Expression Web Bugs & Requests

by cdwise 28. February 2009 00:01

Speaking of the MVP summit, is there something you would like to bring to the attention of the Expression Web development team?

In November at the Live Meeting we had here on by-expression we had a discussion of the: Good, Bad & Ugly, mostly concentrated on the last two but I'll be taking that list to the summit with me. Is there anything else you would like to add to the following list?

Text Select Bugs

  • Inability in design view to select text right next to a container's edge, the first character isn't selected or when you try to select too much is selected.
  • In code view when trying to select specific characters the entire word or section becomes selected suddenly instead.
  • When in split view you select an object in the design pane. Then when you move to the code pane section the the cursor jumps to an arbitrary point that bears no relationship to the text selected in design view.

No Thumbnails in Insert > Picture Bug

This is one of my pet peeves. I have Expression Web running on 7 different computers on two different operating systems (Vista & XP), not one of them lets me see thumbnails when I try to insert images. Every other program on my computer shows me thumbnails except Expression.

Installer Bugs

This must be the single largest area of problems I've seen on Expression Web groups whether they are MS or third party groups.

Broken or Missing Help Files

Too many of the help files in in Expression Web do nothing but refer people to MSDN which presumes the person already has a certain skill level as a programmer. Other help files are just missing or plain old wrong like the one that tells you how to display RSS feeds on your web page.

Publishing Bugs

FTP is slow as molasses even in v2 which at least fixed the inability to remember userid/passwords. When will performance there be at least as good as freeware such as Filezilla.

Feature Requests

We also discussed some of the things that we would like to see in Expression Web. The list includes (not necessarily in order of preference):

  • An easy way to create menus such as the popular Project Seven menu systems make available for Dreamweaver.
  • Support for rendering the html output of server side includes in design view, Dreamweaver has had this ability for at least the last 4 versions.
  • Root relative links - this one drives me nuts and I have been seeing it appear on the groups frequently. For those of us who use server side includes this is extremely important. Plus in complex sites it is just cleaner and more elegant to use /images/picture.jpg than it is to use ../../../../images/picture.jpg.
  • Support for Classic ASP, it is coming back in Visual Studio now that Microsoft has recognized that not all legacy applications will be migrated to ASP.NET.
  • Speaking of ASP.NET some recognition of code behind files and the ability to create at least a skeleton of a code behind file and the code to connect it to the aspx pages created in Expression Web.
  • Client side validation - remember Expression Web supports not just ASP.NET but also PHP so there is a real need for JavaScript form validation. Jquery is being integrated into Visual Studio (I believe as a plug in) and also can be integrated via API in Dreamweaver CS 4. So how about it Microsoft?
  • Speaking of plug-ins or add-ons or whatever you want to call it, when will the toolbox be extensible? Code snippets quickly get cumbersome in their current implementation if you add more than a couple to the existing ones. How about a more robust and easier to use way to add stuff to Expression Web? Turn the code snippet section under Page Editor Options into a separate task pane. Publish and SDK, expose the object model and keep it consistent or at least backwards compatible so that we can get active third party development of enhancements to Expression Web such as those I mentioned by Project Seven for Dreamweaver or the hundreds available for Visual Studio.
  • An "easy" button to help clean up legacy code. How best to do this has been discussed frequently, especially in the context of FrontPage websites being migrated to Expression Web and brought up to current coding standards. Some want to have Expression Web automatically move all font and html attribute formatting to stylesheets. Others want a wizard to step through their legacy site and give them options to choose from for each problem found. Currently the best you can do is in code view hover over every highlighted or squiggle error and try to decipher the error. For someone new to standards based design the error message aren't always intelligible.
  • Improve Search/Find & Replace - while the current version is very powerful it lacks the ability to do a global find for pages that don't contain something such as a doctype.
  • A way to attach a DWT to multiple pages at one time. This would be especially helpful for applying a DWT to a legacy site where the content has all been cleaned up and you only need to bring the content into one section and have the head section pick up the existing page title. It would also be useful if you needed to change the DWT associated with a large number of files already using a DWT.
  • Support for micro formats.

I'm sure my notes are incomplete and that there were things that people didn't think of during the November meeting that should have been on the list. If you would like to add to it, please comment.

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