|Microsoft Expresses New Design, Web Products [windowsitpro.com] |
Microsoft Expression Studio will retail for $599 and be available as a $349 upgrade to any user who purchases a standalone Expression product. Expression Web, available now, costs $299, or $99 as an upgrade from FrontPage. Expression Blend will retail for $499, and Expression Media will cost $299. Many of these products are available as prerelease downloads from the Microsoft Web site.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around all these Expression products...Here's what I could glean from the sites:
- Expression Web: Combines FrontPage and Visual Studio. For making standards compliant websites
- Expression Blend: A design tool... haven't really figured this one out.
- Expression Design: An illustration and graphic design tool (ala. Illustrator?)
- Expression Media: A digital asset management tool... This one wasn't so clear to me either. Seems to have something to do with the iView Multimedia tool, but I haven't used that.
- Expression Studio: contains Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design & Expression Media
Expression Studio: contains Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media
Well, there ya go, they made it simple, just buy the bundle and figure it all out later. ;)
In regards to add-ins, I'd be frugal in your use of those. Last time I checked the list, there were some very "sketchy" products to say the least.
|Well, there ya go, they made it simple, just buy the bundle and figure it all out later. ;) |
I had budgeted for an FP 12 upgrade this year and guessed about $100. That would cover the Expression Web upgrade, but not the entire Suite. ;) I may have to revise that budget...
Is Expression Blend the new MS answer to Flash that I've been hearing about?
From what I can see, if you have been using FP, then EW alone will cover 95% or more of what you need.
I have been using EW since CTP, as an upgrade from FP, and have yet to find any use for the others. I downloaded and tried most, but simply never used them, so uninstalled them.
But we don't do much server side coding and most of our graphics are pretty simple so obviously your mileage will vary. 99% of what I need are in EW, the resst - at least so far - I have been able to do with JS etc.
And IMO, EW has by far the best CSS UI that I have seen anywhere. But it does lack support for PHP and ASP (not ASP.net) at this stage, though that is supposed to be added later.
I personally like the UI and general features bunches and tons better than DW, but we all have different needs.
The Expression Suite site has moved, it is now at
Blend is here [microsoft.com...] - but I am still not sure what niche or hole it is supposed to fill. It looks like a combination of Flash and Video, but not sure.
The Expression Media looks interesting but have not really had a chance to check it out.
It looks like over the past few weeks they have made some changes in what program is aimed at what. Wish I had more time to play with them, but this is not the best time of year for us to do that.
[edited by: Wlauzon at 3:40 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2006]
Do you still find use/need for FP, or has EW covered all that functionality?
How is EW for coding sites that don't use ASP? Is it still good for static sites?
I downloaded the final version a couple of days ago after playing around with the betas. My initial feeling about Web Expression is that it has a sense of a cut down version of Dreamweaver but with improved CSS support.
Obviously a lot of the old Frontpage stuff has gone like the shared borders, Frontpage navigation etc and that can't be a bad thing. Unfortunate to see that page transitions and hover buttons are still available.
The template feature through the dwt file is simple to use and pretty much the same as Frontpage 2003 in that respect - I reckon you could also swap between Dreamweaver and Web Expression for editing the dwt file too.
Frustrating to see nil support for PHP and even some code mangle going on if you try.
Existing Frontpage users should find it pretty straightforward but don't expect anything new other than the CSS stuff really. I think it may be more a case of looking for features that have been ripped out from previous offerings, which in many cases is not a bad thing.
|Do you still find use/need for FP, or has EW covered all that functionality? |
How is EW for coding sites that don't use ASP? Is it still good for static sites?
Expressions was just fine in opening a site in Frontpage. As a matter of fact, the site that I created in Expressions and using a DWT opened just fine in Frontpage 2003. (I had to go back to Frontpage 2003 because Expressions Beta was not compatible with Office 2007.)
Since then I just got the Sharepoint and decided to use that one instead. It just made it easier.
The forms though - while they are still there and require FPSE (which are no longer being supported by MS) will work if you publish but they are trying to push the .NET
[edited by: tedster at 3:37 am (utc) on Dec. 8, 2006]
[edit reason] fix formatting trouble [/edit]
I never liked the UI on DW, so I am biased towards Expressions.
The UI on Expressions is similiar to that of Frontpage, but has a lot more features to do with CSS and ASP.NET.
Personally, I would say that if you do not use php and/or DO use asp.net it is probably about the best available for building websites.
