When a new version of an app or software tool is released today, we’re accustomed to endless marketing glitz. Update notifications and release notes at minimum; maybe even ads extolling the virtues of the latest and greatest features that you can’t possibly live without.

For new software, the awareness machine is cranked even harder. Videos. Social media campaigns. Billboards. Search Ads. Embedded video ads. The works.

Twenty years ago, the landscape was very different. There was advertising, sure, but nowhere near the scale of today. And, perhaps to celebrate the fact that Dean Allen’s newly created CMS was so small, nimble, lightweight, yet powerful – or perhaps because its creator was an eccentric genius – the fanfare surrounding the official birth of Textpattern was this:

Public Gamma 1.10 is up. I’m going to bed.

(from Textism)

That was it; the extent of the marketing campaign. Nothing more. Nothing less. A factual statement and an indicator that the road to reach it from the numerous alpha and beta releases throughout 2001 until its naming in 2003 and public release in 2004 had been arduous, yet worth it.

Since then, Textpattern has gone from strength to strength, and still we’re innovating. True to the form of Dean’s creation, we might not release a new version every few weeks like other CMSs, and we might not make as big a deal out of them. But each release is carefully crafted, built and tested for compatibility and performance. Even upgrades from fifteen-year-old versions go smoothly.

Pages are served lightning fast. Content and its presentation are still generally separated to make long-term maintenance and design refreshes a breeze. Alongside this, we have some truly unique and world-beating features to aid iterative site changes. And the clean and snappy administration interface still remains accessible to users of assistive technology – something we’re expanding with each successive version.

As Textpattern enters its twenty-first year and we’re gearing up for the 4.9.0 release – slated to be the last of the 4.x series – we all wish it a bright future and hope it continues to be the content management system of choice for enthusiasts, developers and lovers of the written word that it’s always been.

Happy Birthday, Textpattern.