CESPage 25th Anniversary
It would be late 1997 when I first had an idea for a website that would become CESPage that first went online in early 1998 on the Geocities service, which was a place where anyone could create their own website, and later in 1999 became CESPage.com when it was migrated to a dedicated hosting service and remains available to this day hosted on GitHub pages as it was in 2010. It was when I was 16 back in 1996 when I first got access to the world wide web, this was thanks to my school at the time having a relationship with Newcastle University where students could get access to the internet, I still remember the telephone number to this day - although won't state it here in case it is still used for something! I was only able to use the web for half an hour per day from 6pm when the cheaper landline costs kicked in and would have to use a 28.8kbps dial-up modem but was able to see many of the websites available at the time. It was after a year of browsing a web for those brief periods where the idea of launching my own website came to be, I wanted to learn how to write software and was finding a few resources but wanted to do something where I could start from the basics and then be taken step-by-step through those and wasn't quite finding what I needed, so I decided to do it myself and in late 1997 I started to put together what would become CESPage with my very first tutorial on Visual Basic for a Hello World example, in fact the screenshot of the code is from the very first line of code I wrote in Visual Basic 5 at the time and at the start of 1998 my website was live with this first tutorial as part of a Visual Basic website. I would add more tutorials over the next few weeks and months to help learn myself as well as to share what I was learning. There were not many websites like that at the time, so it grew in popularity, and I also was able to learn more from other websites with source code available and then share what I had learned from others too as well as re-launching the website as CESPage.com!
By the turn of the new millennium there was more to learn with the release of .NET from Microsoft and this meant learning Visual Basic .NET which involved the first code I wrote for that appearing in new tutorials I wrote and shared and took many examples from my original tutorials and updated those. .NET was evolving quickly, and I kept adding more tutorials and learning even more myself to be then able to share that with others. By the middle of the first decade of the new millennium I had dozens of tutorials from the original Visual Basic ones to many on Visual Basic .NET and that also marked the release of versions of Visual Studio that could be downloaded for free making it easier for developers to get started and an excuse to create new tutorials and made my website even more popular with people also wanting to learn those same new things. I also had other interests that I wanted to share so had also just launched a Mike Oldfield section of the website who I was and am still a fan of and Windows section which included content about Windows Vista plus Windows 7, along with an Xbox section of my website. In the Xbox section of my website I shared news of the original Xbox which had been around for some time by then but also the then upcoming Xbox 360, I had loads of information and images of the consoles and games and this section of the website proved very popular too. It was an article about my going to an event to play a demo of Halo 2 that brought the largest number of visitors with thousands of people craving information about that game with the article bringing them in! It was an amazing time, I added more content for the Xbox 360 throughout the lifetime of it, including creating my own graphics which I saw someone use in a local indoor market, it was amazing to see something I had created being used to help sell the console! I had access to some amazing resources that you only saw on the bigger websites and mine was popular too as a result. However, as the years went on it became harder to stand out so by the end of the first decade, I stopped adding new content about Xbox, but all that content is still there to view to this day on CESPage.com!
However, that wasn't the end of adding content to the website as by the end of the first decade of the new millennium there was a new platform I was learning to use as a developer with Silverlight so launched a brand-new part of the website for this with new tutorials where I could also learn and share what I was learning and later this was chosen to be the platform for Windows Phone 7 so I ported many of those tutorials and created many more along with helping me learn a new programming language of C# which I still use to this day but also marked the end of me using Visual Basic .NET in any meaningful way. I had also found another interest which I followed from start to finish which was about Zune where I shared press releases from when it was launched right up to not long before the end of the Zune, I shared many images and resources that were not seen in many places or outside of retail websites including some I don't think I saw anywhere else. Zune was a major interest for me at the time and still is even going so far as to create a digital coffee table book about it a couple of years ago at zunepedia.com! By the end of the first decade of the millennium was when I decided to no longer update the website as it had run its course and there were plenty of other sites doing the same things I had been doing, although I continued to write tutorials and eventually created a dedicated website of tutorialr.com and this year brought back the idea of my own website at rogueplanetoid.com but I'll always remember first creating a website twenty-five years ago and is great to have it still archived as it was when it ended on GitHub Pages available at CESPage.com!