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Building Websites Since 1996

A note from our founder, Sara Whitford

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I've been building websites since the olden days - way back in 1996. I first learned during my senior year in college at NCSU when my dad called and asked me to learn how to make a website for his company, which had just opened a business that specialized in selling "Custom Built PCs." They were all the rage at the time!

This is my dad showing me his Commodore Vic-20 sometime circa 1983 or so. I've grown up around computers.

You want me to make a webpage?

I told him, "Daddy, I'm an English major. Not a computer science major!"

"You're smart," he said. "You'll figure it out."

I didn't have the first clue about creating a website. All I knew was how to get around on the limited number of websites available in 1996 by using what were, at the time, popular search engines like WebCrawler or Lycos... in a Netscape browser in a Unix lab at NCSU, no less.

My mom bought me my first PC when I was in 7th grade at Babbages at Crabtree Valley Mall. It was an Amstrad. I was most excited about getting Broderbund's Print Shop Software.

If you're old enough, you'll remember this...

Site best viewed in Netscape

Anyway, I decided I better buckle down and learn something about how "webpages" were made. I found a site with the full list of HTML tags and I printed them all out on my dot matrix printer. It took A LOT of paper, especially since they all just printed in one column.

I cut my eye teeth writing pure HTML. After that (in the late 90s and early 00s), I moved on to using WYSIWYG editors like Coffee Cup, Frontpage, and later, Dreamweaver. Then I learned CSS and became adept at writing DIV tags instead of TABLE tags, which was a step in the right direction towards mobile-responsiveness (and other really cool design effects).

Back in 2010, I started playing with CMS (Content Management System) platforms for creating websites. I ultimatey settled on the then-up-and-coming WordPress (the privately-hosted .org version, not the .com). I still say it's the best thing that's happened to website development in my nearly 30 years of web design.

Enjoy a trip down Internet Memory Lane

[Back in the day, I would've had a button right about here to let you listen to Journey's "Separate Ways" or some other cool song as you browse, but the Internet police decided to disable the ability of midi files to be played directly from browsers anymore. so lame]

The Beginning

World Wide Web (first ever website) (Internet Archive)

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