Show off your first app!

aspittel profile image Ali Spittel Updated on ・1 min read

I recently remembered the first web app that I built. It was part of my senior thesis in college -- I thought that adding a way to visualize the data I was working with would make the project more interactive and it would be able to reach more people.

It's far from perfect, and the version online is the second design and I also went through a big code refactor at some point.

I had also been writing code professionally as a software engineer for around a year when I wrote this (and was a computer science teaching assistant for a year before that), but it was just data science/analysis code instead of code for the web.

I learned a lot with the project, and a lot of that knowledge has carried over to work even recently!

The app is here: http://politicaldiscussion.herokuapp.com/! You can see the about page for more about it, and the source code is also linked in the footer!

What was your first app? Is it still online? Show it off below in the comments!

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Ali Spittel


Passionate about education, Python, JavaScript, and code art.


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Behold! The first website I built was when I was 12ish and managed a Age of Empires/Kings clan. I can't believe it is still there after 20+ years:

(Brace yourselves)

(No. Really. Brace yourself)


Curiously, the next time I did any web development was 15 years later xD


This is the beauty of the Web that I came here to see.


Tripods are still online?!?!? Now I wonder if mine are still there :)


I remember using yahoo geo cities to build a site many years ago. I would have been very happy at the time if it looked that good as that.


I accidentally hit wappalyser chrome extension button, it literally said "No technologies detected." xD


No technologies were used in the making of this website XDDD


It's so vintage!
I love minimal design :D


hahaha YES! If you were to describe this design with just one word it would definitely be minimalistic :D


A true hipster, ahead of the curve in the minimalism movement! He Marie Kondo-ed (or Kondomari) his whole website and disposed of anything that didn't spark joy ✨🙌


This makes me feel so many nostalgic emotions. Boss.


Behold! A client for Blogger. It allowed you to post to your blogs from the comfort of your desktop. I built this for MacOS Classic back in the day.

Blogger client app running on MacOS Classic

Also it has a cute splash screen:

iBlog splash screen

I miss doing desktop apps a lot.


What about building Electron Desktop apps? These days you might even be able to replicate most of the functionality in MacOS classic...


To be honest, I don't like Electron. You end up with multiple chrome engines running on the same machine wasting resources. I love web technologies but I'd rather use something less wasteful on the desktop. Thanks a lot for the reply though. I wish all those electron apps were sharing a runtime.


I recently built my first mobile app. I decided to learn react native by building a simple chess clock (for android). If you have an android phone, you can download the apk and check out the repo



I've been getting into React-Native recently myself. What was your biggest road-block to getting started?


My biggest road block was probably wasting time with video tutorials. I knew what I wanted to build before I started react native. The tutorials weren't helpful so as soon as I decided to just learn as I was building it, things went smoothly.

That's funny, because I struggle with a lot of that too. Often I'll watch video tutorials thinking they will help me as long as I follow along, but what I've been quickly realizing is that: 1. They often give me a false sense of security in thinking that I know more than I do since I'm familiar with how code should look like, and 2. that I enjoy watching those more as entertainment than as a learning tool.
I do find a lot of value in written material though.


My first real app was a tournament and game schedule administration for sport events of my local sports club. It was done with the MEAN stack and especially the backend contains a lot of spaghetti code and is the pure callback hell 😣 However I'm still proud of it ☺️ Check it out below

BerniWittmann / spielplanismaning

Spielplan Beachturniere Ismaning


GitHub version Code Climate Test Coverage

Spielplan - System für die Beachturniere in Ismaning


Hier findest du die Dokumentation

Build Status

Umgebung Build-Status
Testumgebung Build Status
Produktionsumgebung Build Status




npm install && bower install


gulp test

Server Start


gulp build

Lokal über gulp

gulp serve

oder für Serve aus dem dist

gulp serve:dist


npm start


  1. Neuen Branch von develop erstellen
  2. Änderungen in mehreren kleinen Commits auf Branch
  3. gulp versioning task ausführen
  4. push to origin (inkl. tags)
  5. Pull-Request erstellen
  6. Tests und Code-Analyse laufen automatisch. Pull-Request kann nur bei erfolgreichen Tests und nach Approval gemergt werden. Möglichst auch alle Code-Climate Issues beheben.
  7. Pull-Request mergen


Callback hell 😈 I know that feel :(


I developed a Stopwatch for Sony Small Apps API for Android in 2013. It is still live on Google Play with over 85K downloads.

Later, I made most of the code open source in the form of a library which is available on GitHub.

Stopwatch Small App



I've left this as a reminder how far have I come on my journey :) Not my first first project, as I wrote a bunch of Greasemonkey scripts for online browser games, but the first project after I've decided that I want to work as a developer for real :)


Was this for the freecodecamp.org curriculum?


