I knew it had to be something centered around the ‘framework’ movement, mainly poking fun at the well-known HTML5 Boilerplate project. So on Tuesday night this week, I took the idea of HTML9 Responsive Boilerstrap JS from concept to creation. I finished it that night, including registering the domain, setting up the site, and gritclonemerging its own bogus repo.
It’s really not a hugely complex site — there’s not a single script on the page, just CSS. Some people found it interesting that someone would choose to spend ‘so much time’ on a nothing project like this. This is definitely not like me. I rarely have time for this kind of goofing off. But it was just 3 or 4 hours of work, plus a few adjustments afterwards.
The Crazy Stats
I wasn’t even sure when I would officially make the site public. I was thinking of doing it next week some time. But it was pretty much done, and it was early in the day on Wednesday, so I decided to tweet it at around 11:30am Eastern time. I thought maybe a few hundred of my followers would pick it up, have a laugh, and maybe share it with a few people.
But the result was astounding. Within just a few hours, Google Analytics for the site was showing over 30,000 page views. To give you a comparison, Impressive Webs usually gets around 10,000 page views, on a good day — and that’s a full day. As I write this article (shortly before midnight on Wednesday evening), H9RBS.js has had over 70,000 page views.
Why Did It Spread So Fast?
I didn’t do anything to promote this. Just a single measly tweet to my modest 6,000 followers. No blog post, no submission to Hacker News or Reddit or anything else. Normally when I tweet a link, if 100 people click the link, that’s considered a huge success (as far as Twitter CTR). But somehow, within 30 minutes this one had gone ballistic, and everybody was re-tweeting it.
I don’t want to explain exactly why I personally found this concept funny. I probably don’t have to explain it; I think it’s obvious to most people.
But why did this subject seem to strike a chord with just about every designer/developer/agency/programmer on Twitter? I’m curious to hear what others think.