My Early Days of HTML

The web was born
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My Early Days of HTML

It was 1995-96 and I was a Sgt in the Marine Corps, I was an instructor at Damneck Virginia, teaching young Marines how to operate an ELINT collection system. We had all of our course material at the time written in a word processor called Enable. Enable was rough to work with, but back in those days, most things related to a computer were not as simple as they are today.

The one thing that the Gunner (CWO3) wanted me to do was to migrate certain course material from Enable to hypertext markup language (HTML). That was the first time I had ever heard of HTML and the first time I had ever worked with it. Though HTML had been around for years, it wasn’t popular like it is today, it was pretty much unheard of, but the Warrant Officer read about it in some magazine and wanted us to move to it. So I got a book from the local library and I taught myself HTML and got practice using it, by converting our documentation.

By the time I had finished that project, I was pretty good at it, if you can consider anything in 1994 HTML as being “good”. So I will say I was pretty proficient at it. I was asked to do some other HTML work for another group and I was goofing off at home with HTML, making silly little one-page “websites”. They weren’t really websites, they were more along the lines of pages hung off of a local dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS). Back in those days, you connected to the Internet via a dial-up modem at the breakneck speed of 14.4Kbps and if you were lucky you were able to upgrade to 28.8K or 56Kbps.

If you don’t know what a kbps is, that is kilobytes per second or 1,000 bytes per second (technically 1,024 bytes per second, today you are accustomed to connecting to the internet at mega or gigabytes per second. A megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes and a gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes. So, that means we were just shy of going backward, lol.

The local BBS had a pathway to the Internet, but the Internet was not what it is today. We are talking about hundreds of websites back then compared to millions of sites today. That meant that most of the time you hung out in your local BBS, chatting, playing games, and just hanging out. The BBS was what Facebook is today, except local and much smaller. On occasion, you would go out to the internet and use Yahoo! (the king of search engines, and Google wasn’t even thought of at that time) and search for something in research and that was about it.

It wasn’t for a few more years that I got asked to create my first commercial webpage and my web design business was born.

I was using Netscape Composer to design and everything was pure HTML with some Perl script mixed in. Things were very basic, but the tools really weren’t there yet to be cutting edge.

Sometimes I miss those simple days.

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