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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Microsoft expression

    HAs anyone use the new Microsoft expression web 2? If so, what do you think of it?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I haven't used it, but I hang around a certain forum where a lot of people do and there seems to be a mixed response. In some ways it seems to have fallen between two stools - it's not simple enough for the hobbyists and not totally capable enough for the experts.

    It certainly seems better than FrontPage - but it seems to have it's own issues...
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Stylus and clay are better than Front Page. I agree, I've heard mixed reactions to EE as well. Lots of disparaging comments about how similar the two programs are under the surface.

  4. #4
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Downloaded the Microsoft Expression Suite trial just to give it a run. Most of the applications seem capable of doing what needs to be done. The graphics application, Expression Design, is a little lacking on the feature set. Blend looks to be competent but I haven't looked into Silverlight development yet. I don't really have a use for the Media and Encoder applications.

    The most developed tool in the package seems to be Expression Web. It is slanted to ASP.NET programming and fills that role very well. It has the standard features that you would expect to find in a web editor and handles things fairly competently. It allows you to test for accessibility and compatibility with various standards. Though it also supports deprecated tags and attributes. Though these are marked with red lines to be removed. It also supports Frontpage's Layout Table functionality which I am not sure is a good idea but might help some people update their sites in the long run.

    Expression Web allows you view your code in Design, Code or a split view so you can work in the method that fits your needs. I use Code view myself and switch to Design if I need to look at the rendered page. Rendering was done well. I am not sure if that is done with an internet engine or it used the IE 8 Beta 2 engine on my PC. I am going to guess the second though. You can ctrl-click on CSS classes in your code to go to that location in the CSS file for any edits you need to do there. I also like that it gives you a palette with your CSS classes so you can visually assign styles even in code view.

    You can create sites using a combination of HTML, CSS, ASPX, and PHP. It allows you to connect to a remote site and edit pages directly as well as connect to data sources so you can get the proper information in a dynamic site. This is probably good for basic editing but indepth coding of dynamic sites is probably still the domain of the Visual Studio Suite.

    Unlike some Web Editing Tools, it doesn't seem to have any real support for Javascript. It has color coding and line numbers but that is about it. There is no step-through for the code or debugging capabilities that I can see. This can be a large issue if your projects include javascript for things like AJAX and Image Carousels.

    I am not sure how it compares to Dreamweaver but I have never used Dreamweaver extensively. If I was developing .NET driven websites than I would use Expression Web. It costs less than Dreamweaver and is a fairly competant tool. For me personally, it isn't worth the licensing fee though. I can do pretty much everything I want in Crimson Editor which is free or using my current tool of choice which is WeBuilder 2008 that I paid $70.00 for. Maybe I'll change my mind after a more indepth look. I have about 25 days left of the trial.
    Wayne Luke
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  5. #5
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hierophant View Post
    ...Rendering was done well. I am not sure if that is done with an internet engine or it used the IE 8 Beta 2 engine on my PC
    Expression Web uses its own standards-based rendering engine, different from Internet Explorer's Trident engine. The same engine found in SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio 2008 Visual Web Designer.

    You can create sites using a combination of HTML, CSS, ASPX, and PHP...
    Should mention it has a built in web server for running ASP.NET and PHP sites directly from the editor.

    Unlike some Web Editing Tools, it doesn't seem to have any real support for Javascript. It has color coding and line numbers but that is about it...
    For more in depth Javascript support one would have to upgrade to Visual Studio 2008 for that.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast MetalHippy's Avatar
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    I'm kind of in two minds about it, it is a big improvement on frontpage, it renders css better in design view than vs2008 but for asp.net coding (code behind stuff) I prefer vs 2008. So I tend to have a site open in both Expression for the layout and vs2008 for the server sided stuff.


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