#tweetcoding Contest: Win With 140 Characters of AS3

“140 characters isn’t good for debugging code.”

Yesterday evening, when @kevinSuttle said that to me on Twitter it sparked a thought, that grew into an experiment, that expanded into an idea, and finally ballooned into a contest.

Kevin’s tweet got me thinking… “What could you code in 140 characters of AS3?” I spent a little time experimenting, and found out the answer was “not a lot”. Still, it crystallized the idea of building a contest around it. I spent a little bit of time assembling a simple page to outline the contest, asked for feedback, revised, and launched the contest.

You can check out the #tweetcoding page for full details, but here is a quick overview. You are provided with a framework of 140 characters of “gimme” code. To this, you can add up to 140 characters of additional AS3 code. You submit your entry via Twitter, and if your work is judged as the best, you win a full copy of Flash CS4.

The thing I find coolest is how this came together so rapidly and organically. It was about 6 hours from the initial thought to the start of the contest (including an hour for dinner), and it incorporated feedback from a handful of people. Within 24 hours there were already a number of interesting entries, a prize (FlashCS4 – thanks Adobe!), and online tools to help people track and participate in the contest.

You can check out one of these online tools, made by @machine501 that compiles entries directly from Twitter using the Flex compiler, and lets you follow all the #tweetcoding action without needing to start up Flash.

Check out the #tweetcoding rules page to enter the contest, or for more information.

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Why is it always [visual] / [maths generated grahpics] stuffs when it comes to this kinds of [mini coding block] contests?

    I prefer something that really functional by itself, instead of visual things

  2. Just one little suggestion for the judging: there should be some kind of modifier which rewards the order in which the entries were submitted – since once someone has demonstrated a certain technique it is out in the open and makes it’s rather easy for everybody else to take that code and build on top of it – which is absolutely a good thing – only not as original as the first one. It’s like if some artist came today and made paintings in Pollock style.

    How about a point system:

    Aestetics 10pts

    Technical 10pts

    Originality (at time of publishing) 10pts

    Performance 5pts

  3. Very cool indeed. I’m impressed. Maybe also give extra points if you can quickly crash the Flash player.

    Mario, just don’t post until the end of the contest if you don’t want us learning from you. But, actually, your codes are so good that it makes me feel like a dummy.

  4. So a newb question here. I just installed a twitter client (twhirl) to start using twitter a couple days ago. The question is, do I need to do anything to submit an entry, or does putting the #tweetcoding text in the post do it?

  5. hey Grant,

    It’s a pity your comp’s skewed towards making crappy graphics eg





    Why not afford other mediums the same allowances?

    The first thing I thought of was to pass binary data into the sound object (which apparently was a whole lot of other people’s first thoughts too). I’m sure there are heaps of other cool hacks that I could think of… video?.

    Either allow everything or nothing.

    Don’t mean to be a hater, I think it’s a cool comp!

    Just thought we’d moved on from doing bad generative “art”.

  6. sam – I’m trying to establish a base format for the competition, part of which is limiting the “gimme code” to 140 characters. This way, each round could have a different framework, which would favour different types of entries (ex. you could have a sound oriented framework).

    Hopefully this helps ensure that each round has unique entries.

    Considering that the heart and soul of ActionScript “tinkering” has always been “bad generative art”, I thought it was an appropriate start for the competition.


  7. The 140 chars as3 code contest is really a cool idea for Twitter lovers 🙂

    BTW, … Actually I’m here to report that TweetDeck is not working for Chinese characters. I really really love the idea and I’m also a little aestheticly tired for Twhirl. I followed your twitter for a while and seems that you’re using this, so maybe you can help me notice the author.

    Hope it will be fixed and I’ll spread it among Chinese twitter users 🙂

  8. Aw Guo,

    Have you tried switching TweetDeck to use the international font?

    Settings > Colors/Fonts > International Font

  9. Have you seen the 25 lines of ActionScript competition? 25 lines open up for a whole lot of interesting stuff.


  10. I’d like to suggest a useful piece as an appended gimme code:

    sw = stage.stageWidth;

    sh = stage.stageHeight;

    I think this would come in really handy for the competition!

  11. Great competition.. made my first entry.

  12. I also really enjoyed my attempts at #tweetcoding and seeing the amazing stuff people came up with. I did find the gimme code a bit frustrating.

    Can I suggest


  13. where is the contest now??

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