Different Names for the Same Thing

As we gear up for the PDC, we've been spending a lot of time thinking about how to effectively communicate with a large group about the technologies we've been working on. This isn't just turning on the marketing engine or finding our inner-wordsmith. It's about condensing a lot of information and wanting to do so effectively.

Along those lines, I've been thinking about the best terminology to use to describe the process of using of control styles to change the look and feel of an app. Here's my take so far:

Around here, we generally say that "theming" refers to the system theme and "skinning" refers to changes to a specific app. This has helped to clarify our internal communication.

That said, I don't like the idea of "skinning" because it has a cheap connotation. It implies that you can just dress up a UI with a new look and add value. I guess the app might look better, but it undermines the real power of control styling.

The terminology I prefer is "customized visuals" or "customized control visuals." I think that this connotes the power that WPF gives you to own the user experience. On the other hand, it's wordy and definitely not catchy and no one immediately gets this like they do theming or skinning.

So that's the conundrum. Other suggestions? Maybe something with "chrome" (custom chrome, custom application chrome, rechrome?). Not crazy about those either. If you have thoughts, please share them. Right now I'm inclined to revisit the term "theming," maybe break it down into: application theming and system theming to clarify the context.


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