place. As each team gets to justify their design choices, we started seeing bantering between the teams about small details they got correct while others missed.

For the second round the stakes were raised. Teams had to create the front page of Hub Turku — a co-working and makerspace where the event was held. This time we learned that mixing up padding and margin can make a huge difference in how the website looks like. Teams’ solutions also varied heavily on the size and usage of the image provided: some went full-on and filled the screen with the beautiful picture while others took a more minimalistic route.

The winner of the second round was the high school team of three. The young talent showed that web development skills are not purely correlated with age and experience.

Finally, the third and final round was the real test of skill. Teams had to replicate the Twitter page of president Trump. Lots of different elements to figure out and style correctly and only 15 minutes to spare. This is where Taiste guys showed why they are so good. They won the last round with a landslide as they were able to create beautiful replica of the site.

Code in the Dark Turku was a successful event where people had a lot of fun while learning new stuff. We want to thank Valohai for organizing the event with us, Reaktor for sponsoring the drinks and snacks and Hub Turku for offering the space. And most importantly all the people who participated either as developers or as the audience.

Turku ❤ Frontend is a community of developers and designers interested in frontend web development and design. We run monthly meetups and organize other events like hackathons, programming competitions and projects like Turku Gives Back. Follow us on Twitter, register to join upcoming meetups in Meetabit and join the discussion on Facebook and Slack.

Valohai is a startup building a new home for machine learning. Run, monitor, store and share all your experiments. Follow them on Twitter and check their website for more!

Hub Turku is a co-working place and makerspace located downtown Turku. It’s open for everyone to work, experiment and host events like these. Follow also them on Twitter and find out more at their website.

Reaktor is a strategy, design, and engineering company based in New York, Helsinki, Amsterdam, and Tokyo.