by cdwise 13. July 2009 01:42

Today I was reading the articles related to the Expression Studio launch last Friday. So far my favorite is from InfoWorld:

Expression 3 features the $599 Expression Studio 3 suite, with  tools including Expression Blend, for interactive design and including SketchFlow; Expression Web, for Web design and supporting CSS and the soon-to-be-discontinued XHTML standard; Expression Encoder, for video encoding; and Expression Design, for illustration and design.

I love the “soon-to-be-discontinued” part in regard to XHTL. Realistically there is no browser support for HTML 5 and will not be decent support for a number of years assuming that InfoWorld is correct and it will be published as a recommendation (what we loosely call a standard is actually just a published recommendation) by September 2010.

Heck, the XHTML 1.0 was published Jan. 26, 2000 and last revised Aug. 1, 2002 has only received decent support by the browsers used by the majority of web users in the last year or two. Even with the push for web standards support in browser I really don’t see decent enough support by in use browser for at least 5 years. Don’t get me wrong I would love to see support sooner since there are some very nice features in it and CSS 3 that I wou

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ld love to use but not until until the recommendation is actually finalized AND there is browser support in more than just an experimental form (as there is in Firefox 3.5 currently.)


Web Browsers

Expression Web Launch Breakout

by cdwise 11. July 2009 07:52

Ed Meadows started by showing how you can encode videos, put them in a player and insert them in your web page. I showed a few static screenshots of the process in my review but you can it the encoding on the video of this breakout session when it is released on http://seethelight.com 

Ed ended with the Photoshop import improvement before handing off to Eric Saltwell who walks through the designer/developer workflow improvements. Eric started off with the current version of SuperPreview (I do have screenshots of the new SuperPreview versionb in Expression Web in my review.)  Eric is showing using your Photoshop comp to compare with your work in progress page not just comparing how the page renders in different browsers. I must admit that I hadn’t really though of using SuperPreview that way. He segwayed to showing some PHP to render tweets in his page that he will be using in SuperPreview. The demo gods struck briefly when Eric put the php include snippet in twice for his twitter feed <g> which showed up with previewed in the testing server. To show speed things up when you have dynamic content such as the twitter feed mentioned Eric demoed snapshot mode to see how you could speed up previewing. (Not quite sure I followed this one so you and I may both want to review the video when it appears.) Eric then went on to show what most people will use SuperPreview for – cross browser testing. The version that ships with Expression Web includes support for locally installed browsers like Firefox and whatever version of IE you have installed, plus IE 6.

The next bit that Eric talks about is the entire rewrite of FTP publishing adding support for sFTP and FTPS for secure publishing. The result is that the speed issues are gone and there is now multi-thread FTP connections for faster publishing. If you hosting does not support multiple FTP upload threads you can set the threads used down to one if necessary.

What wasn’t mentioned is the integration with Team Foundation Server. The update to use it is available on the web so why wasn’t it mentioned during the presentations,.

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Expression Web | v3

Expression v3 Launch

by cdwise 11. July 2009 03:47

Somasegar is on the podium now talking about the direction and philosophy of the technical foundation of developer tools. Hearing Soma channel Ballmar with “developer, developer, developer” is strange.

Some very interesting stuff with Silverlight 3 and offline-desktop experience. Scott Guthrie says it works on both PCs and Macs. Guess I’m going to have to look at it more, possibly as a way to deliver some of my videos. Right now I use Silverlight Encoder for the Basic Website tutorial (which will be released with a new site using Expression Web 3 in the near future.) Looks like the offline experience will provide competition for Flex.

I must say that I prefer listening to Scott Guthrie over Soma, or perhaps I just prefer the more practical, less directional/philosophical approach Soma took.

Pricing for EW $149 for the full version which includes Expression Design and Expression Encoder. Full Studio $599, with Visual Studio Pro $999. Two subscriptions: Expression Studio subscription which includes all the platforms (Parallels to run it on Macs) as well as the studio and MSDN.

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Expression Web | LiveMeeting

Expression Web 3 Review

by cdwise 11. July 2009 01:58

My review is longer than I want to put in a blog post so it is on the main part of this site at http://by-expression.com/content/ExpressionWeb3.aspx Another review by Ian Haynes is at http://www.ew-resource.co.uk/v3/

You can follow my twitter feed on what I see a the launch during the rest of the day at http://twitter.com/cdwise

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Expression Web | v3

Dreamweaver vs FrontPage vs Expression Web

by cdwise 8. July 2009 23:22

As I have mentioned before I  subscribe to Google alerts on a couple of web topics. Primarily, Expression Web since I happen to write about it but in addition to being a Microsoft MVP for Expression Web I am also an Adobe Community Expert for Dreamweaver so I tend to watch for Dreamweaver topics as well as general web design/front-end web development stuff.

In the last week I have seen several threads in my Google Alerts asking “Which is Better FrontPage or Dreamweaver?” So rather than go and register at a bunch of different forums and respond in the threads (after having gotten disgusted with some of the CAPCHAs I have seen and not received the confirmation email from two others) I decided to address the topic here.

