Here’s a challenge for all you developers building obese bandwidth-hogging pages — can you build a useful and fully-functional web application in 10K or less? If so, head to and submit your entry before August 25, 2010.

The competition, run by Microsoft and An Event Apart, was inspired by which operated between 2000 and 2002 (yes, it was really that long ago). There were some excellent entries even in those pre-Firefox, Ajax, Web2.0 and HTML5 times, including a playable Wolfenstein 3D clone.

The new challenge increases the limit to a total of 10K for all your HTML, XML, text, CSS, JavaScript and image files. However, you can include the jQuery, Prototype, or Typekit libraries and they won’t count toward your 10K limit. Personally, I think that’s a shame. I hope the judges award extra points for submissions which don’t use a library — although few people will do that.

Interestingly, there’s no explicit mention in the rules about cross-domain web services — although it does say that third-party data can be used if you have permission. I don’t see why you couldn’t have a script-injected Ajax call to a multi-megabyte server-based process? OK, it may not be in the rules, but it’s against the spirit of the competition — don’t blame me if you’re disqualified!

All submitted applications must work in IE9 Developer Preview, Firefox, and either Chrome, Safari or both. There’s no mention of Opera but, again, I’d hope the judges give extra credit for applications which cross more browser boundaries.

You can submit up to 3 entries before the deadline of 3pm Pacific Time (PT) on August 25, 2010. The applications will be judged by industry experts Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, Jeremy Keith, Whitney Hess and Nicole Sullivan before $10K in prizes is distributed to the lucky winners. There’s also a People’s Choice winner chosen by voters on the website.

If you’re able to squeeze the most out of every byte, visit and the terms page. Fame and fortune awaits!

I think it’s a great idea. It’ll prove that you can build an inspirational web application which doesn’t choke the Internet pipes. Will you submit an entry? Let us know…

Tags: competition, CSS, html, images, javascript, microsoft
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler

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  • Scott Petrovic

    I probably can’t do it. :(

  • deathshadow60

    “However, you can include the jQuery, Prototype, or Typekit libraries and they won’t count toward your 10K limit.”


    Seriously, at that point what the ****?!? Oh, do it in under 10k, but if you want to use hundreds of K of bloated library crap go right ahead…

    • Craig Buckler

      Agreed. Every entry will include a library because it’s the easiest way to add functionality at no extra expense. Few JavaScript libraries existed when the5K competition was running so it wasn’t an issue … there were still some stunning entries, though.

  • Kiko

    I think: NO!

  • Craig Buckler

    Come on people — 30 years ago, developers were writing flight simulators in 1K of memory! Yes, apps created in assembly language have a smaller footprint, but you have 10 times that space and a JavaScript library!

  • awasson

    Ok, I’m going to try and get something together to submit. Someone already has submitted a 15 square puzzle so I only have 3 other ideas off the top of my head. The judges panel are all people I know of and I don’t think you’ll be impressed easily.

    I think it could be cool to have libraries available but only if they are used to provide a better user experience. For instance, if someone is using the jQuery library because they don’t know to access an element using a few lines of JavaScript, points should be deducted and as you mentioned Craig, if they manage to provide a nifty AJAXY experience without a library, bonus points should be awarded.

  • ricktheartist

    No love for MooTools, again. :(

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