DemoJS – Does (file) size matter?


Creative people often yearn for an ‘open brief': the ability to remove the shackles and go mad with creativity. But sometimes this freedom, a blank canvas of opportunity, can be utterly overwhelming. Sometimes it’s necessary to impose arbitrary limitations to aid our creativity; to help give us focus.

DemoJS is a great example of what enforced limitations can do for creativity. It began as a competition called JS1K to see what could be created when limited to only 1024 bytes of JavaScript code (the total .js file size). That then blossomed into the DemoJS competition. It was run in July 2011 with a set of basic rules: Files must be 1k or less, they must consist purely of JavaScript (no external libraries) and all demos must work in Firefox and Chrome.


There was a second competition to see what could be created without restrictions also, a ‘freestyle’ category. You be the judge — let us know which demos you think are more impressive! Freestyle or limited?

Fractal ribbon

Dig around on the site for some amazing and inspiring demos with only a few lines of JavaScript. Here are a few of my faves:

  • Creation by Silexars, a gorgeous GLSL/WebGL shader
  • 1kk by Hexapode, a retro parallax stars effect with audio
  • gl1k Cotton Candy by p01, a 3D fractal ribbon

For more check out DemoJS. Here’s hoping the competition will run again next year!

5 thoughts on “DemoJS – Does (file) size matter?

  1. Creation and Cotton Candy won’t work on Firefox for me. Shame… they look pretty cool in Chrome.

    That aside, it’s an interesting point you make though. Enforced limitations often create the most creative solutions. There’s nothing like some hard obstacles to force you to find an innovative way around them.

  2. Unfortunately I missed DemoJS – didn’t know it was no longer js1k :(

    js10k is being run again this year ( with the additional constraint that entries must work on a variety of platforms and screen sizes (like web-enabled phones & tablets). So I’m hard at work trying to squash as much as I can into the allowed size – it becomes an exercise in compression as much as anything else.

  3. To clarify a wrong “fact” here – DemoJS has didn’t blossom out of JS1K .com – It was sparked by the initiative, it was organized by the ParisJS people, French Demosceners and Mozilla Labs.
    But of course – We knew the compo and it was certainly an inspiration :)

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