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Microsoft Expression Could Sparkle For Developers

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The company’s purchase of vector graphic design tool Expression gets a big debut at PDC 2005.

Microsoft’s beta tests of Acrylic, a graphic design tool derived from Creative House’s Expression, have led to its implementation in three new tools. They disclosed the Expression tools at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles today.

The company sent out Servers and Tools senior vp Eric Rudder to unveil the trio of Expression tools today. Like everything else related to visual presentation we’re going to hear about from now until Vista’s release, the Expression family all build upon the Microsoft Presentation Foundation.

Macromedia and Adobe get some attention from Microsoft as the Expression products compete directly with their offerings. The code-named Sparkle Interactive Designer will be a user-interface design tool for application development. This has been speculated to be Microsoft’s potential “Flash-killer” but Macromedia has had several years of development and a sizable body of developers out there dedicated to Flash.

A raster and vector graphics design tool referred to as Acrylic Graphic Designer will be familiar to those who have tested the last couple of beta versions of the product. The third product, called Quartz Web Designer, provides layout and design tools for visual web site design. Those products will go up against Adobe’s Photoshop, an industry standard among graphic artists of all kinds, and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver web site product.

Microsoft has made an effort to mollify critics by equipping Quartz with “built-in compatibility and accessibility checkers” to ensure applications developed in the environment will work with any web browser. FEMA has come under fire for making its Financial Assistance form only compatible with IE6; that form also worked with the Opera browser, but Firefox users found themselves shut out and referred to a phone number for assistance.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Microsoft Expression Could Sparkle For Developers
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