I wrote one of the first social networking sites

Its not a claim to fame, or a preempt to a court case to a ‘big hitter’, but back in the year 2000, when I was a fledgling junior programmer, I wrote an ASP web site based around a bunch of ‘buddies’. You could add people to your list, message them, upload a picture (just the one) of yourself, and view other’s profiles.

This sounds very familiar, right?

It was called the fish-bar, and even had a .com domain… www.fish-bar.com – at the time, there was a big thing about brand names, so I wanted a small name that people could remember and was loosely connected with friends, socialising, etc. So the ‘bar’ was put into the name… The fish was just a random word… It worked well.

Unfortunately, the code was very clunky, and there was very little modular activity on it, but it worked, and for all its fault, security issues, etc, it was a working site and I had member (albeit only a dozen or so!)

The fish-bar used a dirty Microsoft Access database, and was built in Microsoft Active Server pages. I said before that it was clunky, and it was. It used very basic javascript, and there was absolutely no tests for SQL injections, or scripting hacks… But, members could sign up for free…

It went live in 2001 – and you can sort of see an archive of it at the way-back machine… (http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.fish-bar.com) – but it died a death in 2002 – but I can’t remember why. Perhaps I didn’t feel like renewing the domain name… Not sure…

It just goes to show, that anyone could’ve written a website that millions of people use, every day and get bought out by a major player with a team of developers and proper coding standards. If I’d kept up the coding and maintenance of the site it might have gone somewhere, or got me noticed by head hunters, or anything else.

We read stories of students selling their sites for millions of pounds, but I was not one of them.

I do still have some of the code that one of the guys at the wayback archive managed to send me, and I’ve uploaded it here, incase anyone wants to have a look and a laugh at how old and outdated it was. You can find the code here

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