Since Site Server 3.0! That’s before even codename “Tahoe”!
PICTURE IT: Toronto, the mid-1990s (I want to say the Atlanta Summer Olympics were about to happen?) … Venerable TV news anchor Lloyd Robertson appeared on a CTV News special program about this new thing called the World Wide Web. I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday Lloyd declaring that 100,000 new “web sites” were appearing every SINGLE DAY.
And just as clearly I remember asking: “what the crap is a ‘web site’?”
The next day I looked into the answer. And then the following week I dropped out of business school. The World Wide Web! This was THE FUTURE!
I obtained an introductory book on HTML and went to the CD-ROM Store on Danforth Avenue to pick up a shrink-wrapped copy of Hot Dog Pro by Sausage Software for the low price of CAD$99.00. I was on my way to being a pioneer in this new industry.
I choose my side (Microsoft) by blind chance
After a couple of years cutting my teeth on small-business websites, paying the bills by helping out in the family business, I got hired on by an IT consulting firm to redo their website (and entire corporate identity). The site was well received by the firm’s clients, a few of whom hired us to redo their own web presences. And this is the point in the story where fate takes a big hand: the IT firm I worked for happened to be a Microsoft shop, with all the training materials and Gold-Partner resources to learn Microsoft software development. I was told by the boss, “your web pages look nice. Now it’s time to make them actually do something useful.” At this point in history, the crossroads could just as easily have taken me over the the Java side. But instead, Active Server Pages became my new best friend.
Never really got the hang of components, though. Which meant a lot of VBScript in those .asp pages.
Codename “Tahoe” makes its auspicious debut in my life
Portals and intranets (1.0) were SO HOT RIGHT THEN (around 2000 or 2001). And so being a Microsoft BackOffice house, we started offering our services on Microsoft Site Server 3.0 web portals with a SQL Server 6.5 backend (good times). We also dabbled a bit with Digital Dashboards, which loaded up inside Outlook if I recall correctly. And then in February, 2001, or so I attended a Microsoft Office training event that changed EVERYTHING. FOREVER.
As part of the Office XP (yes, Office XP) release (I may have all these details wrong), we were introduced to the brand-new SERVER COMPONENT of Microsoft Office. It had been known as codename “Tahoe” until recently, but our instructor was proud to announce the new name: SharePoint Portal Server 2001. We were given a brief tour, after which I was compelled to turn to my companion and whisper:
“Well, this won’t last.”
And now, seventeen years, seven versions and a few hundred deployments later (anyone else remember the Web Storage System? Anyone?), we’re finally living here in the clouds.