While sorting among old files in my web design folder, I found a .zip archive which contained a number of copies of static HTML websites that I have built throughout the years. Most versions of the different sites that my band Lagoona had were archived, and so were copies of my own and pesonal websites. I usually say that I have been a web designer since the summer of 2005, when I released my first free website template (andreas01). But the truth is that I have been building and running websites since 1997. Just not very well-coded websites, as the internet was quite a wild place back in those days.
Here is a screenshot of one of the oldest sites I found in the archives, the third version of my personal website. It was built and launched in 1998, and somewhat refreshed in 1999. The screenshot shows the site as it looked in the end of 1999. The design was created with nested tables and table cell backgrounds, and the footer text states that the site was optimized for Internet Explorer 4. Take a look:
Here are some screenshots of different versions of the official website Lagoona. We called each new version of the site a new “generation”. I remember it correctly, these are generations 4, 6, 8 and 10. First, the site back in 1998:
Second, the same site as it looked in the first half of 1999:
Later in 1999 the design was updated twice, and this is what the site looked like in the end of 1999:
During a long period in 2000-2002, we did not have any website of our own. Instead, we redirected all visitors to our music page on MP3.com. When we re-launched our website in 2002, it became the 10th and final version – and the version which was online for the longest time (2002-2004). This is what it looked like:
None of the sites shown above were built with web standards in mind. For most of the time, I used a combined visual editor and code editor (Frontpage being the one I remember that I used the most). The layouts were created with tables, often nested. But even considering the poor code, I can look back at these archived sites and feel that I do not need to be ashamed about their looks. I am even considering rebuilding a few of the designs as free templates, using the code quality I stick with today.
When browsing the old sites, I realized that we started using a blog-like format as early as July 1999. Five news entries, listed with timestamps and in reversed chronological order with older entries being moved to a yearly archive (which was also in reversed chronological order). While being a one-way communication and thus more of a diary than a blog by definition, it was earlier than I remembered. I have all entries posted in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004 stored. Some day, I will read them all – for the nostalgia value.
Those were great times, that gave me experiences and memories that have formed me as a person. I am happy that I found these copies, it feels a bit like finding a treasure chest for me personally…
This article was written by Andreas Viklund
Web designer, writer and the creative engine behind this website. Author of most of the free website templates, along with some of the WordPress themes.