Thanks @Olek I’ll check out those links. I guess I was wondering more about third party developments - like what were the critical outside pieces that needed to be ratcheted onto Zcash to make it useable, enjoyable, profitable, etc.
Maybe I should redo the post in the #3rdpartyapplications channel?
The most critical piece of Zcash usability was built-in from the start and that is its ability to exist in the current regulatory regime largely with regards to the travel rule. The ecc has spent a great deal of time and effort in educating lawmakers, law enforcement, CX people etc. about that over the past 6.5 years.
That said, early on (was sept '17 for me) it was rough but eventually Zecwallet products came along and really became heavily used. Their repos were very well maintained until only about a year ago or so when the main dev had to step away. LightwalletD is a 3rd party app that now underpins the light wallet infrastructure. Someone else could probably give you a more informed history about how that exactly played out but it enabled mobile payments w/o exposing a users node directy to the public which was the avenue of experimentation at the time. Nighthawk came, offered the best alternative to ZWL. NH is in active development and they now also maintain Zcashblockexplorer which for a while was the only one that supported the newest transaction format. There’ve been and are a lot more explorers obviously but i’m not sure of their individual histories (typically it’s like whatever works I think).
I am gleaning over a lot (sorry!) but ZWL and NH are probably like the two standouts I would pick that go way back