Today, April 20, marks the 8th birthday of ReadWriteWeb. Like a self-titled debut album, the first post on April 20, 2003 was simply titled: The Read/Write Web. It began: "The World Wide Web in 2003 is beginning to fulfil the hopes that Tim Berners-Lee had for it over 10 years ago when he created it." I started ReadWriteWeb as a way to explore Web technology. The first tagline was: "Richard MacManus' weblog about the Two-Way Web." This was well before the term 'web 2.0' came along, so back then I used Dave Winer's term two-way web to describe my interest. I was really referring to what's next on the Web, which I had a passion for and wanted to write about.

Ever wondered what RWW looked like 8 years ago? In this post I nostalgically look back on 8 years of homepage designs for ReadWriteWeb.

In 2003, it was just me, blogging in my proverbial pajamas after the day job (I was a Web Manager at the time). In 2011, ReadWriteWeb is a much different thing. It now has 17 people working for it, 13 of whom are full-time. And we're looking for more. Yet it's still based on the same principles: exploring new web technology with a passion. ReadWriteWeb was, and still is, focused on discovering and discussing what's next on the Web.

There are so many things different about the blogging environment in 2011, compared to 2003, that it would take an 8-part content series to list them all. Instead I'll just note that ReadWriteWeb has always been a two-way experience. A big part of why I started RWW in 2003 was to network with people building and writing the new Web. In 2011, it's two-way in a lot more ways. RWW readers can now tweet at or about us, have a conversation on our Facebook Page, comment on our site using a service that connects to other social media, and so much more.

Not to be too pitchy, but we're extending the two-way concept to ReadWriteWeb's 4th event: the two-day long 2WAY Summit in New York City on 13-14 June. I'm very excited about this event, because it's another way that RWW has extended itself since those humble beginnings in 2003. I'm also proud of the 6 channels that RWW now has under our umbrella, from ReadWriteEnterprise to ReadWriteMobile.

Here's a look back at some of the RWW designs over the years, starting from my own DIY efforts in 2003 to the much more professional touches of our tech stars Jared Smith and Tyler Gillies in 2011.

When I started in April 2003, ReadWriteWeb sported the default template of Dave Winer's blogging software Radio Userland.

Like many enthusiast bloggers, then and now, I started out doing everything myself - including the design work. The first proper design I did was in September 2003 and it was, believe it or not, green (well before the Other Green Tech Blog arrived on the scene).

Even greener! The version below is circa May, 2004. Not my best tagline work...

This version is an iteration from January, 2005 and featured giant pencils. Those were from one of my favorite artists, John Baldessari and his exhibition READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM (not where I got the name of the blog btw, that is explained in the debut RWW post).

RWW went red sometime around November 2005 - and that's been our color ever since! The image below is a later iteration of this:

The foundation of our current design went live over Christmas 2007:

For posterity, here is today's homepage design. And yes we will be doing a re-design this year, although I am rather fond of this design :)

I wrote most of the following words 3 years ago, on our fifth birthday. But it's as relevant today: thank you to all our readers, sponsors and supporters over the years. It continues to amaze me how many great people I meet through blogging, all over the world!