Renaming TopStyle?

First off, many thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post about TopStyle Lite. There are a lot of good ideas in these comments, one of which is the idea of renaming TopStyle Pro.

I’ve actually been thinking about renaming TopStyle Pro for quite a while, but given how many people know the name “TopStyle” I just never did it. The reason for the rename, of course, is that TopStyle is no longer just a style editor – it’s a full-blown xHTML editor with an emphasis on CSS.

Now, I don’t plan to ever change TopStyle’s focus on CSS. After all, the CSS tools are by far the biggest reason people use TopStyle. But its name just doesn’t reflect its feature set any more, and given the number of requests for even better HTML features, I’m wondering whether the next major release should coincide with a rename.

Comments?

48 thoughts on “Renaming TopStyle?

  1. I don’t think its a bad idea. I recently purchased TopStyle after I found out that it is a full (x)html editor. I was planning on buying it for my css needs, but didn’t really have the money for TopSytle Pro and an html editor. Lucky me I found out it that it’s an editor to. You have a bargain and a half in TS Pro.
    So, my first thought was to rename it to “TopSite” but that seems a little bland. So how about “SiteDemon”?

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  2. Actually, I’d rather re-brand the lite version. TopStyle is already such a well-recognized brand that it sounds hard to me to reach that recognition with a new name for the pro version.

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  3. A major release is the time to rename a product if you’re going to. The current name really doesn’t reflect what TopStyle has become.
    Naming a product is always h***. TopSite would be a logical progression, but given your other product, SiteDemon might make sense as Tim suggests, but… FeedDemon was of course a play on words, and seemingly harmless, but I’d be careful how far you go with that. I know from experience that there is a certain portion of your potential market who find words related to the Occult offensive for religious reasons. You can laugh but I worked under a CEO for a highly successful software firm that absolutely prohibited the use of the word “wizard” in the company because of his personal beliefs. That company would never have owned a copy of FeedDemon on his watch. FWIW.

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  4. I got one! I got one!
    Homesite :)
    Aw crap. Whatya mean someone else already used that one.
    Maybe HomeTopSiteDemon?

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  5. That’s a tricky one. Renaming the product loses any bult up brand recognition, but the current name really does fail to reflect the nature of the software. I hadn’t actually realised TopStyle was a full-featured XHTML editor until I talked to you at SxSW!

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  6. I agree with changing the name to put a little more focus on the other things that TopStyle can do but TopStyle is a well recognized and established brand.
    Changing the name people may not think that it does the css so well and that it has changed focus onto XHTML instead.

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  7. The migration of TopStyle to TopSite doesn’t lose much in brand recognition. Also, with the proliferation of the blogging community, word will spread fairly wide I’d imagine.
    TopSite is good. At a quick browse, it even looks close to the same as TopStyle. I think building off some of the key words your work is associated with (TopStyle, FeedDemon etc) will help in any transition.
    StyleSite? never mind, not as good at TopSite.

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  8. The important question is, can you get a domain name? Not for TopSite, I’m afraid.
    As to the arguments about the name not reflecting the task, the world is rife with applications names that don’t imply the function. Excel? Firefox? Opera? Real? We only know what those things are because we are already familiar with them.
    I think the existing branding is far more important.

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  9. I always thought “TopStyle” sounded goofy, like I was puttin’ on the ritz with a top hat and cane. Mind you, “Dreamweaver” is also corny, when you think about it, weaving gossamer code from my imagination. I like the ridiculously fascist sound of the “Total Commander” FTP/file managing program, which soulds cool when you say it like a Cylon.
    Losing your name recognition is dangerous, but I wouldn’t mind a name change. The “style” isn’t the only problem – the “top” is meaningless. Perhaps the name should concentrate on the code, as there’s no WYSIWYG going on whatsoever.
    Bradbury’s CodeDemon
    Bradbury’s CodeHammer
    Bradbury’s CodeBox
    Bradbury’s Hardcode
    Bradbury’s CodeBuilder
    help me out here…

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  10. SiteDemon gets my vote, but I also know what Robert means about the whole “demon” thing since I’ve already had complaints from people about FeedDemon. So, I guess this also rules out “SitePope” :)
    TopSite is good in that it sort of sounds like the existing name, yet it reflects the added features.

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  11. Just thought I’d comment that I really like the clean, friendly design of FeedDemon and TopStyle and the site too, and I think that branding every program as nounDemon would be a bit on the scary side. I think a more simple, but elegant name is in order.
    TopSite, TopCode or TopTag are pretty good, but maybe dropping the Top prefix and starting with something new would help.

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  12. TopSite… yeah that’s not bad actually :) Its kinda like TopStyle and HomeSite.
    Every time I tell people I use TopStyle, their response is always “Isnt that for css only?”. I’m sick of explaining that it isnt CSS only. I think the name change will do you more good than harm.

