None of this would be possible without the efforts of Dan Nelsen. He's the who discovered how to communicate with the EEPROM chip in these remotes. He invented the first "Classic" interface and wrote the original software used to read and write to the EEPROM. Dan also made the source code to his software available (under a free distribution license), which meant that other developers could build on the work that he'd already done.
If the JP1 Project had a birthday, it would be 10/06/2000, that's the date of Dan's first post (under the name HWHackr) over at Remote Central giving some early details of what he had discovered. Here's the thread: 15-1994 JP1 details revealed