Entries:
Comments:
Posts:

Loading User Information from Channel 9

Something went wrong getting user information from Channel 9

Latest Achievement:

Loading User Information from MSDN

Something went wrong getting user information from MSDN

Visual Studio Achievements

Latest Achievement:

Loading Visual Studio Achievements

Something went wrong getting the Visual Studio Achievements

Expression - Part Three: Blend

Download

Right click “Save as…”

  • MP3 (Audio only)
  • WMV (WMV Video)
Expression Blend is the product that will directly bring designers and developers together.

A dev can put together a UI using Visual Studio and then ship it off to a designer who can then de-uglify it using Blend.

With Blend, a designer can actually load a VS solution file, so the integration is tight. Then, without mucking up any of the project's logic, the designer can take what is most likely an ugly eyesore and turn it into something beautiful and easy to use.

And, yeah - I'm being a little harsh on devs here, but let's be honest with ourselves... Over the years, devs have been doing everything. While that's fun, it's probably not the best thing for the users. Unless a dev also happens to be a designer (which isn't terribly common), users might be in danger of firing up some hideous beast of an application, covered with strangely shaped controls that don't line up, are oddly color-coded, and generally confuse more than they enable.

Do I sound bitter? A bit. Sure. But, I've been on the receiving end of a few of those apps, and it's a painful experience.

With Blend in the right hands, devs can focus on logic while designers focus on UI, and users can work without being tortured [6]

Tags:

Follow the Discussion

  • PerfectPhasePerfectPhase "This is not war, this is pest control!" - Dalek to Cyberman
    Does Blend have any Source Control features?
  • Should of called it Mash rhymes with Flash!Wink

    I did not see any of the original Sparkle team members.

    I think there is a story there--where are they now?

    This is the application I have been waiting for.

    Rory, please Let us see some more animations in a followup video demo and how they were created using Blend.


    For Blend, what is the programming language, C# and/or Visual Basic.NET?

    Do you code it in Visual Studio or can you stay in Blend and code and see the results?

    Also, what about games development with Blend?

    Please show more demos creating content with the Blend application!




    Cool
  • Blend outputs XML files. Treat them as any language source (plain old text).

    As far as accessing the source control product from within the product, I guess it will have some.  I personally prefer to use source control externally (SVN instead of source safe).
  • I haven't finished downloading the video to watch yet, but I have some questions about best practices.

    I have done quite a bit of experimenting with WPF, XAML and the current CTP of expression designer. I feel I 'get it' for the most part. I can do little demos and small simple apps all day long, but putting together a 'real' app seems rather intimidating. Part of me worries that WPF may be a bit 'early' in maturity in that the strong flexibility seems to correspond to the same flexibility that assembly language has.

    Is there anything coming down the road to reduce the repetitive and mundane low level effort needed to build a 'real' application?

  • Some answers to your questions:
    a) You can use the language of your choice - C# or VB.Net. Both are equally well supported.
    b) You use Visual Studio for coding purposed. Expression Blend has a XAML editor that lets you make quick edits where switching to Visual Studio can be time consuming, but all major coding tasks are better done in Visual Studio for v1 of Blend.
    c) Blend supports 2D vectors, images, video, audio, 3D content, etc.  So, yes, all the elements required for developing a game are present in WPF and Blend (and we do believe a WPF is a platform suitable for creation of a subset of games). But is unlikely that Halo 3 will be done in Blend Smiley.
    d) Yes, I hope Channel 9 does a follow up video with more hand-on experience with the tool.

    Thanks,
    -Unni
  • Expression Blend provides for Rapid Application Development exprience with WPF. The fact that Expression Blend (and Expression Design) user interfaces were done in WPF should give you confidence that the platform is ready. But you raise a good question - we def. need some good content and tutorials out there that preaches the best practices and let's you pick up the tool and the platform quickly. Hopefully that will shortly follow - not only from our team but from the broader audience out there.

    Thanks,
    -Unni
  • Thanks for the quick reply. Let me expand on it a bit.

    So far all I have seen is small little examples of what WPF apps might look like, with the exception of Blend and Design.

    The apps that are being shown in the web casts are horrid. Win32 looks a lot better.  You guys have done a great job, and I am sure 80% of your time has been spent re-iterating design instead of real UI coding (we acknowledge you are breaking new ground here), but I'm sure you'll be the first to admit that these apps are 20+ man years in the making.

