Thursday, May 08, 2008

Share your first website

This post from Gadgetopia and CMS Report inspired me to take the opportunity of asking you to share your first website.

I'd like to encourage those who has designed a web page to find the oldest site in the Wayback Machine archive that you authored and post the link in the comment portion of this post. It will be great if you can share any background story about the website.

The first site I created was Infotech back in June 1997 (or was it 1996, I can't exactly remember now). I created this site using Microsoft Word then. Infotech was the title of my first bulletin board forum, majordomo mailing list, and Yahoo Groups. I decided to let it go after a few years since my site always gets confused with traditional publications. To the point it reached the question, who copied who?

My first online bookstore (ITCC) went online last December 1998. I remember scanning the books one by one and typing their description. I was using a 386 PC that has a paper white monitor. Still using Microsoft Word at that time to create the website. I decided to stop the site when I can't solve my payment gateway concerns then and most orders came from abroad. One good thing that came out from it was - I met Jessica Zafra and got featured in the TV program Usapang Business. I was president of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society also at that time and saw the need to be an online / e-commerce entrepreneur myself.

The first time I used a Content Management System (CMS) was for DigitalFilipino.com (year 2000 version) that went live back in 1999. This was done with the help of Integrated Technologies who was building a CMS then and needed a site that can be used to test the design. It took 9 months to fully develop it. What I missed about it are features like glossary, keywords tracking in search engine, among others.

I hope you'll share your first website story too. Here are some who have:
Looking back Internet history, The E-Mail Company, Chuck Gardner's Cyberbayan, and Portal Inc. were the first in creating websites online and provided content.

4 comments:

Ken said...

My first website was the First Philippine Page of Trivia, the forerunner of Tribung Pinoy. Unfortunately, archives.org's earliest record of it is the 1999 edition :-( which is nothing but files I left in the public servers of my former place of employment. Tribung Pinoy (tribo.org) came about in 1995 or 1996 and archive.org's earliest record of it is its Christmas issue of 1996 complete with an animated gif of a parol!!! Tanikalang Ginto was still the links page of Tribung Pinoy then. The Best of Cyber Pinoys link may be of interest because it awarded the Golden Cowrie icon to the best Filipino sites since 1995 so you can see history here. Tanikalang Ginto spun to its own domain name filipinolinks.com probably in 1997 and archive.org has a record of it for its June 1997 incarnation.

I am still around with other spin offs like myislandsphilippines.com (appeared in archive.org in Oct 2001), originally the .ph links sites but became a photosharing site in middle of 2004 (now myislandsphilippines.net - rediscover paradise through photographs and photography) and filipinodiaspora.net - beyond my islands philippines.

janettetoral.com said...

Thanks Ken for sharing your websites' history. I admire your passion for keeping these endeavors ongoing and adapt in changing times.

I feel partly disappointed that archives.org earliest record of sites were not as deep as it was before and this has caused us missing a lot of details that were available around 3 years ago through their site.

Chuck Gardner said...

I was working at the USIA Regional Printing Center in 1994 and got invited to the first net demo at Ateneo featuring Steve Goldstein, Director of International Internetworking for the US National Science Foundation who USIS had sponsored. I had been developing database systems and had used on-line services such as Compuserve in the U.S. but it was my first opportuntity to see the "Net". I immediately saw the potential it had for the publication work we did.

On the way home from Ateneo I stopped at the SM Megamall where as luck would have it I found an 800 page book called "The Internet Systems Handbook" authored by all the people who created the net in the 1960s and 1970s: Lynch, Postel, Cerf, etc. That got me up to speed on how the router-based technoloqy worked. Steve Goldstein put me in touch with some Cisco engineers and suggested I contact Willy Gan who was the Cisco distributor who help put together PhilNet. With their assistance I quickly put togeter a TCP/IP network plan to provide Internet connectivity for our office with Willy, who was in the process of lauching MosCom. By that time the good people at Ateneo had given me an account and I was able to access the net via a shell account: PPP or SLIP were not running yet.

