Friday, May 2, 2008

Expression Studio 2 released to retail

Expression Studio 2 released to retail

Microsoft's principal challenge to Adobe's creative suite now officially enters the second stage of its life cycle, with the release this afternoon of Expression Studio 2.

On the one hand, Microsoft is moving its Expression suite for Web developers towards more generally adopted Web standards with a more genuine embrace of PHP in addition to ASP.NET, with the final release today of version 2. On the other hand, it adds complete support for its Silverlight platform, showing it still has intentions to build a platform for the Web -- just not the same one it was building before.

In a blog post trumpeting the product's final beta last March, Microsoft Senior Vice President S. Somasegar listed the new suite's major components: "Expression Web allows you to design PHP documents in addition to ASP.NET 3.5, opening the door for a new range of designers to create their standards-based designs using Microsoft tools. Expression Blend has an improved interface that speeds up your workflow and facilitates navigating your documents more quickly with the new breadcrumb toolbar. Expression Design includes an advanced slicing feature that helps you target individual slices as separate formats, including Silverlight canvas, WPF canvas, WPF resource dictionary, HTML comp, XAML, PSD, and PDF.

"Expression Media makes digital asset management easy by allowing you to import more than 100 different media formats using drag-and-drop, including digital camera RAW files, then share the resulting catalogue with fellow team members," Somasegar continued. "Finally, Expression Encoder has higher quality and faster encoding for Silverlight and the ability to perform simple video edits."

Somasegar was among those giving general Web developers outside of the beta community their first peek at Expression Studio 2, at MIX 08 in Las Vegas in March.

Qualifying students of accredited universities may be able to download ISO disk images of Expression Studio software free of charge, by joining Microsoft's DreamSpark program. For all others, limited-run trial editions of the Studio suite, as well as its individual components, are available from Microsoft's Try-It service.

Writer Ross Greenberg offers an extensive comparison of Microsoft's Expression suite to the company's existing, more code-oriented Visual Web Developer, and Adobe's Dreamweaver CS3, on


  • Windows XP SP3 official release delayed, but download still available
  • Apple refreshes its iMac line
  • Xobni gets cold feet over Microsoft acquisition
  • Top Democrats ask for restrictions on XM + Sirius