The demo scene has been around for a long time. Starting out as intros for cracked software titles back as far as the Commodore 64 days it wasn’t long until tech heads were admiring the work of the coders putting together the jaw dropping technical displays pushing hardware to it’s limit more than the software they had obtained by less than legitimate means. The idea of a demo is to push hardware to produce effects that shouldn’t in all reason be possible while doing so with the least amount of code possible. 64k is seen as pretty roomy for a program, 16k is still enough room to swing a cat but the true hardcore programmers show their skills with a limit of 1k. That’s 1024 bytes. To put that in perspective this article is already 775 characters long at this point.

Creating a program that not only does something in such a small size but produces effects that can push hardware to it’s limits is awe inspiring. This scene has now jumped to the web with the advent of the 1k Javascript contest – – which challenges programmers to produce the same dizzying effects through a simple webpage that allows 1024 characters of Javascript. The results are to a programmers eye a least impressive. See this for example – – results will of course depend upon your browser, more specifically it’s support for the Canvas element and the speed of it’s javascript engine. Internet Explorer is out of the question but webkit based browsers like Chrome and Safari will display the effects fine.

Somewhat related is An Event Apart’s 10k app contest – – the idea of which is to create a useful web app in jst 10k of code with a prospect of a juicy $3,000 reward for the best entry. While the results are less inspiring to a coders eye than the 1k Javascript contest it does show how seriously the web community is now pushing the adoption of HTML5 and especially experimenting with the possibilities of the Canvas tag.

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