I went through a lot of their course in my early days! It was such a good experience, and so empowering! It felt really nostalgic to see the tribute page again!
I've kept mine for posterity too! slothcrew.com/tribute/index.html


My first was for my dissertation for my first degree. I built a human rights NGO website with just a little knowledge of HTML, CSS and JS. My only regret is I wasn't aware of Git and Github so I've lost the files. 😢


The first actual web app I built solo was also my first solo professional web app. It was called Pagepooch and it was a price and page tracker - you'd submit a web page using a bookmarklet and it would either track the price of a product as it changed, or track changes to the page content. It was built with CodeIgniter 2 and had a companion Phonegap app.

It's no longer active but you can see it at web.archive.org/web/20130517174018...


I built my first app in x86 16-bit assembly when the OS looked like this:


or at best like this:


and had no multitasking. I built a resident (or TSR) text mode screenshot grabber one could invoke by a keypress and it would save a screen buffer to the floppy. Ancient stuff =)


My first TSR (that I let other people get their hands on) decremented the clock counter twice per tick. That meant that the Windows 3 screensaver clock appeared to run backwards. This was very clever, to my juvenile brain.


Back in those days the viruses were so innocent. Like playing a tune every day at 5 o'clock or flashing red frame around the screen once in a while. Not like ransomware of today :-[


My first published app... Something like 20 years ago..?

I wrote an application to allow an infrared remote to control playback of music on Winamp. Today, we can just talk to computers... But imagine two decades ago being able to control a computer from across the room. This was still the age of dialup computers. Almost nobody had a home network at all, wifi wasn't really a thing yet... But despite this, I gave people a tool to wirelessly control their media experiences!


One of the first sites I created was a one page site back in 2009. It showcased an internet puppet show call Tank Talk: The Shark and Ray Show, sponsored by The McWane Science Center in Alabama. Some of the shows are still on youtube: youtube.com/user/thesharkandrayshow

But it was just a simple one pager to display the youtube videos.

tank talk


I hesitate to even call it an app, as there is zero CRUD or backend of any kind. But it's the first thing I built in React, after which I started using React a whole lot more. The site is an interactive exploration of state-level tax data: statetaxindex.org

Screenshot of statetaxindex.org


After my first year of programming (at school), I created a 100% voice-drive children's game with .NET tech. It's the pinnacle of UI excellence 😜

Here's an old youtube video of me demoing it 🤷‍♂️


I didn't know you could do speech recognition back then. Very interesting 👍


Most tech we come across is usually actually pretty old - just wrapped up in a prettier package 😂


My first web app would have been a university assignment from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. As for my first Android app: Apocalypse Cow. Made primarily to learn some Java and OO programming, and to have a go at making a game.


Ironically enough, none of my early "apps" still work - if you take "app" in the modern sense to mean a web or mobile application. They all rely on combinations of Perl and C and CGIs and stuff. One I found mentions that it "should" work with the new Debian 3 and Internet Explorer 6. Too much hassle to try to sort that lot out.

The earliest thing I found that was self-contained, given to the world at large, and still runs, seems to be a game of 3d naughts and crosses ("tic-tac-toe" to some of you). You can download it for DOS from ftp.funet.fi where it seems to have been uploaded sometime in 1993. This may be a time period before you were born, but fear not. We had scared away most of the dinosaurs by the late 1970s. You can play it if you use something like DOSBox




The actual app doesn't even look too bad. But the code. Oh boy, the code. I switched the repo to private just so that people can't have a look at it



I believe it was a 3D wireframe X-Wing viewer I wrote on my Atari ST using GFA Basic circa 1990. I first designed the X-Wing on paper before writing all the coordinates in arrays. I then did some research and calculations on 3D coordinate systems, perspectives, etc. at my college library, and wrote conversion routines to display the X-Wing in wireframe. Lastly I added keybindings to change the perspective mode, move and rotate the model, and toggle anaglyph stereo mode.


This is such a cool topic. Thanks for posting it, Ali!

My first three web apps:

A faster, snappier way to snag the right emoji!
Screenshot of the main screen of Emojipedia²

Mobile app for tracking calorie & cost per meal.
Screenshot of the main screen of EatPayLove

Mobile copy-paste text templates.
Screenshot of the main screen of Pasta

I wrote a few other apps much longer ago, targeting MS-DOS (Batch files) and then Windows (VB6), but those are unfortunately lost to the graveyard of crashed hard drives. 😄


My first web app was FlyLog, a logbook for student pilots written in Rails.

I wrote it to remind me the real reason I was learning webdev, so that I can hopefully afford to get my Private Pilot's License one day 😂

Here's the blog post I wrote about it:



This was my first app a little silly, but it helped me learn a lot.

