Celebrating 10 years of building great websites
Hi, my name is Andy Hudson and I’m the founding director of Hudson Berkley Reinhart, the business which I set up with my wife on 15th April 1998. I’d already been working in the industry for about a year by this time, and decided to take the plunge and set up my own internet design agency to provide dynamic websites and web based applications. To put this into some kind of perspective you need to remember a couple of things about 1998. Firstly this was still relatively early on in terms of consumer adoption, with many people still believing the Internet was no more than a passing fad. Secondly the majority of the websites out there in 1998 were of a static nature and a good deal of that was constructed by hobbyists and early pioneers who embraced the original ethos of the Internet which is sadly a little lacking in these more commercially enlighten times.
Back then we were primarily developing for IE 3 and Netscape 3 using HTML 3.2 and some Perl CGI scripts if you wanted to do anything fancy like post back the results of a form. However Microsoft had not long since released this brand new scripting technology called Active Server Pages which had just hit version 2.0 and combined with Access or SQL Server 6.0 if you could afford it, it provided a powerful and flexible means to deliver dynamic web based applications.
This looked interesting and with some existing background with Visual Basic seemed like the perfect route to go down and we kicked off with a site for the London Property News which had a pretty large circulation within London with all the major estate agents advertising their properties for both sale and rental.
We were also fortunate to have contracts with larger agencies such as US Web where we were proud to have been involved with projects for the likes of Compaq and Microsoft which certainly broadened our horizons no end.
Over the years we been lucky enough to work in a number of industry sectors, but perhaps our most prized work has been in the re-insurance sector where we have worked for the likes of Aon and JTL Re. The joy of building technically demanding applications never ceases to retain interest and provide satisfaction when you finally manage to pull it all off. Most of all, smaller clients tend to benefit from some of the experiences learnt and developed on these larger projects, so everyone wins in the end.
It’s always a pleasure to get recognition for our work and we’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of a couple of awards over the years. Derek Wyatt MP has won British Computer Society MP Website Awards for "Engagement" Category in 2007 and the New Statesman Best Web site 2006 Elected Representative Award. Bapchild has twice been the winner of the Information Technology Award in the Kent Village of the Year Competition in 2004 and 2005.
Fast forward ten years and the Internet has changed beyond all recognition. No longer does anyone need to be persuaded of its virtues. Online business is still showing growth year on year, and web based application are becoming ever more sophisticated. We’ve been in the Web 2.0 age now for a fair while now and technology is still moving forward faster than ever. We now have ASP.Net 3.5 with SQL Server 2008 and IIS 7.0 just round the corner, all of which allows us to develop web based applications that you could only dream of a few years ago. At times the pace of development is frighteningly fast, it’s a never ending carrousel of learning, which you can’t afford to get off for fear of never been able to get back on.
I’m sure the next ten years will prove equally as exciting and challenging and I look forward to building on our achievements and developing websites that will see our client base well placed for any future eventualities.