It’s weird how, due to the Internet, one’s life gets influenced by remote strangers, more than we could have ever imagined. And I’m not just talking about famous world-changing guys such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin or Mark Zuckerberg. I’m also referring to the normal fellows who, with their minor contributions, ended up making a butterfly effect impact in the lives of others.I was skimming through my feed reader when I noticed an obituary post on Daring Fireball about Dean Allen. Didn’t ring any bell. But then a word stuck out: Textile. Which I remembered vividly because it was the markup language used by the first CMS I’ve ever installed for my blog: Textpattern. Both of them, it turns out, had been developed by Dean Allen circa 2002.
I loved Textpattern. I would had quit blogging very shortly after having started, had it not been for Textpattern. But Textpattern had a unique minimalist clean design that was gorgeous and extremely pleasurable to use. When I opened up a “new post” page I actually got inspired to write: write more, think more. Compared to other blogging CMS that I tried back then, it felt as the first iPhone against the other phones of its time.
Then Textpattern got behind technologically – it didn’t offer the same growing list of features that WordPress, the new kid on the block, offered (trackbacks, a growing community, hundreds of themes and plugins, etc). So at one time around 2007 I switched to Wordspress.
Things were not the same anymore. Inspiration didn’t come as often. Writing blog posts stopped being a pleasurable experience. I wrote less and less frequently, then I gave up. Maybe it was all because of the changes in the internet, maybe it was all because of myself, or maybe Textpattern also had an influence. All I know is that Textpattern played an important role for some time in my life, bringing me joy, inspiration, a couple of minutes of fame and several friends.
RIP, Dean Allen