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So, what's up with the Expression suite?

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  • User profile image
    giovanni

    Given the emphasis Microsoft has put on the "design" side of things (apparently we cannot call that Metro anymore), I am surprised I have not heard much about the new suite of Expression tools (Expression 5 I believe). Is there a Beta program? Any announcement I missed?

    In my opinion Expression Web and Blend have a nice designer approach that is missing from Visual Studio, I would be surprised they are dumped altogether with the investments Microsoft is making to make sure developers can create beautiful apps.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @giovanni: I hope they simply put the Expression designer inside of Visual Studio. For shops that don't have a separate team of designers, having two separate apps makes no sense.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    @spivonious: +1

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @spivonious: @JohnAskew: indeed, but I think the beta is out and I saw nothing that seems to point in that direction...

  • User profile image
    ryanb

    There have been a number of videos at Build and since then showing off previews of the updates in Blend 5.  I haven't heard when the new Expression will be available (probably soon), but the division of labor with VS is the same: Blend for design work, VS for code.  They did move a bunch of the tools into the VS editor, but the Blend designer is not going to be in VS.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @ryanb: I found the preview of Blend 5, but I have not heard anything about Expression Web and considering the investments in HTML 5, it sounds strange that there is nothing new under the cover.

  • User profile image
    ryanb

    @giovanni: I haven't heard anything about Expression Web (but I haven't been looking).  Surely there will be significant updates to that for HTML5, etc.  What parts of that make it into VS is a good question, considering the push for HTML app development.  Maybe more will be added to VS after launch.

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    Yeah, I can't picture using VS2012 in "blend mode". I don't know about anyone else, but I have two 23" screens here at work, and with Expression blend 4 I have Blend on the right screen with the full design surface, and the entire left screen is full of the windows. Objects/timeline, Properties, Visual states, etc.

  • User profile image
    cdwise

    If they put Expression Web into Visual Studio I'll go back to being a full time Dreamweaver user for all my designing. Visual Studio is a very good IDE for DEVELOPERS. While I can and do write php and asp.net my primary focus is front end web design and development. Visual Studio is not an IDE I will ever be comfortable with. It already has quite a bit of the Expression Web design surface in it but Visual Studio is too developer orieinted to be successful with front end web designer/developers. who are not "application develpers".

    Microsoft has been very quiet about Ezpression Web 5 and the only information I have been able to find is regardin the Expression Blend 5 beta. Blend to me is more like using Flash or Fash Catalyst. It is very good for applications but not good for site design. If Microsoft intends to compete with Adobe for front-end developers and designers they cannot rely on Visual Studio or Blend, neither of which is any competition to Dreamweaver.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @cdwise: Interesting. As a developer, Dreamweaver gives me the heebie-jeebies. I've played with it a few times, but it always ends up being faster to do things by hand.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @cdwise: They could still keep it as a standalone product too. I'm more interested in getting the Blend WPF designer into Visual Studio.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    Maybe Expression Web will continue as Web Matrix.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    , ZippyV wrote

    Maybe Expression Web will continue as Web Matrix.

    I think Expression will go the same way as Silverlight. WPF was what the Expression suite was about, and since WPF is no longer important in Windows 8, Microsoft will not invest any more money.

    I think you may have Expression Web launched as a separate product with a focus on HTML5, any of their desktop products like Expression Suite are now legacy, as tablets and phones are what it is all about.

    Microsoft's official line will be "we will continue to support yada yada yada...just like winforms" but this is now a dead software suite. It is as dead as a doornail.

     

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @vesuvius: I'm not so convinced, Expression was all about XAML and that's even more important in Windows 8 than it ever has been.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @AndyC: this is why I am surprised we have not heard much about it.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    , AndyC wrote

    @vesuvius: I'm not so convinced, Expression was all about XAML and that's even more important in Windows 8 than it ever has been.

    In WPF the XAML was about users creating their own differentiated and customized XAML, but in Windows 8, they have done a lot of the hard work for you, adding a boatload of animations, effects, and styles that you can use. This - effectively - removes the need for designers in 80% of application developers use cases, and since blend is written in WPF, that now is also no longer supported.

    I think it is becoming quite apparent to the Developer Division that Windows 8 has removed years worth of application development in a number of their products, and in Windows 8, we are in effect where we were with WPF in .NET 3.0 requiring another two releases before it is usable, and just when WPF starts to become adopted, it gets thrown out.

    The sales figures for Visual Studio are going to make very interesting reading in a few months time.

     

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    , vesuvius wrote

    *snip*

    I think Expression will go the same way as Silverlight. WPF was what the Expression suite was about, and since WPF is no longer important in Windows 8, Microsoft will not invest any more money.

    I think you may have Expression Web launched as a separate product with a focus on HTML5, any of their desktop products like Expression Suite are now legacy, as tablets and phones are what it is all about.

    Huh? Blend supports Windows 8 Metro style app development with both XAML and HTML. It also supports Windows Phone development. I really don't know what you're talking about.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @vesuvius:I think good applications still really need a designer. The difference, I suspect, is that the designers won't be doing the thing that developers think designers need to be doing to make a great looking app but rather will be able to focus on the things that really make an application shine.

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