Title Screen
Game Selection


This was my first public release of something (before a long line of NDA's -which caused me not to release anything publicly again until much later):

In 2001 I released run-free (later updated in 2004). It was the first popular command line execution platform via GTK gui at the time. By 2005 having a command line execution 'thing' from X11 based systems was all the rage. But I did gain some popularity on freshmeat.net (defunct) back in the day.

The old c (original) and c++ (2004) code is hosted on sourceforge and mirrored on github.

It might be interesting to browse the sources these days for fun and to see how we published stuff 15 years ago+....

Here's a screenshot: run-free (2004)


Throughout Lambda School before we had build weeks we had to build a note taking app. The front end after the front end curriculum and the back end after the back end curriculum. I decided to style it up a bit extra after Google's note taking app Google Keep



Not the very first project I've built(that would be this) but definitely the first deployed full stack app I've ever built


The first thing I'd consider an "app", I built to make my job easier previous to being employed as a software developer.
It was a hideous mess of "clever" php spaghetti code, although as ugly as it was, it turned 30 minutes of manual effort to build a report into a single HTML form with less than 5 minutes of runtime.

Before long my various bosses had me building functionality for them and other departments.

About 2 years later I landed my first Software Engineer job at 29 years old. Better late than never!


One of the first apps I made and actually put online was a tool to practice advanced techniques for Super Smash Bros Melee on the Nintendo GameCube 🙈

I was a total noob at the time, both at SSBM and writing code, so the code is abysmal, but the tool was actually really useful. It's basically a metronome that plays a sound on when you should input a particular button to practice an advanced move or technique in the game, and it helps to develop the muscle memory for it. The coolest thing was that I could plugin my USB gamecube controller and practice.

I recently took it offline, but it got quite a lot of users in the first couple of years I put it online which was really cool to see and a massive confidence boost; it's really nice to make something that helps people and that people like to use to get better.



Wish I could but yahoo pages are long gone.

In a nutshell it was a web app for AIM/AOL "hackers" - build a small app that would change colors on AOL Chat. Shared vast html pages as "blog posts" on how to do stuff.

Yup I feel "old" now, just writing this ^ .


Starcraft 'clan' site using the game elements for the UI.

3 panel iframe (no borders! \o/) from HTML 3 I think it was. JS image mouse-over effect applied to the menu items.

Died sometime in 1997 / 1998.


Last year I started a coding bootcamp, sadly I couldn't finish it due to health issues, but I went back last November and this is the first web I made the second time I was there:


My first and only mobile app (which was based on an idea I had in school and then implemented a basic version in hardware with my friends in college) was Square Tic Tac Toe - not sure if it works fine on newer versions of Android

The idea when it started was simple - instead of same old making a line for Tic Tac Toe, make a square on 4x4 board. Am from ECE background, knew only programming basics and had Java as a subject in school days. Still, I had quit my job and had plenty of time on hand. The result was multiple 1000+ lines of spaghetti monster created over a year of coding, static and global variables all over the place, cannot create two objects of a class without crashing, etc. The game suffered from poor UI/UX and feature creep. Yet, I am proud that I was able to release a working game.

SquareBoard4Medium SquareBoard6Hard

To spice up Tic Tac Toe for higher board size, I introduced varying line sizes and blocking moves:


I tried to rewrite for public release, but lost interest. Only a small part of it is now present on Github - it has computer playing logic for generic NxN Tic Tac Toe board (with line size fixed at N)

For years, I've been wanting to take a shot at it again using Python (as a reason to learn Python GUI modules), who knows I might even take the first step this year.


I do remember three projects:

  • a tic-tac-toe game than never lost (it always starts first) it was a horrible code.
  • a Galaxy game, in turbo C++ (yeah TURBO C++), the cool part was we create another app to record the movements of the enemy ships
  • a Matrix Gauss Jordan Reduction Calculator, I was so proud of it, also written in C

My first app(the first that I took the courage to publish) is a simple note-taking app for Android. play.google.com/store/apps/details...
At the moment is all saved locally but I plan to include some online sync functionality in the future.
I also put together this text-editor textty.netlify.com/ because I didn't like the one I was currently using.


What a great site! Way better than mine. I haven't even touched mine in months, not even worthy of changing the default Surge name. 😅

Edit: Oh wow, everyone's first site is way better. Well, if you're new and wanting motivation, let introduce you to DIRTY-FAN.SURGE.SH 👺




Wanted to complete something for once instead of my usual "start and forget" approach to project. Played with Vue and Machine Learning and it was fun!

Nite that it is not my first ever project, but the first still available today.


