Keeping a secret is hard… but now Microsoft Expression “Quartz Web Designer” is not a secret :)


I’ve never been the best at keeping secrets, especially the kind of secrets that everyone should really know about… but I’ve been forced to make some compromises lately.  I’m incredibly excited to begin talking about “Quartz Web Designer” because it just simply rocks.  Yes, clearly I’m biased, but not as much as you might think.  This software is just amazing – check out the details that are online here:


Doing the keynote demo today of “Acrylic Graphic Designer” and “Quartz Web Designer” working in concert was a ton of fun, especially the “Quartz” part!  It was a high level demo but there is a session tomorrow (TLN315  ASP.NET: A Sneak Peek at Future Directions in Web Development and Designer Tools) at 2:15-3:30 that will go into a lot of depth, so be sure to check it out.  I’ll hope to post some in depth posts, but let me stand up on a soap box and say the CSS support is out of this world, the XSLT/XML pieces are really easy to use and quite powerful, the design surface is incredibly accurate (when you get to touch it you can start to believe me J) and the deep ASP.NET integration rocks!  Yes I know, lots of stuff coming from my mouth, but rest assured at some point you will be able to try it and I want to hear your feedback at that point.  In the mean time, just know we have some very cool stuff in the pipe!



Comments (14)
  1. Woody says:

    Does it have:

    – Standards validation integrated?

    – Auto complete for CSS and XHTML (intellisense)?

    – FTP

    – Code collapsing?

    That’s all I have wanted from a web developer tool.

  2. bgold says:

    Woody —

    yes to #1,2,3

    #4 I’m not 100% sure, I’ll find out.

  3. Drew Marsh says:

    Hands down it was the biggest surprise in the tools realm and looks to be immediately useful to developers/designers today. What’s strange though is that no one I’ve talked to has heard of it or is beta testing it. Meanwhile we have all this Avalon, Indigo, Atlas, Workflow, etc. stuff to play with that’s some time away from being useful.

    So, inquiring minds want to know: When do we get our hands on it? 🙂

  4. Richy_roo says:

    i tell you something chaps, Brian is not wrong.

    Even in its earliest form this is looking awesome.

  5. bgold says:

    Drew —

    I’m glad you liked what you saw! I wish I had more information for inquiring minds, but the date for public bits is still open — Hopefully we can close on something soon and get that info out. If I have my way, it will happen before the end of the year.

  6. PatriotB says:

    I could have sworn that I posted a question to this blog entry about whether this was a rebranding of Frontpage… and lo and behold my comment is gone!

    I had watched the demo video at and when they were showing Quartz, they were showing Frontpage — you could see the word "Frontpage" right in the window’s title bar. Well just now I went back and watched it again, and lo and behold, they’ve made a new video which conveniently cuts off the title bar!

    Why the secrecy? Can you explain what’s really going on with Frontpage/Quartz? Or at least say that you can’t say anything right now?

  7. bgold says:

    PatriotB — I never delete posts, so something weird must have happened — my sincere apologies for that.

    As for the the FP title bar thing — While "Quartz" is a new product it is built leveraging some of the FP technologies — what you probably saw was some errata in the recordings…

    FrontPage is still alive and well codenamed "FP12" right now, but there are significant product changes in that space comign soon, just we haven’t closed on everything and I’m not at liberty to share —

    but the key thing is "FP12" or whatever it becomes will be focused on the Information Worker, specifically for building, extending, and desingin Sharepoint sites. Expression "Quartz Web Designer" is focused at the Professional Design audience.

    One cool thing is that in Visual Studio "Orcas," VS will consume the design surface from "Quartz" and a number of the rich CSS/XML/XSLT features to further improve the seamless developer/designer interaction the products provdide.

    Hope this helps.



  8. bikeman says:

    why bother developing VWD Express if Quartz is just around the corner?

    Is there a product strategy at ms for these or is this another example of too much development budget and two teams fightin git out to see who wins?

  9. bgold says:

    I assure you there is plenty of strategy going on here — patience 🙂

  10. bikeman says:

    Where does quartz leave visual web developer express? Is there room for both?

    Did the two development teams not know of each other?

  11. bikeman says:

    care to share?

  12. bgold says:

    Expression Web Designer is focused on the professional designer whereas Visual Web Developer Express is focused on the Web Developer — big difference and it will be reflected in the tools.  I assure you the teams are working very closely together 🙂

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