In the late 1990s, in my final years of high school, I started collecting christian inspirational stories and poems (think “Footprints in the sand”), and distributing them to an email mailing list.
In 2000, my interest in coding / publishing (and my vast amounts of free time!) led me to build a CMS system, (PHP, mySQL, hosted with Dreamhost) to display and categorise this content, eventually gaining 20,000+ daily subscribers, with 900+ individual posts.
In many cases, I secured the original author’s consent to republish their stories. I developed a tagging system, printable/palmpilot versions of stories, subscription management, and an admin interface which drove it all.
Building “Coffee In The Rain” was a labour of love, which took significant amounts of personal time, and gave me a foundation in PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS, and fostered a love of writing and publishing.
Eventually my site was dwarfed by bigger, funded (and more experienced) content providers, including eGroups, who brought me in originally as an affiliated premium content partner. The partnership was cancelled when Yahoo! acquired eGroups (now Yahoo! Groups). I became too busy to maintain the site myself (it took several hours per day to manage), and so I eventually lost interest in adding fresh content, and left it online as a collection of static content.
I (regrettably) allowed the coffeeintherain.com domain to lapse, and ever since it’s been held by a domain squatter. The original interface and content can still be found using the WayBack Machine, but I’m sorry to say that I also lost / discarded all my original source code and data.