The page transistions was supposed to have been taken out, but apparently that did not make the final cut. MS indicates it might go away in a future update, when php support is supposed to be added, according to developer blog comments.
|Wwhen php support is supposed to be added. |
I wonder if the PHP Rocket addin still works in EW. Anyone?
When I downloaded the beta I could not find any library includes that did not require asp or net. I was expecting the included content (or library as on Dreamweaver) to be available but could not find it.
I would like to include a php file include at server time.
Suggestions or hints?
I tried the beta and actually liked it quite a bit - except I can't use it because all my sites contain at least some PHP (and some are completely PHP) and there are definitely some issues with that - strange characters showing up in the sites, and extra ctrl-Ms in the code and such. Hopefully they'll get that fixed at some point.
I've heard rumours that there will be PHP support down the line. Sounds pretty unlikely, more like wishful thinking maybe. Anyone else heard anything similar?
Received and installed my copy of Microsoft® Expression® Web Designer from Amazon a little over a week ago. The installation went without a hitch.
Note: The official name is Microsoft® Expression®. Many are referring to it as EWD or Expression® Web Designer.
I tested the pre-release versions a bit and the final release isn't any different with the exception of the bugs being worked out. For intermediate FrontPage 2003 users, there really isn't too much of a difference.
But, for advanced users who like to work under the hood, there is great news! Expression® Web has taken all the WYSIWYG functions and converted them to their CSS equivalents. No more
<font> tags, they are gone! This means that new websites designed using Expression® Web will be totally reliant upon CSS.
I can still see where an inexperienced user could get themselves into trouble by styling to their hearts content. They may end up with 30, 40, 50 lines of embedded styles in the head of their document. Well, at least that is better than all the
<font> tags that were previously generated by FrontPage. You will need to keep an eye out for the new kid on the block,
<font> has been replaced with...
Expression® Web will now wrap any styled content within a
<span> tag. I'm referring strictly to the WYSIWYG functionality and not attaching a custom style sheet and using the styles menu.
Some additional notes...
They've extended one of my favorite features of all time, Formatting Marks. But, they changed something that doesn't sit quite well with me. Ctrl + /. That is the Reveal Tags command in previous versions of FrontPage. Expression Web no longer supports that keyboard shortcut and you now have to select it from the ¶ toolbar menu which contains a few new formatting marks.
For the advanced user of FrontPage 2003, you're going to appreciate the new features available. If you're a CSS user, you're really going to like the advanced CSS support.
Oh-oh, it appears that the old style of developing a form in FrontPage has been deprecated and replaced with ASP.NET Controls. There is no longer a > Insert > Form > command. It has been replaced with > Insert > ASP.NET Controls.
When viewing tag marks (that is the replacement for reveal tags), you no longer see your opening and closing <form> elements. That confirms the support is no longer there for the old style of forms. You're going to need to know how to work in code view to make modifications to those forms. Or, you'll rebuild the form using the ASP.NET Controls.
Wait until you see the list of ASP.NET Controls available to you. Yee-haw! For someone who likes building forms, I'm going to have fun with these. In the past, you had 15 different form functions you could select while in WYSIWYG view. Hehehe, there are now 68 different functions within 6 categories. Let me at em!
I'll have some more reviews as time permits. For the most part, Microsoft® Expression® is FrontPage 2003 on steroids with a host of new advanced features.
After working with a few existing forms, I just realized that Expression does allow you to utilize basic html form elements. This is done through a new process from...
Insert > HTML > More HTML Tags
Which then brings up your Toolbox Task Pane. You'll want to become very familiar with your Toolbox. This is what makes WYSIWYG editing a breeze. Click an item from your Toolbox and drag it right over to your page where you want it. This can be done in both Design and Code views.
Anyway, all the Form Controls (that were previously available from the Insert menu) are now shown. You can continue to use your HTML Forms as you have been. The process of creating them is a little bit different now.
|But, for advanced users who like to work under the hood, there is great news! Expression® Web has taken all the WYSIWYG functions and converted them to their CSS equivalents. No more <font> tags, they are gone! This means that new websites designed using Expression® Web will be totally reliant upon CSS. |
I can still see where an inexperienced user could get themselves into trouble by styling to their hearts content. They may end up with 30, 40, 50 lines of embedded styles in the head of their document. Well, at least that is better than all the <font> tags that were previously generated by FrontPage. You will need to keep an eye out for the new kid on the block, <font> has been replaced with...
Got that right .. I'm playing around moving an old site into Expression froom Front Page 2003 .. and remebered your post here ..
I took a quick look at what I had for styles and after I said Oh Crap..started laughing at my initial excuberance in applying styles
Thats 40+ lines already and I'm just getting started ;)
I have to slow doen go back and see where I can elimninate some styles and combining others..
