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
  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.


Expression Web

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