Can You Build a Fully-Functional Web Application in 10K?

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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…

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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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 created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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