I first learned to programme (forgetting an unconsequential flirtation with BASIC in the early 80s on the Vic 20) in 2000. I had been working on websites for the last 5 years and I could deal with HTML but the actual programming and interaction of forms and data seemed beyond me.
In the autumn of 2000, almost by accident, I came up with an idea for a website and decided to learn PHP so I could build it. While I don’t regret doing that, the standard of my coding left something to be desired. I actually learned how to do it (wrong) from a particular book. This was the one. Even the front cover is evocative to me now. I remember that $29.99 seemed a lot to pay for such a thin book. But then again, if such a thin book could teach me how to do this, wasn’t that a good thing?
It actually took many nights of staying up learning stuff and plugging away. I’m still not sure if my partial programming knowledge (I had worked among programmers) was a help or a hindrance. Anyway, in March 2001 my site was ready and I unleashed it on the world. Incredibly people actually went to it! I announced it on a music mailing list of which I am a longtime member. The nascent blogging community picked it up and I probably had about 50 people linking into it within a week, and member numbers grew dramatically. And the site was kind of cool. Basic, but kind of cool. There wasn’t so much of this around back then remember. I then started this very blog just a few weeks later.
Anyway, as I said, my code seriously blew chunks. I had been putting off fixing it properly for many years (and this is in spite of having become a reasonable programmer in the meantime). Now in 2011, my programming career having pretty much come and gone, I have gone in and fixed it up? Why? Because the number of bots trashing my server pushed me over the edge. I have hardened the settings and had to reprogramme a bunch of things to get them to work at all.
Now, what I really need to do is update the whole concept of musicaltaste.com and remake the whole thing for the modern world. But one step at a time! In the meantime, touch wood, the thing is safe and will stay up there for a bit.