Martin Raag

Hello World!

September 12, 2019

It must have been about 19 years ago that I was gifted a children’s book about the internet. It was my first exposure, if not a particularly deep one, to the protocols and languages that drive so much of the world around us. Little did the 11 year old me know he had just had a glimpse of what would become his career and hobby for years to come.

Of particular interest was a chapter at the end of the book, that described the building blocks for websites. A sample of HTML and CSS was accompanied by a screenshot of the rendered page. There was no doubt - a website of my own had to be created.

Unfortunately, the book gave no instruction on exactly where one would enter this markup and stylesheet code. My view of the world at the time, formed by using Windows 95 and its successors, told me that there would be a special program designed for this task. Many frustrating hours were spent looking for said application and you can imagine the embarrassment when experimentation finally led me to Notepad. Still, it was at least an early lesson in the importance of good documentation.

The subsequent work resulted in one of those personal websites from the early days of the web that people like to reminisce about. Not particularly pretty, but endlessly more expressive than a social media profile. I did not have access to a digital camera, but wanted to include a photo for each member of my family on a dedicated page. The solution presented itself one night when I was digging through the recesses of the Windows file system - a favourite hobby of mine at the time. The first version of The Sims was kind enough to save a portrait of each character to disk as a bitmap image. Acquiring the photos then, would be as easy as creating a doppelgänger family in game.

That website was never released past the local area network of our home. And while a multitude of other projects did see the wider web, even before software development became a career, I never did return to the concept of a personal website. An increasing desire to write and social media fatigue has finally changed that. Almost 20 years after the first try then, my personal corner of the web is finally claimed.

Better late than never.

I write software, take photos and run.