Expression Web Designer Released In CTP Form
Microsoft’s Expression Web Designer product, which had also gone under the code name of “Quartz,” was just released in preview form. Expression Web Designer companion products have already been made available as Community Technology Preview releases, but this one program was withheld.
“We didn’t say it would be released any earlier,” said Wayne Smith, Microsoft’s product manager for Expression Web Designer. Smith cited a June deadline, which the team has beaten. Still, the separate release is unusual. The already-previewed products in the suite included Expression Graphic Designer (formerly known as “Acrylic”) and Expression Interactive Designer (“Sparkle).
“People are going to see that with the Graphic and Interactive designers, they are more works in progress; this [Expression Web Designer] is a more complete release. It’s a fully featured release,” Smith explained. Still, other previews and betas have been released with “Go Live” licenses, something that did not occur with the Expression Web Designer CTP.
Regardless of these oddities, the new product should demonstrate some useful advances. Smith said the CTP is intended to show compliance with common Internet standards such as XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and XML. Smith is especially proud of “the rich support for CSS,” an important new aspect, but says the program will work with “all the standards people are using on the Web.” This release also marks Microsoft’s first visual design tool to support the ASP .Net.
The Expression Web Designer technology has been displayed by Microsoft at its Professional Developers Conference (in October) and at the Mix 06 conference (in March). These enticing samples left some developers disappointed when the Expression Web Designer fell behind other products in the Expression Suite.
Thanks to the late release, Microsoft may have a bit of catching up to do, but the highly anticipated Expression Web Designer looks like it will live up to expectations.