Having gotten hooked on it during the first js1k, written about extreme JS minification and submitted a bunch of stuff to 140bytes, I think it's fairly safe to say I'm an addict. Because of that, there was really no chance that I could let this year's js1k go by without entering.

The theme this year is ‘Love’. Seeing as I never actually submitted my maze1k demo, I decided I'd spruce it up, restyle a bit and submit it covered top to bottom in hearts.

There's not a lot I can say about minification techniques that hasn't already been covered either on this site, on Marijn Haverbeke's site, on Ben Alman's or on the 140bytes wiki page on byte-saving techniques. The only things I will add are a couple of techniques which are new to me. I have thoroughly commented the code below, however. If you want to play along, have a look.

Left-first Evaluation

It's a feature of most programming languages that when you have a logical operator such as && or ||, the value of the left side of the operator determines whether the right side will be evaluated at all. If the left side of an AND is false, we're going to get a false for the whole thing. It doesn't matter what the right side is so we don't even need to look at it. Similarly, if the left side of an OR is true, the eventual return value will be true so we don't need to look at the right. For example, here are two statements:


In the first example (&& – AND), we will only check morning if coffee is true. We first have a look at coffee and if it is false, we don't care whether morning is true or not, we just skip it (and, presumably, go back to bed). If coffee is true, we'll then have a look to see if morning is true. It doesn't matter if morning is a function or a variable assignment or whatever, it will only happen if coffee is true.

In the second example (|| – OR), we will only evaluate work if wine is false. We start by looking at and evaluating wine. If that is true, the JS interpreter saves us from even considering work and skips it. The right-side of the operator, work, is only considered if wine is false.

You can probably see how, in a few simple situations, this can help avoid an if(), thereby saving at least one byte. Usually.

‘A’ font

If you want to set the font-size on a canvas 2D context, you have to use the font property. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately for obsessive minifiers, you can't just set the fontSize, you also have to set the fontFamily at the same time:

canvas.getContext('2d').font="20px Arial"

Failure to set the font family means that the whole value is invalid and the font size isn't applied.

My thought process: “But 'Arial'? The word's so… big (5 bytes). There must be some way to make this smaller. If only there were a font called ‘A’ (1 byte)…”

Well, it turns out, if you set a font that doesn't exist on the user's system, the canvas will fall back on the system sans-serif by default. On windows that is... Arial. On OS X, it's Helvetica. I'm glad about that because otherwise, Helvetica wouldn't get a look-in, being 9 whole bytes.

There is always the chance that someone will have a font called ‘A’ but I'm willing to take that risk. This possibility could be avoided by using an unlikely character like ♥ for the font name.

The code

These are hosted on GitHub rather than in my usual code blocks to make it easier for you to fork them, pull them apart and get elbow-deep in them.

The almost-impossible-to-read minified submission:

The full, unminified code with thorough commenting:

The submission

My entry is up on the js1k site now. It's already getting quite busy up there after only a few days and I have to say I'm impressed by the fantastic job @kuvos has done in building it up over the last couple of years and providing me with fuel for my addiction.