Bye Bye myBBC.
Seven days ago something monumental happened. Not quite sure what it was, but I’m sure something did. Somewhere. And on that same day on 11 March 2003, myBBC was turned off.
myBBC was the BBC’s personalisation website, where users could customise a page and fill it with a snippets of a variety of BBC content, be it news, sport, TV and radio listings, soap opera news, Top 40 hits, Film listings and even horoscopes.
It was also my first big project at what was then BBC Online.
Cue the wavey time travel lines visual effects.
I joined the BBC in January 2000 and after spending a few weeks not doing very much as I settled in, I did a bit of work on the EastEnders site before being thrust into a huge project.
At the time most of the work done was centered around building flat web pages for people to put content into, and to this day my boss will tell me he wasn’t happy putting me onto such a huge project after starting at the place just a few weeks before.
But despite that, myBBC was to be a baptism of fire. It was however a great project to work on. We had (amazingly) no editorial influence on the project, and everything was pretty much decided and developed by the project team (consisting of a designer, four Perl developers, a project manager and myself). Most of us were even new to the BBC.
But an enjoyable project it was, and we came out with something that whilst not revolutionary (Yahoo and Lycos had done it before), looked far far better. Plus I’d got to break some of the BBC’s strict coding rules (by using CSS to set colours) whilst I was at it – with good reason too, but it took over 2 years before doing the same thing would be accepted on normal sites!
And there it was, gone.
Not only was myBBC my first big project at the BBC, it’s also the first one to be decommisioned and not replaced.
Now there is lots of work I’ve done at the Beeb that’s not around any more.
Some of it was only temporary, for time based sites. They have obviously gone.
Some of it has been replaced with the original code being thrown away, whilst others have been replaced with bits of my code still floating around behind the scenes. Things change. Apparently it’s called progress.
Some of it never even launched in the first place! Best leave that at that!
But myBBC is the first one I worked on to be laid to rest and not replaced, after 3 years service.
Bye bye then.
The reasons for its departure are many, and I understand completely why it had to go. But that didn’t stop me feeling rather sad as the site was taken down and replaced by the closed sign.
It wasn’t the perfect system by any means, but it will always hold a little place in my heart. It may be gone, but it won’t be forgotten. By me anyway.