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  13. Name changes? Maybe you’ve been bitten by a Phoenix. I mean, Firebird. I mean FireFox.
    Seriously, I think that TopStyle CSX (or some other lettery, numbery acronym-ish thing) would be good. I recognize that you don’t want to rename TopStyle, but what if you change the names to
    TopStyle LT (Lite version, 50% fewer calories)
    TopStyle SLR (Single Lens Reflex, it’s a CSS, xHTML editor and camera in one)
    LT should definitely have some fashion of advertising in it to make you some cash. I’m sure you’re not out on the street corners in the evenings with a cardboard sign in hand, but I think you might consider that further – give the people 66% ads for whatever, and 33% ads for TopStyle CMS.

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  14. I like Jack Brewster’s comments above. I too think your “…existing branding is far more important.” Rather than focusing TopStyle as a tool to allow the author to create CSS styles, I would refocus the “style” to mean that TopStyle is a tool that allows you to create web sites that have a creative style, a healthy dose of panache. I would look at “style” as having a broader meaning that encompasses more than CSS alone. But I do think that Jack is correct in that you have established a well known name and brand with TopStyle. People identify with that brand already and it has a lot of value. I would be cautious about abandoning it.

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  15. I agree with those about brand recognition. This is the question you have to ask yourself… how many people don’t know topstyle is also a full blown HTML editor? Is it simply because of what the name implies? Or is there not enough marketing behind what it does? Frankly when I’ve seen banner ads for Topstyle… it says: HTML/XHTML/CSS. And besides… aren’t all web sites a style of something even if there is no CSS? Hey that website has a goth style, OR that website has a modern style. My only recommendation is that you ad some letters or words at the end, like others have suggested. ie. TopStyle Plus, TopStyle XH for XHTML.
    I leave you with this… what will ‘hurt’ you more I guess…. those trying to associate topstyle with it’s new name, or those realizing that TopStyle also does HTML. Which number will be greater?

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  16. P.S.: Attending a Macromedia conference a few years back, they asked the audience what MX stood for? The answer… Nothing! The marketing department said those two letters ‘looked good’ together. With that being said how about: TopStyle XM … or maybe they’ll think TopStyle is now capable of playing satellite radio…. :-)

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  17. I fully second the comment of Kevin Stecyk, the brand is so strong that Nick only has to enforce the perception of TS being more than a CSS Editor. There can be only one TopStyle ;), so I would opt for letting TS Lite run out. BTW, do you have a FeedDemon Lite Version? [Joking, for I’m a registered user of FD as well!]

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  18. I agree with Jack Brewster, Randy Peterman, and Kevin H. Stecyk. When I read that you wanted to show that it is a full blown XHTML editor immediately I thought, “Dreamweaver? What does that mean?”. The first time I heard the name Dreamweaver all I could think about was that song “Ooh dream weaver, I believe you can get me through the night” by Gary Wright. Anyone else? Anyway, I think if you are going through with a name change you should really consider Randy’s ideas.

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  19. How about TS ProCoder?
    it evolves from the abbreviated TopStyle and acknowledges the code (rather than wysiwg)nature of the beast.
    maybe it’s TS ProCoder 3.11 and then ProCoder 4 – sort of bridging the branding gap with two name changes…
    ?

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  20. What about adding on to the name rather than completely changing it? That way you won’t lose your brand name recognition, and you could further describe what your product does. Something like:
    TopStyle CSS/xHTML Editor
    TopStyle Web Developer

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with the name TopStyle, and it would be a shame to lose the identity you’ve gained with it.

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  21. I know I’ll probably be flamed for this comment, but honestly I still find HomeSite (as old in the tooth as it is) as the current choice for my XHTML editor. Now this may be due to my ignorance in using TopStyle Pro, but I don’t see any menu options/toolbars for tags. While I know XHTML very well, it’s still faster for me to click a few buttons (producing less errors) than bang everything out on the keyboard. I’ve played with TS Pro for a while as an XHTML editor and just don’t find it any easier to use – quite the opposite. I think this is one of the reasons why most people may not realize TS Pro does X/HTML.
    Sadly HomeSite’s future is languishing since Macromedia bought Allaire out (even using version 5.5). Currently, I’m looking at AceHTML Pro 6 to replace HS. I know you probably want to avoid making another HomeSite clone or diluting TS Pro by adding those features. I think that the single largest barrier to having most people use TS Pro for an X/HTML editor is that it is too radical a depature from what they are used too. Heck, I’d glady pay even more for a version of TS that has some of the old HS editing features!
    From a loyal owner user of your products since the HomeSite 2.0 days.

