Nick Bradbury says goodbye to the old Homesite.

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Nick Bradbury
(credit: Will Pate)

My friend, Nick Bradbury, writes about the discontinuation of HomeSite, an HTML editing software he developed before most people ever heard of HTML. He created the software in 1995 and sold it in 1997, so it has been a while since he’s been involved with the product. (After a few sales and corporate consolidations, the software ended up at Adobe.) Nonetheless, the announcement by Adobe provided Nick with the opportunity to reflect on the early days of the software’s development and how he depended greatly on the users of the product to shape it — something else he helped pioneer.

I especially like this quote:

“Sometimes in this blog I’ve made disparaging remarks about HomeSite, but that’s not because I disliked it. It’s just that it’s hard to look at something you created so long ago without seeing all the mistakes that you’ve learned not to make since then. I’m actually very proud of HomeSite, and very thankful that it enabled me to quit my job and work at home. And, funny enough, HomeSite is also what paid for the home I’m living in now.

I’ve never used HomeSite. Heck, I’ve never even used Windows. But I’m grateful for the software. Why? Because when Nick quit his job and started working at home, he decided that home would be in Nashville — making him the Jack White of web software developers.

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  • When I first moved to Boston, I was just learning about web development, armed with nothing but a clunky old computer — 4GB hard drive and all– sitting on my dining room table in my run-down apartment. I used FrontPage, struggling constantly with “Design” view (was there ever a more ironic designation? probably) as I built a small website for a working farm.

    A few weeks later I landed a job as an entry-level web developer with a major publishing house. My first day on the job, I was presented with two things: HomeSite and a huge stack of work.

    The menial work ebbed and flowed, but that copy of HomeSite went on to become a seminal, essential driving force in my career. I used it to learn HTML, CSS, and through it the art science of web development.

    After that first day on the job in August of 2000, I immediately got a copy for my home computer, and in the 9 years since, I have built and edited literally hundreds upon hundreds of web pages and websites using HomeSite. A file browser, some snytax highlighting, and a top-notch find and replace function: If those 3 simple yet beautiful features weren’t invented by HomeSite, they were certainly preserved and revered, as much as the web development world has changed during my time.

    I ate so many Smore’s pop tarts at that first job that I can still conjure up the taste of them whenever I see the familiar red globe logo of HomeSite. Hearing that it is gone means that the ancient, familiar HomeSite install folder saved on my “Programs” directory has become all the more valuable today.

    Thank you, HomeSite, and thank you Nick for building the tool that built the web.

  • Jason, comments like yours really make my day – it’s very gratifying to hear that you were able to create so much with the help of something I created. Thanks for taking the time to post here (and thanks, Rex, for posting in the first place)!