EDIT: Clarified my point after seeing dmckee's answer.

I just discovered brainfuck and find it really amusing. It seems to me that it is a perfect material for programming puzzles (especially code-golf):

  • it's really easy to learn (8 instructions)
  • it's really challenging to come up with short programs
  • it's purely about algorithms
  • everyone can understand everyone else's solution

Basically, everyone gets the same basic weapon and then it's all about how twisted your mind can be. So I was surprised not to find any puzzle on this site asking for solutions in BF (well, except this one), and not even a brainfuck tag.

I've seen the concerns raised by single language questions, but IMHO BF is much harder and weirder than most other languages, and many challenges that are completely trivial to solve in most languages necessitate some creativity in BF. Consider for instance:

Write a program that takes 2 bytes as input and outputs the smallest of them.

Maybe that's because I'm new to BF, but it took me some time to figure out how to do that, and I'm pretty sure that there are tons of other ways to do it - probably shorter ones.

What's your view on that? Can I start posting BF puzzles?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I would love BF specific challenges. I have been trying to do some of the challenges on here in BF. I usually fail pretty hard at character count against pretty much any language, but that is rarely the point. Since even trivial things are hard in BF, I think a language specific challenge would be quite appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – captncraig
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not easy to learn. Learning syntax isn't the only thing you learn in a language \$\endgroup\$
    – mniip
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 3:32

2 Answers 2


Thought on language specific challanges, does not show anything I would call a consensus, though it may tilt slight against single-language challenges for most purposes.

But also look at Is language-agnostic an appropriate tag? and Are “restricted programming” problems on topic?.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I clarified my question to outline why BF seems different from other languages to me. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 25, 2011 at 13:59

I think this can be extended to nearly all esoteric programming languages. While regular languages strive for conciseness and brevity, most esoteric languages do not.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Golfscript is esoteric. So is Befunge. Both allow for concise solutions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Quincunx 'most'. \$\endgroup\$
    – SQB
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 7:19

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