During a trip to the States I aquired a Netcom account and a new Mac computer which would allow the use of the then new "Mosaic" graphic web brower. A chance encounter in a Mac newsgroup lead to meeting an MIT grad who gave me all the open source applications I needed and showed me where to find HTML and other tutorials on the MIT web site. When I got back to Manila around July 1994 I stared making HTML web pages and serving them out of my shell account at Ateneo via a file:// URL

I also began to work with Willy Gan on getting our office connected. At the time the MosCom staff were focused on the network side and hadn't even gotten around to installing the web server software. I offered to help develop a web site for the Moscom lauch in Sept 1994 as a way to get it to install it. Willy gave me my own dial-in line, one of the first brower-capable PPP connections, and had the graphics-rich Moscom web page on-line for the roll-out demo at a Manila hotel in early September 1994. I also did a web site for Willy's networking company ComNet.

At the time I think there were only about 3-4 people in the Philippines participating on usenet groups because there were not any usenet servers in the Philippines yet. I'd telnet in to my Netcom account and participate on the Soc.Culture.Filipino (SCF) usenet group. Since I was one of the few people on it actually in the Philippines I provided updates on developments. I had started to help Moscom with seminars and by then had become the unpaid de facto webmaster. So when someone on SCF suggested that SCF should have a web page, I just went ahead and created one on the Moscom server, announced it on SCF, and asked people to develop pages of Filipino content and send me the links. At the time there were only about 5 Filipino web sites overseas. I even posted HTML templates and created HTML tutorials on my web site.

I became a bit of an Internet Evangelist because I understood the economics and economies of scale. In June of 1994 I wrote a white paper I called PhilNet2000:A Vision for Growth in which I proposed that PhilNet take an active role in promoting and administering the net via gateway routers, etc.

One of the first commercial web sites in the Philippines was one I created for National Steel Corp. I'd chatted on-line with some of the IT staff there and offered to create a site for the company. It took some time for the IT guys to get the OK, but in early 1995 I put it on-line. It co-incided with the introduction of table code to HTML, so I used tables to frame the photos for a 3D look. Asia Business Week saw the site and mentioned it in an artcle about companies on the cutting edge of Cyberspace. The funny thing about than is the Nation Steel people hadn't even gotten the PPP connection they needed to access it yet. But that article was a wake-up call for businesses in the Philipines about the new thing called "The Net".

My final bit of Net evalgelism occurred in 1995 when I helped facilitate a joint USIS/Mozcom symposium on Journalism on the Net at the Diamond Hotel. USIS had a speaker from the US and I prepared a 16-page brochure in which I described the world-wide community of net-savvy overseas Filipinos as the "Cyberbayan". I had conducted a poll on SCF to find out what things overseas Filippinos wanted and if they would be willing to pay or accept advertising. I figured that would get the attention of the media.

The room was packed to capacity with people from every media outlet in Manila: newspaper, radio, and TV. At least six papers printed large parts of my handout and there were numerous editorials and columns about the net in the papers. That seminar opened the eyes of the media to the potential of the net. Some, like Business Week, were already making plans for an on-line presence. We did several smaller seminars that same week and a few weeks later I put together a 2-day seminar at the USIS Library in Makati on running a web site.

Unfortunately that tour in the Philippines ended a few weeks later so I never really got to surf the wave of Net interest I helped to create. I continued to run my index of Filipino sites from the U.S. but stopped accepting new ones in 1997 because better sites such as Ken Ilio's Tribo emerged and search engines had made the content index model obsolete.

I returned to Manila in 1999 for a third and final tour as Director of the Regional Printing Center and was amazed at how the net had grow. In 2001 I was flattered to be recognized as a net pioneer at the "One Internet Day" 7th Anniversary seminar. That event gave me the opportunity to reconnect with Benjie Tan, who had worked at Network Communications/Moscom and was the guy who actually flipped the switch on the router which connected the Philippines to the net.

It was an interesting experience. I never made a centavo for all my net activities, but I got free 7 x 24 net access at a time when it was quite expensive and made many new friends. One of the best was Willy Gan, who unfortunately is no longer with us.

Chuck Gardner
cgardner@nova.org
May 2008

Gerry Alanguilan said...

I was so proud of my very first website, which I made by studing the help section of Netscape composer. It went up in August 1997, but sadly, not a trace of it exists at archive.org. I'll probably write about it in my main blog, but I won't have graphics to accompany it.

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