I was trying to find some old sites of mine on Archive.org today. It’s quite fun to do that actually (for me anyway). Sadly I wasn’t able to retrieve my oldest website I ever created (which used to live at http://huizen.dds.nl/~zhemel). I remember I used to run a website listing free stuff on the internet (free websites, e-mail etc.) but sadly I forgot the name.
The oldest project (dating from 1999) I could find is ZEFNet Mail Center. zefnet.com was my first ever domain name (and I paid $35 for it using my dad’s credit card). The site it was hosting changed a lot and not many can be found back on archive.org, but ZEFNet Mail Center is still there. It was a service that allowed you to check your POP3 mailbox through the web. It used a free Perl script I found somewhere and changed and extended a lot, you could check multiple POP3 mailboxes from one account, it could translate messages through Babelfish, you could reply to messages, forward them and so on. It was probably my first project in Perl.
Another project I found dates from May 2000: Redirection Guide.Net which is one of my earlier serious projects. This was at the time that domains were still quite expensive. There were numerous services like CJB.net that could you a URL like http://yourname.cjb.net, there were others like http://come.to/yourname and so on. RedirectionGuide.net was a website that listed all those services so you could pick a name you liked. I wrote a Perl script that allowed you to start such a redirection service yourself, and released it under the name Lightning Redirector, it was the first Perl I ever released, it was quite nice. Had some features that other services didn’t have at that time and some people used it.
Then there’s YaBB of course. Sadly there are no retrievable versions of yabb.com.ru on archive.org. The earliest version of the website I could find is this one from October 2000, which is about 3 months after its initial release. Some other version can be found here. After a while we lost the yabb.org domain name to some porn site.
After YaBB ran for a while I turned ZEFNet in some attempt for a Dutch discussion site for web developers.
Then in 2002 it was time for ZefHemel.com. This is what it looked like at first. It was a set of static XHTML pages that were generated from some XML files at my PC run through a set of XSLT transformations and then FTPed onto the server. Quite nice actually.
Then in 2003 my site turned into a weblog. First using software called “b2” or something (if I remember correctly), then switching to my own-made software. And eventually switching to my current design (in 2004!? Oh god, that’s a long time) running WordPress.