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.
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 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.
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.
Also called hacking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wish the time spent on this project was put towards something more useful.
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.