    One nice looking app is the medical patient app demo.  Nicely done. But as you dig into it you find a huge amount of code+XAML and an app that probably has 10% of the functionality that it would need in the real world.  It staggers the mind to think what it would take to build the full application.  Is this the intent for WPF apps, limited to only large development efforts and budgets? Or is there something else happening within say, a year?

    I'm thinking about the bread and butter clients who need me to do a database app. Do I tell him that WPF is not really an option, yet? I guess to some extent, the idea that I need a dedicated UI designer (who is not a coder) already answers my question to some extent. I have never seen a budget that would include such a position. I guess I was hoping that I, as a coder, could make the switch to using WPF, but I guess that isn't going to happen soon.

  • The controls in WPF v1 do seem to be lacking some features that come by default in eg WinForms but no doubt 3rd parties will step in here. The thing that has been a concern though is that if WPF is quickly adopted there will inconsistent controls due to subtle implementation differences between control/component vendors. But that's not much different from today.

    I'd guess the vendors will probably go on to supply some Vista-like themes to their controls to save the business app dev from trying to do that.

  • PerfectPhasePerfectPhase "This is not war, this is pest control!" - Dalek to Cyberman
    spiked wrote:

    As far as accessing the source control product from within the product, I guess it will have some.  I personally prefer to use source control externally (SVN instead of source safe).


    We're using Team System, and it would be great to be able to branch the project have the designers work in the branch and then merge it all back together.  I know I can do it via an external client but it would be very nice to have it in the app.

    If it was designed to use MSSCCI then it could use TS/SS/SVN or whatever.

  • Richard Anthony HeinRichard.Hein Stay on Target
    "CONSUMMATE, I said, CONSUMMATE Vs!"  Big Smile
  • OK, I think I have it, but please don't shout at me...

    Expression Designer is for drawing those nice images that might say go on a button, or a maybe a background somewhere.

    Express Blend is the app that can use the output from Designer. Blend is the tool that will be used to create the WPF 'forms' a Windows app might use.

    Is that right? Perplexed

    Also, if Blend was used to design Blend, then what was the design process like. I mean, did the graphics artist work on say one Property panel at a time (the ones that are docked) ?

  • Alexei PavlovBlackTiger If you stumbled and fell down, it doesn't mean yet, that you're going in the wrong direction.
    It's not quite original, but... WOOOW! Cool.

    Unfortunately WPF slow as hell on my M205...
  • Please make VS looks like that Cool
  • Waleed El-BadryVBCoder Waleed El-Badry
    Nice job, can we have the samples that was in the demo?
  • I definitely think this is a big move for Microsoft but I disagree that Microsoft is "breaking ground" here.  Flash really started people going down different paths...  For example, I've been doing custom buttons in Flash for a while and Flash binds XML, today, in clever ways too.

    I think that like Java, which bundled available technology into an amazing, clean runtime, Microsoft did that here.

    Java, however, seems to have run into roadblocks but I don't get the feeling that Microsoft will get stuck.

    The Flash/WPF battle will be one to watch!
  • So you think designers can design userinterfaces - what a laugh. Designtools of awesome capabilities have been available for quite some time for web design - and the result has been some really odd designs.

    I think we are inn for a really bumpy ride - until the software business relearns that the only way to make something that works is to observe what works - and then copy it!

    Innovation and design may have its place in the software business - but compared to good communication and observation skills - it's not really important.

    Threre will be a few good user interface designers - and a zillion bad ones - and as usual it will take quite some time - if ever - to make management see the difference.

    The same is true for programmers - a few good ones and a zillion visual basic programmers [6]

  • my gut feeling about what microsoft is doing and where it is heading :
    first they ignore c++ community and admit that after few years then they say csharp and ispdotnet
    then they come up with expression this blend that

    these last tow words are special keywords in maya alias software

    the first thing they dont sound right as a developement environment words and they dont fit with the psychological profiles for developers

    why could not they carry on evolving visual studio rather than mutating it , mutation can be good for human evolution but it happens over many years , and the lasting trends tend to to be the ones that prove itself over time, but mutation for the sake of mutating in the development process can be risky. and that is what i see where microsoft is heading.
    i mean the logical way to go about this would be to create a separate application that does these graphics things and should be optional for the need of developers and desingners .

    you might say other wise but the fact is that microsoft will ignore traditional progression in trying to make the pretty cloned mutated pride accepted in the family of classical developers.

Remove this comment

Remove this thread

close

Comments Closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums,
or Contact Us and let us know.