WebReference.com: Lore | WebReference

WebReference.com: Lore

In the beginning, there was...

A Humble Hotlist

Back when domain names were free and Netscape didn't support tables, this site was born (1994). It started out as a humble hotlist, in a dusty corner of a development server on Andy King's home page. Used as a teaching aid for his new job at a Web site design firm, the site (then called Web-related Information) rapidly grew as his capabilities and interests expanded. He kept changing the name, he tried Webmaster's Meta-List. That lasted for about a month. In late July 1995 he arrived at the name Webmaster Reference Library.

The New Name: WebReference.com

In November he decided that now would be a good time to get the WRL its own domain name, wrl.com was taken, but webreference.com sounded pretty good, so he bought it. Around February he changed the name to the domain name, Webreference.com (WR), for better branding and to expand the scope of the site.

He's worked on WR ever since. The number of sites listed kept growing, passing the 800 mark in February. He stopped counting after that, he figured that it's not the amount, it's the quality of information he provides. He's getting pretty picky now, only including what he thinks are the best sites with the most useful content. He wrote an article about HTML 4.0 and Netscape 4.0. Feedback was terrific on the article so he kept on writing articles, some about graphics, some about HTML, and some about making Great Sites.

The New Look

Andy gave WR a new look, with help from his friend Bob the artist. They decided on a sleek spider-like logo. It looked pretty cool, almost evil. It may scare off people with arachnophobia, but hey, that's a small price to pay for some personality. He likes working with Bob Peyser. Bob's been a great help teaching him the intricacies of Photoshop, the importance of white space, and offering him creative ideas for the site. Brainstorming with Bob has helped make this site what it is today.

He made the controversial decision to use some Netscape extensions like <BODY TEXT> and <HR NOSHADE> after long arguments with Bob. He figured it wouldn't break other browsers, it looked cool, and it would spur people to write in and point out his hypocricy. We must be doing something right, check out the awards we've won and the press we've received.

The Content Providers

He keeps on tweaking the home page, and adding new content. He discovered that creating all the content himself was not scalable, so he decided to get some help. With a new business model in hand, Andy and Bob went looking for columnists, and some went looking for them. The new model worked, and they were showered with great content from all points of the globe. They were also showered with ads which took up much of their time. Mecklermedia called up and offered to make their lives easier, and after some negotiation, they relented. Breathing a collective sigh of relief, they can now concentrate on making the site great, and not worrying about fund-raising.

Andy decided to keep old versions of the home page, just in case. He put the major changes into the Evolution of a Home Page article, so users can see how the home page has changed over time, and explain why the design changes were made.

Updates, RSS Style

He decided this lore page needed updating. Since Nov. 1997, when then Mecklermedia, now internet.com, bought the site, the site has grown by leaps and bounds, ten-toupling its traffic, and amassing 8 content providers. The staff has grown too, with the addition of the talented Eric and Kate. They haven't rested on their laurels. They keep tweaking the home page, adding some DHTML news here, some WebToolz there, to keep those demanding Web geeks happy out there with something useful to play with. With Jonathan's help, they RSS'd the site, using this feather-weight XML format to update the front page, and spread the gospel of Web development throughout the land.

Open Everything

In the spirit of the Net, they've opened practically every script (except Peter's popular hierarchical menus) and stat up to the world, for the betterment of the Net and to foster innovation. They went on an automation spree, and put up free scripts for folks to use, stats on the site, and added a couple newsletters to the mix.


He convinced the power's that be to buy some prime domain real-estate, JavaScript.com and DHTML.com. He designed JavaScript.com, with Peter and Bob's help, and lately they've watched in amazement as Doc JavaScript, aka Tomer and Yehuda Shiran, have climbed the hit parade with their Tip-o-the-day, and tag-team content. Peter, our DHTML expert, has made an industry out of his nifty OS-like menus, and new experts are in the wings. Life is good.


We've designed WR to help you create great Web sites. To make finding things easier we've organized WR heirarchically, with the next page serving as the table of contents or site map. Our expert columnists write semiweekly how-tos on everything from 3D graphics to XML, to keep you up to speed on the latest techniques. Newer users should refer to our "Authoring" links area while more advanced developers can peruse the "Programming" area. Whatever your level of experience you should find something new and useful here. You can progress from basic Web and Internet tutorials through advanced techniques required for true Web mastery.

The Purpose of Webreference.com

To help educate people about the Web and Web authoring. To help foster the continued growth of the Web through an accurate, timely, and easy-to-use reference source that Web developers can use and contribute to. To raise the quality of content and design for all Web sites.

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Comments are welcome

Revised: Aug. 18, 2000

URL: https://www.webreference.com/lore.html