More on Expression Web v4

by cdwise 9. July 2010 04:32

Here are a few things you might want to do when you migrate from Expression Web 3 to Expression Web 4.

1. Expression Web 4 Add-in Friendly In this month’s just released Newsletter has an article by Mike Lissick, Senior Software Development Engineer on the Expression Web team on the new JavaScript add-in model for Expression Web 4.
2. add-ins How to Install Add-ins Go to Tools > Add-ins then click the install button and browse to the folder where you have the .xadd file. 
3. Migrate existing file definitions To fully migrate your sites from version 3 to version 4 you would need to copy just the:%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Expression\Web 3\SiteDatadirectory to the equivalent Web 4 location. From Paul Bartholomew
4. Expression Web fails to load - Kapersky Internet Security 2010 Expression Web apparently has hooks into Internet Explorer, possibly to allow for Preview in Browser & SuperPreview to function. Unchecking “block dangerious scripts in Microsoft Internet Explorer” seems to resolve the issue according to this thread in the EW Forum UPDATE: Apparently this is a variation of a known Kapersky issue that has surfaced with other programs as well. There are a couple of other workarounds in the thread that have worked for others without completely disabling some of the protection.
5. SuperPreviewIf you find an inaccurate rendering or encounter any other problem with SuperPreview rendering send a bug report including the url & browser where the rendering problem is occuring to superbug@microsoft.com

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Expression Web

Expression Web 4

by cdwise 2. July 2010 04:33

I know that I’m running a little late with this post since the launch was hours ago but I have been on the road the last couple of days with limited internet connections outside of my iPhone. Typing a review on my iPhone just isn’t going to happen and I didn’t get a chance to write one up before leaving my office so hopefully this will be worth the wait.

What’s new?

In the order of what makes me happiest about this new release:

  1. A new extensibility model, you no longer have to use Visual Studio to create add-ins for Expression Web. You can now make add-ins with html, css, javascript and a manifest file (xml). This is going to really expand the ability for more people to make add-ins for Expression Web. Since this is a model similar to those used by Dreamweaver extension makers hopefully this will cause more of the to make add-ins for Expression Web. WebAssist has already announced their re-entry into the Expression Web add-ins market place with the return of PayPal and Eric Meyer’s Site Sculpture add-ins (coming later this summer), and new PHP add-ins not available before. They are offering significant discounts of up to 50% off their new extensions. Anna Ulrick has an article on how to create add-ins for Expression Web 4 at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/xweb/archive/2010/06/07/easily-create-an-add-in-for-expression-web-4-with-the-add-in-builder.aspx
  2. SuperPreview Remote, you will now be able to view what your site looks like on a Mac running Safari without having to purchase a Mac. DOM syntax highlighting was added.
  3. Limited toolbar customization, you won’t be able to customize the existing toolbars but you will be able to create your own “Favorites” toolbar. (Add in to create it coming soon per Paul Bartholomew who provided this screenshot in this Expression Web Forum thread.
  4. SEO Reports, I tend to be a believer in organic search engine optimization (SEO) and rely on content and incoming links but there are new tools in Expression Web to help you with search engine optimization. Choose SEO options, display an SEO report, filter the results in the SEO report, and step forward and back through the list of results in the SEO report to see more detail for individual list items.
  5. Changes to publishing, check Paul’s response in this thread on publishing issues which discusses the new changes including the addition of new menu items/keyboard shortcuts for publishing on the Site menu for current file, changed files & all files.

Bug fixes, I wish there were more but overall I’ve found Expression Web v4 to be a little faster and fewer bugs. There are still some issues with slow updating on pages with lots of hyperlinks & tables but they haven’t affected me so I can’t say whether every instance of those bugs have been fixed or not. It would appear not from the thread I referenced in item 3 above.

Should You Upgrade?

If you have Expression Web 3 upgrading is a no-brainer since the upgrade is free. If you have an older version, I’d upgrade as well. If you have add-ins that work only in a specific older version of Expression Web keep it installed side by side so you can still use your existing add-ins.

Any Reason Not to Upgrade?

There is a change to the licensing terms of Expression Web 4 and the rest of the Expression Studio. In the previous versions you could install the application on as many computers as you personally used since it was licensed per user. The license terms have changed and it is now licensed like most other Microsoft applications. You can install on on one computer and maybe a second portable computer but I’m not 100% certain about that. I’m trying to get some clarification on how you would deactivate on a computer you have already activated your copy on so that you can transfer it to say a new computer. I’m particularly interested in this information since I am hoping to get a new computer in the next month or so.