I dont see how I can get by with anything less than 10 different styles ..
How is this going to affect SE's reading 60 lines before it ever gets to any content .. I'd dont like that at all ..
|I dont see how I can get by with anything less than 10 different styles. |
Hehehe, I need at least 50-100. ;)
Use an external style sheet and Expression's style menu. Stay away from the WYSIWYG functions and use the style menu exclusively. Unfortunately, I don't think they've become advanced enough to allow you to assign multiple classes to one element. I'll have to do some more testing. Right now the transition from 2003 to EWD has been somewhat seamless in how I work with styles.
Try to avoid any inline and/or embedded styling. Inline is of course styles applied directly to an element in the html. Embedded refers to styles in the <head></head> section of your document. External style sheets are the best method to use. If you have a page with a one off style, you can embed that, no problem. I just wouldn't get into the habit of building all those styles on page when they are going to be reused throughout the site.
So, Expression Web is still guilty of code bloat. But now it is "standards compliant" code bloat. ;)
thanks Page ..appreciate the insight
You know what gets me is for the most part I never have trouble ranking even with Front Pages bloat ..
I mean I've never had qualms about ranking keywords againt 50million results ..other than the
I've never seen any validation that having a clean coded site will rank better..
The again the odds are pretty good I've never had a site even close to validating ..so I have nothing to judge against ;)
I see MS is back to their old tricks - lets rip off another superior product and tweak it slightly.
Page I have tables on just about each page ..4 x 100 or so. I located an excellent tutorial for getting rid of most of the table tags and instead using css styling
google ..Why CSS styling is for tables too
So this moring I have been working on converting some of my tables over and understand the process and using the external page for the css and using the link command on my page.
But I am stuck on something that should be very simple ..a "duh" moment but I cant seem to locate "duh"
Lets say you want to center some text (apart from the page css text alignment) ..using Expression
I can use the WYSIWYG mode and hightlight my text and click "center" .. that adds a class style at the text and adds that center style in the Head..
I cant figure out "duh" how to center the text without adding the style to the head ..
How do i apply external alignment commands for alignment?
This is a problem I always face...
You can do <p style = "center">
or in your css <div class ="yourclass" style = "center">
sometimes they don't work!
So I am often forced to return to the old <center> tags.
Got it ..just go ahead and style away ..then after you are done ..create a .css file and attach the page you are working on to that .css file .
Then go back to code view on the page you are working on and copy all your stlyes that are in the head ..and paste them over at your .css page ..save. Go back a delete all those styles from the page you are working on ..save
Also ..then lets say you come back later and add a new paragrahp ..you center it , bold it etc using the WYSIWYG tools..when you are done look at the code and you see it created a new style.. same thing simply copy the style over to your style css file .save ..come back to your page and delete the style from your header .
So far that seems like the easist way to work .. just work as if you are still using FP 2003 and it's WYSISWYG tools..let it create all the styles.. then copy all the styles at the same time over to an external .css page ..come back and delete all the styles from your header ..
That's going to work for me anyways..nice and clean and a lot faster that doing them one at a time
unless someone knows a faster way they want to share
|Unless someone knows a faster way they want to share. |
I'm not sure if my way is faster or not but here goes...
I have a core stylesheet that I apply to most websites. I'm going to cut and paste those core styles into the new file for the new site. Those are the sitewide styles. I'll modify colors, margins, padding to coincide with the new sites overall look and feel.
Anything after the core styles I'm going to add on an as needed basis. If I find I need to create a style for a page and it is a one time thing, I'll embed that style in the <head></head>. If I feel I'm going to reuse that style, I'll place it in the external CSS file. I'll keep that file open and minimized for quick reference and editing.
EWD's method of naming styles would not be satisfactory for me. .style1, .style2, etc. is not an intuitive naming convention.
You could also do this the reverse way. Build the page, style away, and then save those styles to an external file. But, with the default naming conventions, it is going to create a maintenance nightmare. You'll have to look at a page and verify what the heck .style45 was. ;)
Or, you'll need to rename them appropriately before tucking them away externally. They will now appear in your style menu when working in WYSIWYG mode (the style sheet must be reference in the <head></head> of the document). You select the element or text, go to your style menu and select the appropriately named style you want to apply. You have both block and inline styling available to you.
Then, to take this one step further, you may develop additional style sheets. These may be specific to a certain section of the website where you are sharing those styles across a group of pages. So now you end up with two external CSS file references in the <head></head> of your document.