First, why in 2009 would someone even be asking which is better “FrontPage” or “Dreamweaver”. FrontPage has been discontinued since 2006. Anyone who hasn’t been using FrontPage since before it was discontinued shouldn’t even consider buying it now – that is assuming they could even find a copy legally for sale. While never as bad as painted by most web professionals FrontPage does tend to write Microsoft Internet Explorer proprietary code. Since FrontPage has not been updated since 2003 its target version of Internet Explorer is IE 5 and Internet Explorer has changed a lot since then.

Second, unlike some of the people in the threads I don’t consider Adobe Dreamweaver to be the best choice of editor for every web design purpose or situation.  I will say that Dreamweaver is my primary web editor and I use it on a daily basis. However, I also use Microsoft Expression Web on a daily basis.

So why do I use both editors?

I do so because each has their strengths and weaknesses.

CSS, both have very good CSS editors but their approach is somewhat different, which you prefer is an individual preference. I slightly prefer Expression Web’s but your preference may vary. I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining the differences since that is an area you can easily test for yourself with the free trials each company makes available.

Site management tools in the current versions Dreamweaver’s site management tools are considerably better than Expression Web’s for publishing but the gap narrows quite a bit when Expression Web 3 is launched on Friday but Dreamweaver still wins on site management. Dreamweaver’s DWT architecture and capabilities are the more advanced, so in this category I prefer Dreamweaver.

Extensibility, Dreamweaver wins this one quite handily. Microsoft doesn’t have a good SDK for Expression Web and has not settled on a good framework for extending Expression Web reliably across versions. I have add-ins from InstantFX that only work in Expression Web 1 and other extensions from WebAssist and D2Stuff.com that had to be updated by the makers for each version of Expression Web.  On the other hand I have Dreamweaver extensions that were created for Dreamweaver MX and still work in Dreamweaver CS 4. That means the extensions work over 5 different versions of Dreamweaver (MX, MX 2004, 8, CS 3 & CS 4) without a single update. Okay, I wouldn’t use some of those extensions anymore because the web has changed a lot in that time frame but I could if I wanted to and if I were an extension maker I’d much prefer to write Dreamweaver extensions so I didn’t have to rewrite every release.

Previewing your work, both editors have pretty good WYSIWYG design surfaces approached in different ways. Neither are what you would actually see in a browser but given the variety of browsers and operating systems out there anyone who expect the design window to look exactly like what their visitor will see is foolish at best. Dreamweaver offers live view which is good and allows you to set up connections for testing servers as well as production servers. Expression Web includes a light weight testing server that lets you test asp.net and php pages in whatever browsers you have installed on your computer. There are pros and cons to each approach depending on your workflow.

Scripting, here is where you see real differences in the programs. If you work on pages with ASP.NET 2.0 and take advantage of the power of master pages, then frankly Expression Web is the design tool you should be using. Adobe’s decision to not support ASP.NET 2.0 is one that I have disagreed with from the first time I heard about it. As far as I am concerned I don’t particularly care if Adobe provides the web applications for ASP.NET 2.0 (forms to database add/update/delete) that they do for Classic ASP, ColdFusion, and PHP but I really do wish that Dreamweaver supported Master Pages. They are basically server side DWTs and if you work in an ASP.NETshop as a UI or web designer the ability to work with them is essential.

However, while Expression Web does offer support for php, Dreamweaver has a far more robust feature set and the ability to “see” server side includes in the design surface makes Dreamweaver the better choice here. Obviously, if you use ColdFusion Dreamweaver is the choice as well. Surprisingly, Dreamweaver is also the choice if you are maintaining a Classic ASP site since Microsoft’s Expression Web testing server doesn’t support Classic ASP and there is little benefit to using it over Notepad.

Dreamweaver has Spry, APIs for jQuery and YUI libraries while Expression Web only has ASP.NET AJAX support so for client side scripting Dreamweaver again is the better choice.

Troubleshooting, one of things I do both for clients and for students is to figure out why something isn’t displaying correctly on the web and how to fix it. For this I tend to use Expression Web since I can easily open a page directly from the internet and step through the display issue’s html and css. This ability using IE’s Page > Edit with Expression Web is so handy I haven’t even tried using Dreamweaver for such troubleshooting since Expression Web v1 came out as a CTP (Customer Technology Preview).


There is no clear winner hands down winner between Dreamweaver and Expression Web both are very good web editors but each has a different approach and methodology. They both require you to know basic HTML and CSS. Both require you to have an understanding of how the web works and the other technologies behind it. Both require an understanding of browsers and their differences in rendering. Both have a learning curve – Dreamweaver steeper than Expression Web due to its wider support of web technologies. Neither is perfect and each has feature sets the other doesn’t which is why I use both.

My recommendation – if you already use Photoshop or other Adobe programs check Dreamweaver first. While if your primary applications are from Microsoft check Expression Web first. Notice that I say “first” because what I really suggest is that you download the trials of each and see which fits both your needs and how you work. For me, I’ll continue to use both.

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Expression Web | Dreamweaver

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