I've always been a dabbler in coding, for 35+ years! Most of the things that I've written were small tools for work purposes, including log searching in C-Shell and AWK and form work in Microsoft Word using VBA.

One of the few non-work-related things that I did back in 2007 was a Javascript RPG die roller, which include photos that I took of my dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20). I still have the code, I should upload it to GitHub.


It's already online equimanthorn.byethost18.com

Equimanthorn - BATHORY en Español

Since 1997 when I was learning PHP + MySQL and a lot of Frames 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️


Hi Ali ^^
My first real app is effected keybooard, it's a keyboard that visualise your typing on phone as you type. It's still available on the google play store and available for download, you can see it here [link below] it's not yet complete with full animations, but it's super comfortable keyboard if you're using Android with vim like experience. Feel free to download and comment below as well: [btw I'm glad you're writing L]



I guess my first 'app' would be my Gulp workflow. I don't really feel like that's an app, it was more the outline of making a future app. You'd have to fork it and run it. You can't get to it from a page.

My first app, I feel is, React HIIT Timer. That one is more accessible to people and I feel encompasses the beginning of an actual app.


My first project is a simple clock application which will show the time in words for every five minutes.

project link

It was developed using html, css, JavaScript, jQuery


My first ever live website (it's not really an 'app') was an events website I did at work in 2002 (I worked as a web editor then): HTML and CSS only, tables for layout, scrolling marquee (eek...), no JS or back-end. I had only started learning HTML and CSS about a year before, using 'View source' and Notepad.
It's no longer live but the Wayback Machine never forgets:)


My first application was FastFlick, built during some year in college, can't remember when.



I've always been the type of programmer to build stuff I want to dogfood and always keeping the human in mind. If my software was hard to use, nobody will use it I always thought to myself - still do.

It's fun checking out my first project! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


My first was Garfield of the day about 18 years ago. It was never online, only ran it on a local server at work.

I had no idea what I was doing, used it to learn php. Each day a new Garfield comic was published on garfield.com. Filename was YYYY-MM-DD so I used date functions to construct the filename and display the comic in an image tag. Then I added prev and next buttons and date input so I could navigate between different comics.


I made a page showcasing awesome Madden NFL '99 trades that I had figured out when I was 15 years old in 1999. After not doing any web development for 19 years, I took a Code Academy course two months ago and have since made the two following sites using React and Firebase Back-End Architecture:




I am a bit obsessive.


This is my first and first program that can be online.

Before I entered the programmer community, I was very proud to be able to make a small program that could be online. But now I'm embarrassed myself, because it turns out my program is just a dust among the programs that I know.

But I'm proud too, because I am among great people. Let's see who are the contributors at github.com and I am among them.


The first one I remember building was for practicing different gender pronouns. Here's the first version of it: practice-with-pronouns.herokuapp.com

Getting the "__ is"/"__ are" radio buttons to fill in with the first-person singular pronoun of choice is the first thing I remember ever doing with JavaScript. Still feels magical.

I rewrote it a while later to be front-end-only with React so as not to have to pay for hosting: practicewithpronouns.com


A few years ago I wanted to learn more about angular so I built an app with ionic called Project Name Generator. Ironically, the idea came about as I couldn’t think of a name for my project. I think it’s still available on Google Play.


Being the huge fan of Frank Ocean that I am, I made a Frank Ocean twitter bot to tweet random Frank Ocean lyrics every 2-ish hours. I had just learned databases more in-depth, so I was looking to see how I could connect code to a database, and this is what spawned. The code is very bad, but I was very proud of it!

Github link


Aside from little things in school during CS, my first App, which was completly mine, was a small countdown timer, written in Delphi.
During my studies, I just met my future wife. But soon after we met, she left for home over the semester break.
I was (and still am 15 years later) fully in love and couldn‘t wait for us to see each other again. So I sat down and wrote that little countdown timer, to show me, how much waiting was still ahead.

The hardest part was, to make the title in the task bar change, even when it was minimized. I had no idea of events and background threads at the time and learned quite a bit, since it was also my first app in Delphi.

I don‘t have it anymore. And I guess I would do the same thing now in about an hour or two. But I still think fondly of it.


This is the first thing I made, and it was recent - a Glitch remix to help you generate file or project names... coming from someone with one too many “hdiekwjwi.ext” files on her computer: simple-danger.glitch.me/

I wish Geocities was still up for me to recover my first forays into HTML!


The first app I ever made when I was teaching myself how to code was WaterCoolerMeetings.com. Bootstrapped all the way! The purpose was to link people looking for advice with industry professionals. Think linkedin but with the goal to be in person meetings.


Behold! The first website I built to help non-native English speakers can do some quiz about grammar, vocabulary, etc..