back in the daY!
I worked at yahoo from 1996 until 2009. No one seems to care that much about yahoo these days but from time to time I find some recollections amusing and telling with regards to the incredible development of the web since those early days.
In early 1996:
- Developers were as likely to know tcl as perl. Python was still pretty new, c++ compilers didn't seem fully baked. c was very popular
- It was still hard to install free operating systems on commodity computers. Yahoo ended up with freebsd because it was the one that installed on our hardware (yes, despite conflicting web lore, this is the definitive answer).
- Netscape was still a company, the only game in town for browsers, and users purchased the product.
- No one knew if advertising on the web would really work. Most of the early advertising was for adult sites. Yahoo served lots of adult ads on all site pages, and they often left nothing to the imagination.
- Our competitors were companies like infoseek and excite.
- Internet stocks, oddly enough, were flat or down that year as people doubted the potential of the model. It wasn't until late 1997 that internet stocks seemed to rocket.
- CSS didn't exist yet.
- Solaris was the most-used unix, and sun servers were common in what passed for colos.
- We had no notion of a private network - our developer machines were visible to the web and we often served live content from the boxes under our desks with programs running out of our home directories.
- We used rsh everywhere and later in 1997 were hacked for our ridiculously idiotic approach to security.
- Our "templating system" involved headers which stipulated a file to include and the number of bytes to count ahead to insert the file's data. Since we often miscounted this byte offset, many early yahoo page errors involved gibberish output.
- Microsoft was approaching its dictatorship and apple was a nonentity.
- Almost all home users accessed the internet by dialup.
last update 2011-04-16