Hazel was born in the winter of 1995, in the golden dawn of the Internet's commercial awakening. Infant startup Netsville had received requests from several local Rochester, NY clients regarding e-commerce.
Our first attempt was the first commercially available shopping cart on the Internet-- The Catalog Ordering System, or "COS." Written entirely in Perl, it provided a modular system for accepting orders over the web. While less than a dozen licenses for this particular incarnation were sold, thousands were downloaded through the "shareware" model. It provided valuable insight into what merchants wanted in a shopping cart.
Gathering all the comments and feature requests from COS, the Netsville techs quickly began work on an e-commerce system which could be sold and resold to clients and allow them maximum flexibility over the look and feel of their online offerings.
In early 1996, Netsville produced the first version of Hazel. Its core was a compiled `C' program to handle state tracking and session management, with the bulk of the actual "checkout" code written in Perl.
In March 1997, Hazel 2.0 was released, re-written entirely in `C' code. It featured the first versions of the HZML markup renderer, with a true template system and full design freedom.
In January 1998, Hazel 3.0 featured another major re-write of her code, althouh still written in `C' and fast as ever. Incremental updates followed in 1999, with the search engine, optioned products, softgoods and other features reaching a stable maturity with version 3.2.
Beta testing of Hazel 4.0 began in mid-2000. Major features of "H4" were a redesigned product search engine and enhanced plugin functionality. H4 has been in use by dozens of longtime Hazel customers since this time, receiving active real-world testing from thousands of shoppers.
Since 2000, Netsville has grown tremendously, and Hazel marketing slowed down as other aspects of her parent company developed rapidly. 2003 brings a redesign of the Hazel website and a new devotion to Netsville's favorite daughter!