The Front Page Effect

My small over-christmas project on featured on the front page of reddit.

This article in a nutshell: Github Pages saved my ass while having 8bitdash on the front page of reddit. Over christmas, I went to my parents and stayed in my home town till new years eve. In the time between, I really liked to spend some time coding on a non-profit side project. I was inspired by Momentum Dash, which is basically just a start page with a clock and some backgrounds. What I do not like about their site: It is Chrome-only and you have to install a plugin.

A Lean Start

Well, I started with a fullscreen website which just shows pixel art GIFs. I am not a pro in JS, to say the least, but I managed to code a client-side application which lets you to select different curated collections of random GIFs. I bought the domain 8bitdash.com when I came up with the idea. Even tough it is not only 8-bit art, as many people pointed out later, the name is kinda catchy, so I stuck with it.

Hosting

At first, I hosted the webpage and all the content on my DigitalOcean instance. But when I decided to put it on Reddit, I moved the client-side only code to a GitHub repository and hosted it via GitHub Pages. That was I damn good decision, because when I put it on the InternetIsBeautiful subreddit, the visitor count exploded (Reddit thread. About 134k unique visitors visited the page on the 15th of January. Fortunately GitHub Pages did the image hosting for me. Later, the website was also featured on ProductHunt, Japanese Lifehacker, Conectica and Mifdesign Antenna.

Server Load

Piwik, the infamous and open source web analytics software still ran on my instance, and it was amazing that it could handle the requests. With a 20GB SSD and 512MB of RAM, it handled 2 Mbps outgoing traffic, with 50% CPU load and 1MB/s write troughput at the peak. The hype is over and a week later 2k people visit the page regulary.

More Artists Wanted

The artists featured on the site gave me the permission to show their art with attribution. Needless to say, I am looking for more talented pixel artists who like to get their work curated. Just let me know. Besides, I am planning to add some more minimalistic features soon. But until then, let us enjoy some wonderful pixel art. And by the way: thanks for all the kind words on reddit.


One or two mails a month about the latest technology I'm hacking on.