The BBC had first got online with a special Budget '97 website (but not Budget '95 or Budget '96) and then when Princess Diana died (and a strange 'Diana - One Year On' site too that almost no one knows about). There was also the little-remembered Politics 97 site too. Unfortunately the Election '97 site no longer exists.
But one of the first/earliest dated regular stories that I can find is from the second week of November which is when regular publishing appears to have started. And the 'Story ID' - the number before the .stm file in the URL is quite a low one.
For some reason though, I'm continually amused and always search for (when looking for an old style page), the 'Entertainment' story about the death of Julian Clary's dog from 1999.
The site at this time is 620 pixels wide, and stayed like this unti the end of 1999/beginning of 2000. By March 2002, the blue coloured had changed to red and a real first improvement on the site was made, bringing in the red colour which has stayed to this day.
One of the first stories that I remember reading on the website was for the crash of Concord. I remember being impressed by the litte 'world' graphics in the left hand nav which had only recently been introduced.
Later in 2002, a BBC-wide menu bar (in grey colour) had been added to the top,and the search box moved into the top bar as well. I still find it quite shocking to believe though that as recently as this year (2002 doesn't seem that old to me!) we were still using a fixed width of 600 pixels, hard aligned to the left hand side of the page.
And here's one you may have missed ... how the BBC covered the World Cup in 2002, with it's own special site - not a patch on the one we've recently had for 2010.
On the 19th February of this year, the site finally got an overdue re-design at the then editor Mike Smartt explained here. Pages are now 30% wider!
The hard-left edge still existed but we'd caught up with the modern times and dared to expand the width of the webpage to 760 pixels, appreciating that most people now had monitors to cope with such a 'wide' size!
This just may be one of the best pages on the BBC site, simply due to the amount of work put into it, and the way that it show exactly what happened. An interactive guide to what happened when police shot Jean Charles de Menezes. This took many hours of development work to put together, and it's really good.
On the 31st March 2008, the left-hand-edge was finally changed and moved to it be being centrally-justified with a lot more spacing. The site was now 1000 pixels wide, and after a trail of embedded flash-video stories on the site during 2007, regular video clips were now playable through the iPlayer.
And now in 2010 it's changing again. On 14th July 2010, it was changed again - the major thing being the loss of the vertical navigation bar, moved to horizontal instead. Site editor Steve Herrmann talks about why it's changing in his blog.
BBC News Online published a 10 years of the news website in December 2007.
BBC News Website since 1997
How the BBC news website has looked and changed over the years.
I've worked at the BBC since 1992, and joined the News Online techinical support team in 2004, which is where I still work today.