Monday 20 July 2015 by Bert Garcia

Real or imaginary, art or fiction, the J. R. Hartley of Textpattern has graced websites for a decade. Would the real Donald Swain please stand up.

To any person who’s ever installed Textpattern, Donald Swain has been an enigma.

Textpattern's Donald Swain comment

On Wednesday, we mark 10 years of Donald Swain commenting “I enjoy your site very much”. But who is this Mr. Donald Swain, and why was he picked as the very first commenter on Textpattern?

To answer this question that has perplexed so many of us for so many years, I went rummaging through the Internet Archives for clues of that fateful day in 2005.

In the Textpattern 1.0rc4 txpsql.php file, there he was:

$create_sql[] = “INSERT INTO `”.PFX.“txp_discuss` VALUES (000001, 1, ‘Donald Swain’, ‘me@here.com’, ‘example.com’, ’127.0.0.1’, ’2005-07-22 14:11:32’, ‘I enjoy your site very much.’, 1)”;.

The date and time, I can only surmise, was when the above line was added to the txpsql.php file, which is dated 8/1/2005. Here we are 10 years later, the Textpattern 4.5.7 txpsql.php file has gone from Revision 704 to 5,881, and it still has Donald as the sole commenter, with the same date.

Wait it gets even better, 1.0rc4 is still the version number:

$create_sql[] = “INSERT INTO `”.PFX.“txp_prefs` VALUES (1, ‘version’, ‘1.0rc4’, 2, ‘publish’, ‘text_input’, 0, ‘’)”;

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Couldn’t resist, that’s what was playing in my head when comparing the txpsql.php files between 5,177 revisions. As a matter of fact, in 10 years, the Textpattern distribution hasn’t changed much from the days of Dean Allen.

So who is Donald Swain? Only Dean Cameron Allen knows for sure, but he’s not telling, it’s a well kept secret. From Dean’s last Tweet, “Buggerballs”, we can only surmise that Mr. Allen is balls deep into someone or something. His Textpattern project is still walking funny to this day.

[ Reprinted from TxpTag, with thanks ]