20 years ago, the internet was not the same as it is today. It was, what should I say, much simpler since people didn’t have faster connections, or ultra fast PCs. It was an era where kids used to play in the lawn, and not Titanfall all day long on their consoles and PCs. There was a dial-up internet accessed by only a few who actually needed it.
Today, Microsoft went back in time and showed their fans the design of their first website 20 years ago. By today’s standards, one would not even open it because there’s nothing to please the eyes — no attractive graphics, no advance options, but hey folks, it was 20 years ago. At that time, it was managed by just one guy, Mark Ingalls, the first administrator of Microsoft.com. He says it was a heavy web page at that time, and would have taken some time to load on a normal dial-up connection.
“For most folks at home in that day and age, you would have been able to count to three or five before that picture showed up on your screen,” he says. “There wasn’t much for authoring tools. There was this thing called HTML that almost nobody knew.”
Later, Ingalls was joined by Steve Heaney to manage the site so he could get some relief. “Steve Heaney and I put together PERL scripts that handled a lot of these daily publishing duties for us,” he says. “For a while, we ran the site like a newspaper, where we published content twice a day. And if you missed the cutoff for the publishing deadline, you didn’t get it published until the next running of the presses, or however you want to term it.”
Today, it’s managed by almost 30 people who work on the homepage and make sure it’s up to date. Microsoft.com is one of the biggest websites on the planet, catering 20 to 30 million visits a month.
The webpage is still up for people who want to take a look at how the website worked 20 years ago. Take a look at the page here.