I don’t know why exactly, but last night as I was looking at the stack of work I needed to complete before heading out of town for a family commitment, I felt overwhelmed for a minute, and then I started waxing nostalgic. I started remembering some of my early web projects and how much I enjoyed building new things. I thought back to 1996, the first time my family got the internet. We were probably the first family on my block to have it, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I was sure I was going to be a hacker before hackers were even really even a thing. I’d log onto my favorite BBS (I linked that because some of you are going to be too young to know what a BBS is. Sigh), and would have long conversations with other users about the latest way to get free minutes from your ISP, or how to make free phone calls from a pay phone. The irony, of course, was that I’d spend hours and hours patching my computer for this “free” time that I probably could have payed for had I been working at a job during those hours. But hey, I was fourteen and there was a new digital world at my fingertips.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a Senior in High School. I had used the internet a lot in three years but primarily for communication, a little bit of scripting, and some “hacking”. I didn’t have a property to call my own. That was the year I worked on building a webpage for the Chocobots, the first ever rap group made up of four white kids from Suburbia, Utah. We were awesome. At least that’s how I remember it. We had mad legit rhymes and even better dance moves. We were having a really excellent time and needed to get the word out about everyone on our crew. There was only one place to go: THE INTERNET!
As I was thinking about that incredible time in my life last night I sent out this tweet:
I wonder how many web developers got started by building a website for their band that broke up like two weeks later.
— Ryan Sullivan (@ryandonsullivan) September 17, 2014
People started replying and telling me about the way they started on the web, and I was loving all the unique stories. So I tried to formalize it to some degree.
This is fun. What's the first thing you ever worked on on the web? Tweet with hashtag #MyFirstProject (RT too)
— Ryan Sullivan (@ryandonsullivan) September 17, 2014
Then the responses started to pour in. Please enjoy this throwback to a slower time on the internet. A time when we were all brand new and things were quite a bit simpler. Then feel free to share your first web project wherever you choose using #MyFirstProject. Let’s blow up the internet and remember, at least for a few minutes, how fun and exciting it was to build.
#MyFirstProject A website for my parish, 2002.
— Joe Casabona (@jcasabona) September 17, 2014
— Kim Parsell (@kimparsell) September 17, 2014
— Rich (@richardtape) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a gaming clan site for a Unreal Tournament clan I was in. Straight HTML and IFrames. Makes me puke to think about it.
— Jeff Matson ? (@TheJeffMatson) September 17, 2014
— Suzette Franck (@suzette_franck) September 17, 2014
— topher1kenobe (@topher1kenobe) September 17, 2014
— Justin Sainton (@JS_Zao) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a website for a game's newspaper. Hard hitting journalism like why the ogres looked like they wore diapers.
— David Green (@davidrg86) September 17, 2014
My dad's small biz website in 2004, coded in some no name WYSIWYG then again in Nvu! #MyFirstProject
— Josh Levinson (@joshlevinson) September 17, 2014
Actually my real #MyFirstProject was a gaming site with Google Sites.
— NIKHIL VIMAL (@nikvimal) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a personal site hosted on Geocities, called "Gazza's Hideout"…
— Gary Jones (@GaryJ) September 17, 2014
— Morgan Estes (@morganestes) September 17, 2014
— Sridhar Katakam (@srikat) September 17, 2014
— Nina Cross (@crossnina) September 17, 2014
— You'reTheManNowDoug (@zamoose) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was an awful church website with frames that I built in notepad in 1997.
— Allen Moore (@creativeallen) September 17, 2014
— Matt Pritchett (@mrpritchett) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a site for myself and some friends to host DJ mixes. Download the mp3s or listen via RealPlayer!
— Matt (@matthew_zak) September 17, 2014
— David Gray (@iamdavidgray) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was probably around 1995 and used frames and tables
— Diane Kinney (@dkinney) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a website about Barbie. I was 13. Built in FrontPage. Eventually I met Ruth Handler & sold her autobio (pre-Amazon).
— Heather Billings (@hbillings) September 17, 2014
— skin-covered coffee (@norcross) September 17, 2014
— Shayne Sanderson (@shaynesanderson) September 17, 2014
— Dave Donaldson (@arcware) September 17, 2014
Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro was my go-to graphics program back in the day (it is now a Corel product) #MyFirstProject
— LSW (@LisaSabinWilson) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a virtual writing center for the university. we were in way over our heads.
— Kelly Kuhn-Wallace (@KKDUB) September 17, 2014
— Yardboy (@Yardboy) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a Deep Purple fan site because I guess that’s what every 13 year old in 1996 does?
— Corey M Collins (@coreymcollins) September 17, 2014
— Christopher Frazier (@ego093) September 17, 2014
— Angie Meeker (@angiemeeker) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject Star Trek TNG fan site. I know, I'm metal as hell
— Rami Abraham (@ramiabraham) September 17, 2014
#myfirstproject was a website for myself
— Ramon van Belzen (@Ramoonus) September 17, 2014
— Andrea Whitmer (@nutsandbolts) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was for The Drums. We used flash for their menu on their website.
— Cody Landefeld (@codyL) September 17, 2014
— David Cramer™ (@dcramer) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was a 6-page static HTML site that I used the 4 puzzle piece shapes in Photoshop to create their logo. Pillow embossed!
— Jesse Ⓦ Petersen (@jpetersen) September 17, 2014
— Justin Sternberg (@Jtsternberg) September 17, 2014
— Brian Richards (@rzen) September 17, 2014
A website on Geocities for my Star Trek IRC role-playing simulation group. #MyFirstProject
— Jordan Cooper (@blenderhd) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject In 1996 "Web guy" at TumYeto (skateboard parent co. for Zero, Toy Machine + Foundation) quit–made me web chick by default.
— Chris Ford (@ci_chrisford) September 17, 2014
#MyFirstProject was written in BASIC to echo "Hello World".
— James Bie (@jayjay_bie) September 17, 2014
— Jackie D'Elia (@jdelia) September 17, 2014
— Doug Smith (@douglsmith) September 17, 2014
I remember #MyFirstProject it was a photo site I made in high school with tables
— Miss Geek Bunny (@missgeekbunny) September 17, 2014
Now it’s your turn! What’s was your first project on the web? Share using #MyFirstProject and we’ll add it to this post.