Ten years old today

Ten years old today

This website turns ten years old today. I am pretty happy with that figure, considering that this site was launched back in October 2001 as a personal project for me to learn about web design and web application development techniques.

When I am asked to describe what this website it about, I tell people is a kind of technical blog, but in reality when I launched the site the word blog (or web log to give it it's full title), was not in common use, at least not that I was aware of. Actually, this website was originally intended to be a home site for a web design firm here in Ireland that never happened (hence the name "Design-Ireland.net"), but somehow I decided to stick with this domain even though it no longer makes sense.

To see what this site looked like in the past, we can use the Wayback Machine from the Internet Archive project:

Wayback Machine - Design-Ireland.net

There are no captures in there from 2001, but you can see what the site looked like from the summer of 2002 onwards. Actually it seems pretty broken on the Wayback Machine up until 2006, with lots of missing images and scripts (I was doing some pretty funky DHTML back then). But I still find it fun to look at.

To put things into perspective, let's look at the lineage of some well-known websites:

  • In 2006, Jack Dorsey launched Twitter.com.
  • In 2004, Mark Zuckerburg launched "thefackbook.com", which went to become simply "facebook.com". His website became slightly more popular than this one ;-)
  • Engadget.com also starts to appear in the Wayback Machine in 2004.
  • Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.
  • The W3C website goes all the way back to 1998 (at least according to the Wayback Machine, so it may actually be older).
  • The first entry for PHP.net I can find is from July 1998. The notice on that snapshot of the homepage about the year 2000 compliance of PHP is quite funny, remember the Millennium Bug?
  • Google launched back in 1998, although back then they were under the google.standford.edu sub-domain. You can find the earliest snapshot of them on the Wayback Machine here.
  • The oldest entry I can find on the Wayback Machine so far for Palm.com is also from 1996 (which works best on Netscape Navigator 1.1 or higher apparently).
  • Bloomberg.com also goes back as far as 1996.
  • ...so does BBC.co.uk (although only just, with two samples captured inside December 1996).
  • RTE.ie, the website of Ireland's national broadcaster, beats the BBC by one month only with this entry from November 1996.

So while there are many sites out there that are older than ten years old, there are much more that are less so. Looking back briefly at the pre-millennium Internet now, it just looks weird to me. It reminds me of using dial-up modems to access the Internet to do some research from a public library in Dublin, because I did not have a computer of my own back then (well, except for an Amiga 600).

Here's to the next ten years of Design-Ireland.net.

John Collins

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP. I love open source, technology, and economics. You can follow updates from this blog on Twitter.