Sep 04

Way back, when the Web was young and the number of World Wide Web sites in the whole World was counted in thousands, I built Australia’s first Web-based Diagnostic Results Reporting application. St.Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, where I worked then, had the benefit of it for a bunch of years after I left for greener pastures. It has long since been superseded by something better, slicker and more modern. Today’s state of the art is tomorrow’s museum piece …

While I am not usually given to bragging, I am proud of the application all the same, when I remember that it happened, which is not very often at all. It was recalled to me by a couple of people whom I met after a very long time, in the last couple of weeks, so I though I will see if the conference paper I submitted to the First Asia-Pacific World Wide Web Conference, held in Sydney in 1995, is still on line. Alas, Charles Sturt University, which, until about 6 months ago, hosted the conference papers, no longer hosts them. I am still amazed that it hosted them for so many years – more then 10 – and only now retired the site.

To preserve the paper for a bit longer, and show what the state of the art in web design looked like in 1995, I uploaded the paper to the blog site. Here it is, “St.Vincent’s Hospital Sydney – WebResults Project”: Some pictures are irretrievably gone – I don’t have the original material so some links are broken.

For these who are too young to remember, in 1993, when I started the project

  • The only way to design web pages was using a text editor and typing HTML (which graduated to version 2.0 half way through the project)
  • There was no such thing as Internet Explorer – in fact Microsoft was in the middle of creating “The Microsoft Network” in competition to the Internet – it never went very far
  • There was no such thing a Netscape Navigator – the only graphical web browser in existence was the Mosaic Browser from the National Center for Suppercomputing Applications (NCSA). A couple of the guys who built the Mosaic browser left to start Netscape and made a mint on it
  • There were two kinds of web servers – the CERN httpd and the NCSA httpd. The NCSA httpd eventually became the Appache Web Server
  • The only way for a Windows machine to connect to the Internet was to install the Trumpet Winsock TCP/IP stack, which Peter Tattam from Tasmania released to the World
  • There was no commercial anything on the Internet, no sites, no adds, no cookies,…
  • It was in 1995 at the First Asia-Apcific World Wide Web Conference in Sydney that I first saw Java and the HotJava Browser – while Java is still with us the HotJava Browser never go very far.

These were interesting days …

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