John Gruber on Dean Allen

Dean Allen (RIP) introduced me to John, and we have become a good sounding board for each other since then.

Textism was such an achingly-good thing — an utterly personal website of exquisite writing and beautiful design. Unlike most who came from the print world — and Dean was a mightily talented print designer — Dean loved and truly got the web. He knew it wasn’t an ersatz throwaway stand-in for people too cheap to pay for the print edition of a magazine or newspaper. He knew the web was a wonderful new medium of its own, a glorious playground ripe for anything. Textism was well-paced.

Dean strove for perfection and often achieved it.


On the indie web of the early 2000s, Dean Allen was the man. There’s just no other way to put it. He did it better than anyone, week after week, post after post. And then he just walked away from it. For a while, the long-dormant home page of was replaced by a single word: “Retooling.” The thought that Textism might someday spring back to life made me downright giddy.