Excel is like a gateway for learning to code for a lot of people. I built some terrible websites in the late 90s and into the early 2000s, but I stopped for years after the fall of Geocities. I just never really thought it was something I could do for work; I worked through trial and through dabbling with things like Flash I was quickly out of my depth. It was 'real' programming and I was just someone who worked in McDonalds.

It was making things in Excel that got be back into writing code.

Around 2007 I started to work in the head office of the reatail company I worked for, and part of my job was working with data that came from an IBM AS400 mainframe. It was possible to use VB in Excel to query data from this system to build spreadsheets that updated automatically. Google taught me what SQL was and how to use it, and my colleagues acted as if I'd just discovered fire.

From VB it was a small jump into Classic ASP which I used on the back end of a web based tool I decided to build. I could half remember how to use HTML and CSS, so why not give it a shot? What I wrote was definitely pretty poor technically, but the tool remains one of the best things I have ever made. It felt like mine. I wanted to build it, and no one really knew I was until it was unveiled and solved a problem.

I do what I do by chance. Remembering things from the past and using them in the present. I'd love to feel that way again.