The Fairfax Experience

[951] Fairfax at Atlanta


In June 1996 Apple Computer Australia, Fairfax Publications, Brainwaave Communications, IBM, Comtech, Netscape began the Fairfax@Atlanta (1996) project.

In Australia, sport is a national pastime. Our sporting heroes are more revered than movie stars or rock musicians. Therefore, the Olympics is a 4 year feast to all sporting-mad Australians. Boxing, Cycling, Diving – and the list goes on – present a smorgasboard of viewing to the sports fan.

Fairfax Publications, one of the companies in the Fairfax empire (which includes The Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, The Age, Sunday Age and the Sun Herald), decided to marry the Internet with the Olympics.


was one of four Australian-team focused web sites. The nearest competitor was Inside Atlanta run by News Interactive, a company in the Murdoch News Corp empire. Other web sites were much smaller, and usually later with the news and information. Basically, it was a two horse race. As reported in Australian PCWEEK, Fairfax@Atlanta (1996) won gold for the Australian Olympic site.

Apple’s role and positioning was to gain experience with web-publishing on a grand scale; that is, outside of the PageMill/SiteMill level. Apple sponsored the site with my time (Nick Hodge) over a 5 week period; along with a bevy of hardware and software technology.

Initial analysis of the requirements of a “web publishing system” -and the intended volumes scared the hell out of me. No off-the-shelf tools exist for web publishing in this volume within this time scale.

Statistically, we finished up publishing 1,300 documents and 700+ pictures. On our peak days we began at 4:00am and completed work at about 2:00pm. Within this period, about 100 text items and 20 pictures were posted to the site. All links and structure were automatically generated as part of the publishing process.

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