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 :)