Sharing designer between Expression Web and Visual Studio

As you probably know, Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008 include designer that is shared with Expression Web. See my earlier post on this. Both Expression Web and VS are using same base code, but each team adds unique functionality. We share bug fixes and core feature set. For example, VS 2008 improved server control positioning, added .NET 3.5 and support for CSS overflow property. All these improvements will be available in Expression Web 2, currently in Beta. Expression Web 2 will also include fixes that are not in VS 2008 RTM since they were made to the designer after VS has shipped. These changes will appear in the next VS 2008 Service Pack (I don’t have public date, sorry).

Note that designer is not shared as a binary, so installing Visual Studio 2008 will not update Expression Web 1.0 designer and install of Expression Web 2 will not change Visual Studio or Visual Web Developer 2008 RTM bits.We share base source code, but each team builds its own copy and authors their own setup. There are various reasons to this, both technical and logistical, such as different teams are using different set of tools. Developer division always dogfoods the most recent compiler, so VS 2008 is built using VS 2008 C++ and C# compilers. However, Expression team does not use “hot” compilers and instead use shipped versions.

Comments (6)

  1. ebnador says:

    It would be nice if VS got some of the tools from expression web, such as the apply and manage styles windows.

  2. ebnador says:

    Sorry, my bad. They weren’t turned on by default for me, and I didn’t look at the view menu while in an aspx file. This is fantastic! Thank you

  3. Mikhail, any pointers to extensibility of the designer? See my Q at for what I’m looking for (you were mentioned there).

  4. Techdribble says:

    This was a massive step backwards the visual designer in VS2008 forced me to go back to VS2005 to remain productive and reduce my level of frustration with what is a half baked amateur effort. I have no problem with the rest of VS2008 I will just be not using the web design part and will not recommend it.

    If this is in indication of the quality of Expression web designer then I am glad I dont use it.

  5. George says:

    Assuming you still have Visual Studio 2003 or some other web designer that allows multi selection of controls etc etc etc, use that for your GUI design and just flip and refresh in VS 2008.

    The confluence of blind idealism and incompetence – Disaster!