Marcin Wichary: You Gotta Do What You gotta Do [Full Frontal Live Blog]

Marcin explains the hacks that went into the Atari 2600, moving from a crappy “tennis” game in 1978 to a somewhat less-crappy Pitfall in 1982, doing things the Atari architects never anticipated. (Covered in “Racing the Beam”) Which would be the same if you showed 1990 TBL the web today.

Google Doodles have gotten bigger over the years … lines of code: 2009: 1, 2010: 5000, 2011: 13000 (thx @suhajdab)

Marcin shows various iterations of the underwater doodle:

On the theme of pragmatism, it went through a bunch of iterations, to get to the point where people would know they can control the water flow, ultimately leading to an explicit handle control. And degrades gracefully to IE6 (choppy, but works) and no-JavaScript (nice image).

We haven’t gone beyond the IE6 graceful degradation…we still have this in HTML5, so it’s not going to go away. WebSocket keeps changing, different audio support, etc. Which means you sometimes have to do what it takes.

Rality of JavaScript is if you don’t do anything that feels a bit nasty, you’re a bit behind. So you have to embrace some of these nasty hacks. With doodles, the endpoint is about doing something with a sense of purpose, not being infatuated with the technology, or, for that matter, the art.

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