A decade of programming

While giving my website a new look I realised that it has been over a decade now that I got my first professional job as an Interaction Designer and not long after as a Front-end developer. I thought it would be cool to look back on techniques I used when I first started out.

Maybe as a fellow developer you can relate, or maybe you've been going at it for a lot longer time than I have... in another decade I will probably look back at this again and smile at how far we've come.

Editor

While in school I used Adobe Dreamweaver with the entire Adobe Suite (CS2/CS3 at the time, no cloud of course) to create code. But my interest for the web started a few years before I decided to pursue a career in it. I used Notepad++ before that time.

HTML

We were already using div elements (as opposed to creating pages with tables*). At several occasions I would use a HTML map to make certain parts of an image clickable, a technique I am not using anymore. Internet Explorer was all the struggle and we load specific stylesheets for specific IE versions.

<!--[if gt IE 6]>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="ie7-and-up.css" />
<![endif]-->

And introduce IE version specific classes just below the element so that we could target them with CSS.

<!--[if lt IE 7 ]> <html lang="en" class="ie6"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 7 ]> <html lang="en" class="ie7"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 8 ]> <html lang="en" class="ie8"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 9 ]> <html lang="en" class="ie9"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if (gt IE 9)|!(IE)]><!--> <html lang="en"> <!--<![endif]-->

*Though as a kid I did create my first webpages in HTML tables and remember having my first websites on Geocities and Freewebs.

CSS

Just plain old CSS, no preprocessing around that time (no Sass or Less) definitely no variables, everything sitting in one file!

Fonts

Before web fonts came around I was using sIFR and Cufón to load fonts on too webpages. Thankfully we have web fonts now.

Images

Super glad we have SVG, Canvas, WebP and so on these days, but when I first started out I used JPEG's, GIF's and PNG's. In Internet Explorer you had to watch out for PNG transparency problems. Some what later I started using image sprites to optimise for speed.

Flash

I remember Flash being all the the hype when I was in school, I first started out with AS2 and later switched to AS3. During my internships I created a number of a Flash programs. One of the first assignments on my first job was to create a small kids game for a big cinema brand.

Browser testing

Even though we didn't have as many browsers (and unfortunately no browser stack), different IE versions were a big pain in the ass. IE did not yet have developer tools, so we used a program called IEtester back then to test different IE browsers. I will never forget the amount of times that program crashed on me.

Versioning

At my first job we used TortoiseSVN to version our files, even though this worked fine back then, I am glad we have Git these days.

Content Management Systems

Some of the popular content management systems (CMS) that exist today also were around back then, but in my mind a lot more companies had their own CMS. These days it's pretty rare to spot a company running their own CMS, which is a good thing — since we have so many great open source options now.

Final note

I have probably forgotten a ton and might update this post as I remember more. On to the next decade!