December 1, 1995: EDN launches this site
Although May 1956 marked EDN's birth, December 1, 1995 was perhaps the second most significant day in its history. That was the day the EDN went online, launching http://www.ednmag.com.
Being owned by a large print publisher at the time, EDN was a little slow out of the gate when it came to going online. This often happens within large companies. After all, EDN was one of the larger publications at Cahners Publishing and the print edition was bringing in lots of money. Most issues ran over 250 pages every two weeks.
Realizing that a lack of web presence would hurt EDN in the long run, editor-in-chief Steve Leibson saw the writing on the wall.
"EE Times had already started its online presence," said Leibson when I recently asked him how EDN started online. "It took me several tries to convince management that we needed to get online. Finally, I adamantly argued that the top EE trade magazine in the world simply wasn't credible without a Web presence and certainly was not competitive with EETimes. Until I phrased it that way, the Website idea was dead."
At the time, EDN and my publication Test & Measurement World were part of Cahners Publishing. Both publications—especially EDN— were quite profitable and management didn't see the need to invest in a website.
"At the time, Leibson continued, "other magazines not in high-tech didn't need a Web presence, but EDN's audience invented the Web and was already using it." Editors at both EDN and T&MW publications knew that websites could be tremendous resources for readers. Indeed, both publications were running their own dialup bulletin-board systems where readers could download source code and communicate with editors.
Once Leibson convinced management that EDN needed to keep up with its competitors, the company made a substantial investment in the creation of ednmag.com. To the right is the ad announcing the web site that appeared in the November 25, 1995 issue. Below is a two-page spread that appeared in 1996 issue promoting the site.
Proof that EDN was a little slow getting online is evident by this site's original URL, ednmag.com. That's because edn.com was unavailable at the time. While we're not sure who owned that domain name then, but it's reasonable to assume that a competitor beat us to registering the name. Soon after the site launched, EDN began printing the URL in its issues. The last issue to show ednmag.com was July 11, 2002. The following issue, July 25, has edn.com on the cover.
The ad appearing in the November 23, 1995 issue states that as of January 1, 1996, the magazine's Website would carry articles dating back two years, covering 1994 and 1995. These articles are still on this site today. Why go back only two years? Leibson explained, "We didn't have the layout files for earlier editions. Prior to going online, there really was no reason to keep magazine layout files to convert to HTML. The objective and the product was, after all, print."
That's not to say that earlier articles haven't found their way to this site. In October 2016, we posted Clever techniques improve thermocouple measurements, a 1988 article by Jim Williams and Dan Strassberg's 1992 editorial Designing it wrong: the fax machine from hell. The text and graphics came from scanning the print articles.
Page 2 shows of views of how this site looked in previous iterations.