Windows 8: Making the case for Expression Blend

imageOne of the coolest parts of the XAML designer in Visual Studio 2012 is that it is the same code base as the designer in Expression Blend for XAML. That’s right. Blend’s designer used to be better, but now Visual Studio developers are first class, too.

Visual Studio inherited quite a windfall!

Here’s a comparison of the features between Blend and Visual Studio. It’s pretty clear that at its highest level, Visual Studio got the big end of the stick. That’s really great.

Here’s the source for that chart.

Yeah, but, um…

imageOf course, in Beta, the new XAML designer isn’t perfect. One of the funnier quirks is that the designer says “you can continue working while the designer is loading” except that auto complete, the properties dialog, and some other core features of the editor don’t light up until the designer completely loads.

Why is that funny? Well, it’s like that message that intellisense is still building from meta data – please continue working. How is a crippled, lazy developer like me supposed to continue working without my intellisense crutch and autocomplete. Now, come on! It should read, “you can browse” or “go check Facebook” while waiting…

In addition, during beta I have found myself opening Task Manager and hunting for “XDesProc” when something goes wrong. Now that the designer is outside of the Visual Studio process, you can recycle it without having to recycle Visual Studio. That’s a handy tip if you are working with the beta.

Here’s the point

The Visual Studio 2010 XAML designer was pretty nice. But it had limits in functionality and stability that drove me to Blend. As lovely as this Dev 11 update is, I can’t help but be concerned that Visual Studio developers who avoided Blend, have even less reason to try it!

That’s why I wrote the following:

Read the entire Case for Blend here.

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