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Expression Web

Review: Expression Web 3 in 24 Hours

by cdwise 22. October 2009 19:22

I recently received a copy of Morton Rand-Hendriksen's "Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 3 in 24 Hours" for review.

Summary

This book is best for: Beginners who want to have personal or hobby website up and running quickly.

The way I review books is to start with an overview on the book format and table of contents. Like all of the Sams 24 hour series this book is organized into chapters each focused on a particular topic or task.  This series reminds me of a traditional classroom. There is a lecture (informational section),  exercises homework (try it yourself) Q&A followed by a quiz. Each chapter is designed to take one hour (give or take) to complete and for the most part are independent of each other so you do not need to work your way through the book from start to finish in the order presented with one exception: no matter how tempted you may be don't skip the first chapter or you may regret it later when you can't find the item you are looking for.

As with any book or tutorial you are using to learn about web design or development when you have a download of some files available, make sure you get the files on your computer as soon before you begin any exercises. Morton provides you with the download link early in chapter 2 use it.

What I Like

This book gives you a good over-view of how websites work and using the tools in Expression Web. In particular I like:

  • The authorize style- for this type of quick get it done now book the information is presented in clear understandable prose. Clear and concise easy to follow for the person who isn't familiar with web terminology . Overall the book does a good job explaining what the beginner needs to know with introducing proper terminology such as absolute and relative which don't always mean the same on the web as in the real world.
  • Little bits of "why" and web history in the "One-Minute" and a By the Way" sections.
  • How to import content from Word and other applications. This is something too often over looked by book authors and newbie web creators.
  • Hour 8, introducing code view and how it can help you learn along with Intellisense to help the user accomplish things that cannot be done using pure design view-wysiwyg. Hopefully this will help people got over the fear many experience of "code" being "too hard".
  • Providing multiple ways to use CSS from toolbar auto generated or using panels to code view Intellisense.
  • Working from processor for php to email. I just wish there was one for ASP.NET as well.

What I Don't Like

This is of course subjective and in many ways is more reflective of the limitations imposed by the format than the book itself:

  • The clear and concise text is sometimes a little too concise. Complex issues such as cross browser compatibly are oversimplified and dismissed too easily. This is fine for personal/hobby sites but can be fatal for business sites. In particular the CSS only dropdown menu that does not work in IE 6 is one I cannot recommend using on a business site.
  • Telling people to upgrade their browser is not an acceptable method for dealing with browser issues on a business website. Too often the reason a person isn't using a better browser is browser is because they have no choice. Either they are in a corporate environment where the company has standardized on one browser (and locked the computer so they cannot change it) or they have hardware software constraints such as older computer systems a limited internet access. Remember not everyone has broadband available and some pay by the byte.
  • Accessibility is basically ignored. A couple of sentences on what on alt attribute in Hour 6 on images and why it is important to use them would make a real difference. This omission is one of the reasons I feel this book is best for those who create hobby sites not for SOHO or small business sites. (An alt attribute should give the information conveyed to someone who can see the image so if your image is your company logo the correct alt is the company name not “logo”. If the image is purely decorative use an empty alt attribute alt=””.)
  • I also find contradictions between saying in Hour 6 that "Expression Web is Not an Image Editor" with the amount of time/space devoted the Picture Toolbar in Hour 7. The advice in Hour 6 to use a real graphics editor is the correct thing to do and fortunately Expression Web 3 comes with Expression Design so you have one.
  • I disagree with the advise to use CSS Resets in Hour 14, especially for beginners. Most reset stylesheets and the consequent requirement to explicitly style each element used is beyond what can should  be expected of a CSS-web design beginner.

Conclusion

If you want a website up quickly this book is a good place to start. However, if you are creating a website for a business you will need to learn about accessibility (the ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act and similar legislation in the UK, Canada, EU, Australia, Philippines and many other counties apply to business websites) and cross browser issues. Fortunately there are many resources you can use to build on the base you will get from this book.

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v3 | Expression Web | Review

Houston Techfest

by cdwise 28. September 2009 16:33

For those of you who weren't there or even if you weren't the PDF of my Expression Web 3 -What's New presentation is now available.

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v3 | Expression Web

Expression 3 Trials Now Available

by cdwise 23. July 2009 02:54

For those who don’t follow me on twitter I figured I better post here what I posted there a couple of hours ago: Expression Web 3 trial now available http://bit.ly/bKJf3

The full studio as well as individual trials of all the programs are available at http://www.microsoft.com/expression/try-it/Default.aspx#PageTop

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Expression Web | v3



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