This month marks Philip Greenspun’s tenth year publishing on the web. Sometime in 1995, I stumbled across http://photo.net/~philg and proceeded to learn quite a bit about web publishing, photography, storytelling on the web, and eventually how databases and collaborative community spaces are built.
There are three or four people that shaped my learning about web technology and during a time where books on the subject were rare, it was due to these folks that I got jobs doing web things and created a number of personal sites and services. They were generous enough to share everything they learned along the way and I’ve tried my best to pass along my lessons to others. I remember reading every word of Philip’s guide to building a community site online and then buying a hardcopy when it was released. The book taught me how to view any potential site as a giant database that could be used by thousands. I used a lot of the ideas when planning out the mechanics and programming of MetaFilter and two years later I was getting accolades for the work inspired in part by this book.
I’ve put some effort into tracking down and personally thanking the folks that helped me out early on by publishing tutorials, but Philip was one I never got around to contacting. So thanks again Philip for all you’ve done and I hope to see you continue for ten years to come.