Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Textpattern 4.5

The topic of content management systems isn’t sexy anymore. Natural selection has pushed development illuminati to node.js, Rails and high-availability APIs that rival the complexity of London’s sewer system. Blogs are passe. Technorati shriveled to a Digg-like husk of its former glory. SXSW isn’t about microformats or RSS or hacking, but start-ups and VC pocket-picking. WordPress won the general popularity category, and now it’s a game of long-tail and niche.

In short, no one cares.

So it is with some quiet satisfaction that the content management system I started using eight years ago (seriously) is still plodding along with regular updates.

Version after version of Textpattern, starting from the hairy beta’s beta of RC3 into the new world of 4.x, has focused on stability, security and careful feature expansion that takes into serious consideration the extensive community-built plugin library. Never a revolution, never an upheaval. But that’s OK, because not once have I felt like a client’s website was in danger of imploding from an update or a gaping security hole via a plugin.

In all these updates, the UI has never changed. It’s been the same yellow, the same tabs, the same awkward dropshadows. It got to the point where people were writing convoluted admin themes to circumvent this. Complicating everything, the markup underpinning the admin interface was written in 2001-2002. Yes, tables.

So even though versions 4.0, 4.0.1, 4.0.2, 4.0.3, 4.0.4, 4.0.5, 4.0.6, 4.0.7, 4.0.8, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 and 4.4.1 were welcome — in fact, some brought functionality I actively celebrated — they never gained much ground on CMSs with more flashy interfaces.

Textpattern 4.5 is completely unlike those previous releases.

4.5 focuses on aesthetics, design, performance and modernity. The markup has been gutted and rebuilt, the skin is slicker, the actions are more responsive, and the whole thing is more mobile-friendly. I have deployed it to two client sites already and the feedback has been, predictably, bodacious.

The UI improvements go beyond article writing. Across the application, the team has squashed, trimmed and fixed those stupid inconsistencies and interface quirks that sent my OCD meter into Ludicrous Speed. The sections interface, plugin management, even the adding of categories is simpler, more intuitive, smarter.

Textpattern 4.5 interface

And of course there are tag improvements and security enhancements along with a host of clever API functionality for plugin developers that’s way over my head. But it all sounds cool and I am easily impressed by things like “publish/subscribe hub” and “txpAsyncForm”.

The whole product now feels better. In 2005 I declared Textpattern suitable for client sites, and this release delivers what clients have always wanted: a more user-friendly admin UI to complement the brawny functionality that’s made their websites so successful.

commentary + criticism


wrote the following on Saturday September 15, 2012

Textpattern was my first CMS that I used after it had been recommended by a savvy blogger. He new about it being in beta. I managed to get an early release. Which i used but with little success. Then I tried again when the first version came out. I mudled through a nd learned it with some success. Then I found a WP theme that had been ported to work with TxP:

* Connections Ported to Textpattern by Thame*
( which is no longer available)

Armed with this theme I made progress and I had my first Txp designed site! I have not changed that site since 2003. Will soon though, since i t’s a real kludge of a site!

Even though my first inclination is to use Expression Engine now, I stilll find many websites to do in Textpattern. I have relied on the “Textpattern Solutions” which gave the confidence to tackle more sophisticated TxP websites

I am really enjoying 4.5.1 and I am in the process of doing a new site in TXP.

It’s a CMS that delivers.


wrote the following on Saturday September 15, 2012

PS. Re my earlier post with regards to the txp theme that i used to cut my teeth learning Textpattern and that was ported from a WP theme by a “Thame” …

Well i have found “Thame” at and he is still deploying his site on Textpattern!

Happy coincidences.


wrote the following on Sunday September 16, 2012

Nice article. I love Textpattern. Its pretty awesome and I have the pleasure of using it for client sites at my place of work too.

I’m intrigued by that screenshot. How did you get a rich text editor in there?? Thanks :)

custom stickers

wrote the following on Thursday October 4, 2012

As originally identified by Les Smith, and readily acknowledged by several of us on the editorial team, Textpattern has a name recognition problem, and particularly how to write it correctly.

W at Off-Road Finance

wrote the following on Wednesday October 17, 2012

I’ve used WordPress for a long time with questionable results. I may have to give Textpattern a try some time and see how I like it.