Advent of Code 2017

by on under blog
2 minute read


A pretty common hurdle when learning how to code is the “I don’t know what to code” roadblock. The correct response is “work toward solving a problem you have right now,” but that doesn’t always remove the writer’s block.

The next best option I’ve found is to learn with a game. Build a crude implementation of tic-tac-toe, or solve some puzzles. Puzzles can be hard to come by, though…

(you’ll never guess where I’m headed with this)

Want to get better at PowerShell? Maybe feeling like you’re ready to try a new language?

Advent of Code is for you!

Read about it here, but tl;dr - Advent of Code is a new daily programming puzzle from Dec 1-25. It targets a wide range of skill levels, and is language agnostic. You’re given a problem and a unique puzzle input, and it’s up to you and your language(s) of choice to turn that puzzle input into the correct answer.

Here’s the first puzzle of 2015, if you’d like an example.

I went through AoC in 2015 in PowerShell, and really enjoyed it. I improved at PowerShell, and as an unintended side effect, got pretty good at RegEx in the process. (Parsing the puzzle input strings for only the data you care about is important.)

I won’t have time to do AoC this year, but I’ll probably poke in for a puzzle or two during the month. It’s a fun contest, and I’m happy to recommend it to anybody who wants to turn some free time into a coding skill level-up.

In the meantime: @_sorceress posted a 2017 warm-up puzzle, before the Dec 1st unlock. I’m sharing my solution here to demonstrate what AoC is like, to encourage you to try out the real thing, and maybe to fish for improvement suggestions ;)

It’s fully commented, so you can hopefully follow the logic as I turn the instructions into a solution.

All of the thanks to @ericwastl for AoC. It’s awesome, you should try it, and you should totally follow the /r/adventofcode subreddit when you get hooked and need a hint!

adventofcode, code, powershell