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Dean Allen

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

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