Whither TopStyle?

I’ve had a number of questions lately concerning the future of TopStyle, which is understandable given that it’s been a year since TopStyle was updated.

The short answer: TopStyle will certainly be updated. Even though FeedDemon is getting more attention these days (since it’s new), the truth is that TopStyle sells more copies. And besides, I use TopStyle every day to maintain my site – so even if sales dried up, I’d keep it updated for my own use!

So why has it been so long since an update? My recent surgery aside, the biggest reason for the delay is that I spent several months working on TopStyle 4.0, and it was a disaster. The primary features I worked on were these:

  • Scripting (automation) through an exposed object model
  • Unicode support in the editor
  • Collapsible code sections
  • Extensible syntax highlighting and code completion for PHP and ASP
  • Extensible palette of snippets
  • Completely redesigned projects

Each of these features had been requested many times by customers, so I wanted to add all of them to version 4.0. Unfortunately, every one of these features – especially Unicode support – required making huge changes to TopStyle’s foundation. Adding them all at once to the existing code base was too much, and resulted in a ungodly mess of code that even I couldn’t use, let alone hand over to paying customers. In short, my first attempt at TopStyle Pro 4.0 was a failure.

So what now? Well, once I return to work I plan to continue development of FeedDemon 1.10 in parallel with TopStyle Pro 3.11, which will be a free upgrade from the current version. As the version number suggests, 3.11 will be primarily a bug-fix release. Once that’s out the door, I’ll start over with version 4.0, only this time with a more manageable set of improvements.

In the meantime, I’m just cocky enough to point out that despite the long delay, other web authoring tools are still playing catch-up with TopStyle Pro 3.10 even though it’s over a year old :)

13 thoughts on “Whither TopStyle?

  1. Nick, I just wanted to say that I’ve been an avid fan of your products ever since the first version of Homesite. My first (GeoCities) webpage was created using Homesite, and proudly displayed that “Made with Homesite 2.5” button that looked like a child’s crayon drawing – I loved it!
    Anyway, because of HS, I got into HTML – had I been forced to use Frontpage, or anything WYSIWYG for that matter – I probably would have given up on the spot. So you’re to blame for me having my current job as webmaster.
    Of course, you’re also to blame for me getting into CSS, both through HS and TopStyle. I tried using WestCiv’s CSS program, StyleMaster, for a while, but again, it was too WYSIWYG for me. So I’ve stuck with TopStyle for many years now, and can’t imagine working without it.
    Lastly, FeedDemon. I must admit you snagged me with this one, but didn’t keep me – through no fault of your own. FD got me into blog-reading, but since I’d be doing so from both work and home, my list would be terribly out of sync. So I’ve moved to the web-based solution Blog-Lines, which is satisfactory. There’s quite a number of FD features I wish it had though.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for all your time and effort – you’ve definitely influenced my life for the better!
    You have my prayers for a complete recovery – great to hear it’s been fairly smooth so far.

  2. That’s the beauty of building it right: when you do upgrade the code, it can be significant, since the current version is as solid as a rock. And good luck with the recovery. We all know that pain sucks; we just tend to forget.

  3. TopStyle was a dream come true for me while I was trying to get myself up-and-running in the sometimes difficult world of CSS and all. While a newer release would be welcome, I would prefer you taking your time with it because the current version is more than enough for most CSS-related issues for now. What are you going to do about CSS3?

  4. Glad to read you are recovering fine. I’m also happy to read that a bug-busting version of Topstyle is in the making. After trying everything else I always come back to TopStyle and could certainly do without a couple bugs that hit me all the time. While looking at the new features you had in mind for Topstyle 4 the PHP bit is what I’m waiting for. And now that you made the news about it, I better go back to the newsgroups to provide feedback ;) Take care.

  5. Hi Nick,
    I love Topstyle, I use it every day (Mo-Fr) serveral hours. I can’t work without it.
    The best thing to work with CSS!
    Thank your for this pice of work.
    “Double Kill” -> “Mega Kill” -> “Ultra Kill” -> “topstyle” *gg*

  6. Nick,
    First, I’m glad to hear that your surgery went well. As with many of your users (I think :) I’ve been using HomeSite since the early days. After Macromedia bought up Allaire though, it seems that it hasn’t progressed all that much. TopStyle, on the other hand, is HomeSite remixed, and I’m loving it!
    I have one request (for you blog and TopStyle) – If you would, in a future post about TopStyle 4.0 could you please detail if and how you plan on adding more features for coding HTML/XHTML? CSS is important, of course, since this was born as a CSS editor (again, I think :). However, since TopStyle Pro 3 seems to of added a lot of HTML editor functions I could finally ditch HomeSite! Hah! Anyway, I’m just curious, and very anxious. :)

  7. Nick,
    First, I’m glad to hear that your surgery went well. As with many of your users (I think :) I’ve been using HomeSite since the early days. After Macromedia bought up Allaire though, it seems that it hasn’t progressed all that much. TopStyle, on the other hand, is HomeSite remixed, and I’m loving it!
    I have one request (for you blog and TopStyle) – If you would, in a future post about TopStyle 4.0 could you please detail if and how you plan on adding more features for coding HTML/XHTML? CSS is important, of course, since this was born as a CSS editor (again, I think :). However, since TopStyle Pro 3 seems to of added a lot of HTML editor functions I could finally ditch HomeSite! Hah! Anyway, I’m just curious, and very anxious. :)

  8. Nick,
    First, I’m glad to hear that your surgery went well. As with many of your users (I think :) I’ve been using HomeSite since the early days. After Macromedia bought up Allaire though, it seems that it hasn’t progressed all that much. TopStyle, on the other hand, is HomeSite remixed, and I’m loving it!
    I have one request (for you blog and TopStyle) – If you would, in a future post about TopStyle 4.0 could you please detail if and how you plan on adding more features for coding HTML/XHTML? CSS is important, of course, since this was born as a CSS editor (again, I think :). However, since TopStyle Pro 3 seems to of added a lot of HTML editor functions I could finally ditch HomeSite! Hah! Anyway, I’m just curious, and very anxious. :)

  9. I started with WebEditPro YEARS ago. Of course, it fell off the face of the earth way back, and while I was still using it, it didn’t handle “new” stuff well (CSS anyone?), if at all. Then I spent a weekend (LITERALLY) googling for a new not-quite-but-sort-of-wysiwyg editor. (In other words, I can hand-code quite “handily” *snicker*, but a view to a kill is a nice thing too….) By the end of that weekend, I’d made TSP my own – probably the single time in 20 years of software-use-and-purchase that I’ve paid for a product after less than two hours of use.
    Nick, this is one SMOKIN’ program. I’m SO glad to hear that you’ll be updating it! Believe me, I will QUITE HAPPILY pay for the upgrade….

  10. You know the coolest thing of all this is the fact you’re honest about it. I hate it when Software Development companies give you a politically correct answer on why software isn’t updated or fixed (not saying your is broken/needs fixing etc).
    You get online, basically give the world a “well I tried, it failed so i am regrouping” which to me as a future customer reassures me that your products gets a better approval process before shooting off to market *cough* like some well known companies.
    Thanks for your honesty i guess.

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