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  22. Just a suggestion:
    HotStyle
    It contains the H & T from hypertext and the style is retained.
    The TopSite idea is also good, but it’s too familiar with HomeSite imho.

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  23. Whatever the reasons were behind naming it Topstyle, and whether they are still valid or not, I think the name is now an established brand. A drastic change risks the need to re-establish the brand recognition. A name change will undermine people’s confidence in what they already know about Toptsyle, including those who know that it is more than just a CSS editor. Sometimes, a name is just a name. But if you insist on change, call it Topstyle +.

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  24. I like the comments about considering the “Style” part of TopStyle as an aesthetic thing, and not a CSS technology idea. Therefore …
    TopStyle KA
    KA = Kicks Donkey (well, not donkey…)
    [grin]

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  25. The program formerly known as TopStyle Pro?
    It would take geological time to kill the name TopStyle Lite since it is included in some of the most popular web development software ever made.
    Market share and mind share are very difficult to obtain and should not be tossed aside lightly.
    Having said that, I have a distinct aversion to the use of “Lite” to describe anything. I have less aversion to “Pro”, but not much. Modifiers, adjectives, adverbs – just a bunch of marketing speak which I truly dislike. I could get behind “TopStyle” and perhaps “TopStyle LE” (limited edition). Keep the name (trim the Pro) and come up with some accurate and non marketing speek catchy tag line.
    Regarding the notion that some people would not buy a product with “Demon” in its name, let them suffer with inferior tools. It is unlikely someone so narrow minded would produce a web site I am interested in seeing. Of course, that is easy for me to say since it is no coin from my pocket. Just my opinion…

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  26. I agree with the posts which state keep the name as TopStyle and drop the pro, and have “TopStyle Lite” as “TopStyle LE”. Also though i am not religous in any kind of way, i dont’ know why but there seems something weird about name everying thing XxxxDemon.
    Just my 2cents.

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  27. Nick, I think renaming Topstyle is a bad idea. We’re talking brand recognition that you’ve had for a looooooooooong time. The suggestions I have for you is to keep topstyle as it is and refocus the marketing to make sure that people know it’s CSS/XHTML.
    Or, perhaps to find merge Topstyle / FeedDemon into a ‘Developer’ studio and start branding that heavily (with a topstyle rename – Coding tool and the kitchen sink!). FeedDemon compliments any coding suite imho as it stresses ‘community knowledge’.
    The only thing I think you could do is to:
    * Strip Topstyle back down to a CSS editor and keep promoting that as Topstyle (drop the word ‘pro’ — I guess you have this already, TopStyle Lite).
    * Take the current Topstyle Pro and rebrand that to something new with the understanding that current TopStyle Pro users can upgrade (cheaply) to this new product (for perhaps version 4?).

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  28. Keep the name Topstyle Pro. Even though it is a full xHTML editor, i guess it still has a fairly professional audience. A namechange would not make a change anyway. I think Topstyle should never become the “Dreamweaver” alternative, it´s just a too different way of thinking (the one code based, the one WYSIWYG).
    Keep Topstyle!
    (Besides, i think “pro” makes a point ;-))

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  29. “After all, the CSS tools are by far the biggest reason people use TopStyle.”
    I’m not sure about that. Yes, css is an important part, but I mainly use Topstyle for xhtml editing (if all goes well, I only need to change the css files occasionally).

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  30. Hi all,
    Well, as we don’t know yet what TS Pro 4 ‘s gonna be, it’s hard to say if it’s gonna stay on the same product line.
    I wouldn’t mind a name change, as I think TSPro doesn’t compete with most of the other web-building softwares out there. It will never become as popular as DW, (that’s not the same market), so why not give a go at something else ? TopStyle lovers will remain loyal, as they’ve built a strong community (yes, we, pure and clean compliant code-mongers). We can therefore expect that the word will spread swiftly among the blogworld.
    And as for the others, well, that maybe time to create a new buzz and reach a few more market shares, providing that there is a strong and actual “meaning” behind its name.
    Here’s my 2 cents about the above-mentioned names (please forgive me if I forgot some in the way):
    Note : Please also note that I don’t want to sound rude or anything, it’s just like a poll. – Oh , and excuse my french ;-)
    SiteDemon > Quite like it, but sounds geeky to me (Unix’s Daemons)
    TopSite > 50/50
    Bradbury’s CodeBox (…) > I like the idea of your name being associated, in that there’s still a refferer, and CodeBox sounds not too serious but pro
    TopStyle CSX and LT > Reminds me of Adobe CS, Flash MX, some car models…
    TopStyle XM > same
    TS ProCoder > Like it, but a little bit too serious.
    HotStyle > Reminds me of HotMetal (+ HM Pro and XML…)
    Topstyle / FeedDemon into a ‘Developer’ studio : Not a bad idea, in terms of “added-value” and branding, but “STUDIO” is already everuwhere…
    WebStyle > Sounds oldish
    Well, I would personally go towards something actual and definitly opposed to “feedDEMON” (thus bringing an opposition : the former acting like a beast retrieving RSS flows at the speed of light, crawling the web, the latter bringing you a real peace of mind at coding, knowing your site will be as compliant and neat and forward thinking as one could gets, etc).
    “CODE” summarizes well I think the software’s main functions : wether it’s HTML, XHTML, CSS1, CSS2 or 3, it remains CODE.
    My list :
    CodeAngel
    CodeZen
    CodeForward
    CodeClean
    Just my 2 cents !
    Cheers
    Yann

