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I hate to be "that dick" so let me first say that this is damn impressive stuff; kudos to the authors for some serious CSS wizardry!

It's also completely and totally useless. The person / people who did this are obviously talented and have a lot of expertise. I'd really rather see people with this level of ability contributing meaningful, useful tools / techniques to the community rather than seeing this type of post over and over again.

I can hear the arguments now, "but it shows off the power of CSS!"

No, it doesn't. It shows off what a clever person can achieve by tinkering with a system; but there's no practical value to most of the techniques demonstrated. CSS has a lot of power; but its best demonstrated by projects like the CSS Zen Garden that show off real-world CSS use.

> It shows off what a clever person can achieve by tinkering with a system

You could say the same about the Gosper glider gun. I don't want to be part of a hacker community that doesn't encourage autotelic projects.

>> I can hear the arguments now, "but it shows off the power of CSS!"

I think it's naive to assume that this is not meaningful or useful.

It will certainly open creative doors in enough developers' brains to lead to innovations on other projects.

Not to mention serve as a portfolio to get the authors more business.

To me that's not useless.

Eh, maybe. This site doesn't really offer much in the way of educating visitors about the concepts employed. Additionally, anyone who is at this level of CSS already, won't see this site and say, "oh wow, I didn't know that could be done in CSS". It has been done many times before, just in different contexts. Just check any of the site's 'inspiration' links. I'm sure it'll be super useful for the author's portfolio, but why do I care about that?

I think maybe, being a front-end guy, I'm a lot less impressed with it as it's part of my job to keep up on this kind of thing so I've seen it a lot already.

Now if this had been a tool that would generate CSS shapes with sliders/toggles allowing you to manipulate the shapes/logos in place, that would be cool and educational/useful.

I think this is akin to drawing the Mona Lisa in MS Paint. Yes, it's impressive that it can be done. That doesn't mean you should do it and it's still outside my skill and patience level.

It shows off what a clever person can achieve by tinkering with a system

Also called hacking.

Totally fair; and I wasn't intending to pick on this example in particular. However, I see a lot of this "look at this amazing shit we pulled with CSS" that's generally inapplicable beyond their (admittedly cool) example.

The other week, I heard a developer talking about one of these "amazing shit we pulled with CSS" examples and excitedly tried his hand at a few inspirations of his own. (Sadly, they didn't go further than his own machine.)

Later, as he was working on a new feature, he realized he could achieve a particular effect without any images for a slight improvement in performance (fewer requests and all that). That achievement came because of the experimentation he did a week earlier.

I think there can be a lot of value in experimenting for the sake of experimenting. It's part of the fun of coding. Aside from the potential morale benefits, sometimes the experimentation leads to useful inspirations that make it to production.

Yes, thank you for explaining the point. Some hacking is essentially research.

It's also completely and totally useless

Not really.

A CSS logo would be useful for performance issues and overall page rendering speed. A CSS animated logo, such as the Atari example, even moreso than a Flash / JS counterpart. CSS renders more quickly than images, and definitely more quickly than embedded Flash.

That's cutting a pretty broad swath there; CSS does not necessarily render more quickly than images--especially on low-end devices. For example, things like drop shadows are incredibly slow to draw in CSS on low-end devices whereas downloading and rendering a properly compressed 1kb png is significantly faster.

It also depends heavily on the complexity of the logo and the painting implications. To say simply that "CSS will be more performant" is categorically incorrect.

CSS is the wrong tool for the job. Your example would be better served (and easier to maintain) with SVG or Canvas.

or in some cases: data uris.

Couldn't agree less.

Projects like this are analogous to F1 cars. I'll never drive one but they demonstrate the bleeding edge of automotive technology. Much of this technology trickles down to production cars that I will drive.

Projects like this show the potential of CSS. Tho I will likely never create a logo out of CSS, the techniques displayed here will likely trickle down into more mainstream applications of CSS that I will use.

That's a false analogy though. To keep with your automobile theme, this is more like taking a car, and using it as a boat.

Instead, we should throw support behind something that is designed to be a boat. In this case, for example, SVG would fill the role of rendering logos much better.

My point is, I'm not sure how much of this bleeding edge demonstration will be able to trickle down into the real use case of CSS, which is in web page presentation, not drawing pictures.

Sometimes people make things just to see if they can and to show off, even if it doesn't improve the lives of other people. It's a showcase to show off the flexibility and capabilities of CSS.

I mean, one could easily argue that delivering movies and TV shows to people via the internet is also completely and totally useless, couldn't they? So yeah, you are being that dick.

I find the examples analogous to Hello World or sample twitter clients. They give someone else a place to start.

I think it shows that people will work on what people like working on, especially during their precious free time.

If you rake your memory you could probably find points in time when you were working on something you really enjoyed, even though you had other good ideas that would better benefit the community. I know I certainly have been in that situation.

You're not being "that dick" - you've justified your point of a review. ("That dick" would just post "It's completely and totally useless" and leave it there).

Anywhoo, that's awesome. And I do think it's useful - as mcknz says, it's a pretty great starting point. It's also pretty great motivation :) From this, people can derive practical value.

Agree completely. As a proof-of-concept it's amazing. But practically speaking, SVG is a far better way of doing this.

Stu Nicholls, the clever guy behind cssplay.co.uk did start with css experiments that you could qualify as useless (like this amazing puzzle[0]) and this developped into real browser proofed css menus of all shapes.

[0] http://www.cssplay.co.uk/menu/amazing.html

From anothe viewpoint, it was for me an occasion to have a look at the code, and see how it works, and that's just nice.

The samples may not have any practical use, and I could have tried to look at the source of any css heavy page instead, but this was a simple and fun way to have a glimpse into the latest(?) css tricks.

I just deleted my comment after reading this. You said exactly what I had planned to.

I wish the time spent on this project was put towards something more useful.

No, playing fun with the system itself could be useful in unexpected ways. Like esoteric programming languages (leads to the serious exploration of unconventional computation models), code golfing and obfuscated codes (helps shaping the knowledge of a particular language and often leads to the clever way to tackle problems), demoscenes (you know where the Spore came from) and hacking (with the original meaning).

As long as you are aware of doing something unconventional, it is fine to keep these sports. If he/she did put these logos in production then I'll object though.

I completely agree with you. The act of exploration is a beautiful thing. However, my statement was based on the fact this technique has been done before. This area has been explored. While this site is executed very well, in my eyes, it doesn't offer (or attempt to, seemingly) anything I have yet to see. That was my only real point.

Sometimes I wish HN had a downvote button

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