You also had to wire your programmer on the circuit and then connect it to the PC using Parallel or Serial Ports.
When things got advanced, those Parallel and Serial Ports became hard to find. Even ready made programmers and DIY programmers started to be pain in the neck as they only worked with legacy technology PCs and Laptops.
Then the next generation of programmers came and it supported the more advanced USB ports.
Now you can program any chip with your USB programmer.
And then came the Arduino. It started a new age of embedded systems. New kits were introduced and there became new way of programming embedded chips.
Arduino made life much easier. Now you can make a DIY programmer for virtually any Microcontroller chip you like.
Just build the circuit, connect it to Arduino and then program your chip at once.
You can even make your circuit in Arduino Shield form that can fit on top of one of Arduino boards.
Here is how you can program Attiny Microcontroller and make it a standalone Arduino on a chip.
This Microcontroller as you know is from Atmel family and behaves exactly as Arduino.
So if you program it with Arduino firmware you can have your own small footprint Arduino.
Male Header Pins
1K resistor and LED
Arduino UNO or Mega
SoftwareThe best part is that you don't need any external software as a loader. You can actually use Arduino IDE as a firmware loader after you define Attiny chip on Arduino IDE.