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  31. I, as some other posters, think it’s better to stick to a well known name rather than switching.
    About “TopStyle” not reflecting that we are talking about a full blown xHTML-editor isn’t that big deal. As Jack pointed out, there are a lot of other products, both in the internet-world and outside it, that has names that has absolutely nothing to do with the intent of the product.
    I’ve been using TopStyle for 2 years. And I use it for PHP and xHTML coding, as well as CSS. But I found it when I was searching for a PHP editor, not a xHTML or a CSS editor. With good meta tags and good descriptions at download.com people will still find TopStyle, wether they are looking for a CSS editor or a xHTML editor.
    Changing the name will add confusion.
    That’s my guess at least :-)

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  32. Hi all
    The name “Topsite” strikes me as less dynamic than the word “Topstyle”. If CSS will soon fade into the background of conventional web technology and so become less prominent in the general community consciousness, it might make more sense to keep “Topstyle”. As others have noted, the brand is already established, which is a huge factor, and (at least for me) the word itself captures a nice sense of creative impulse.
    Nick, because you already use the word ‘demon’ for one product and conceivably it could migrate to other programs, it might be worth exploring what it actually means.
    Its definition, like most older words, has transformed over several thousand years. Demon, originally a Greek term, meant a supernatural creature (not a creator) who influenced a person. A demon’s purpose might be good. For example, Socrates felt inspired by his personal “daimon”. But the pagan concept also extended to uglier spirits with ill intentions.
    In surviving religions (including Christianity and Islam) as well as at least one other faith which was extremely influential in its time (Zoroastrianism), the word demon came to mean a messenger of evil, a malevolent counterpart to the angel. Today, someone who does not take the issue of good and bad spirits seriously may get a kick out of the power that radiates from the idea of demon. This individual has likely become aware of the numinous, that sense of spiritual strength which underlies all religion. Like Socrates, the person may be headed in a perfectly fine direction. But a spiritual neophyte can also toy psychologically with the supernatural power of malice itself without realising that he has entered the domain of a deadly enemy.
    Religious people who do believe in the concept of spiritual messengers usually find the word demon disgusting. Its history is unknown to the average Christian or Muslim. In any case, the concept of a malicious angel can only be deeply negative for anyone who thinks that ultimately the spiritual realm is not only real but dominant over the merely physical world.
    Ah, marketing. Almost as confusing as reality itself.

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  33. TopStyle is a great brand with good brad awareness and a strong following, which can be extended beyond CSS tools. Don’t leave existing and potential customers confused by junking it. Just market the features and benefits of the pro version over and above the lite version harder.

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  34. I’ve just begun to discover the HTML side of TopStyle. I’m finally getting pretty efficient in using it. At least for me, the tag tools were pretty well hidden.
    But, back to the name: You do need to retain the branding. I’d go with a compound name, something like TopStyle SP, for TopStyle SitePro, or some other defining suffix.
    Cheers ~ Phil

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  35. As a former user of TopStyle (went onto Linux for a while, now I’m coming back. Damn that corrupt CD :( ) I’d also go for keeping TopStyle as it is, but I do like the idea of renaming TopStyle Lite to “FreeStyle”. It’s cute, it’s describing what it is (“Free!”) and it sort of reminds me of Agent/FreeAgent. And I don’t think they ever had problems with branding :)

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  36. Don’t mess with your brand: you’re messing with your income!
    I’d look to perhaps create a more layered product. TopStyle “Lite” looks good for a CSS editor (and possibly a new revenue stream?). Then we just need a way to quickly establish the added value in the full product, something like, e.g.
    TopStyle XHTML
    TopStyle Pro XHTML
    TopStyle Plus
    TopStyle ProPlus
    TopStyle Pro (“we also do XHTML”)
    Obviously there’s a common theme in the first 8 characters…

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  37. I think that you should keep the name. Like Tony said, “Reputations and brands take years to build and moments to destroy.”
    Not to mention that all us “poor coders” like the sound of the phrase “TopStyle Lite” :)

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