Today is a great day! If you’re a professional designer or developer looking to create a next-generation user experience, clean out your network cable, and make way for some really cool downloads.
To start with, this morning we announced Microsoft Expression Studio, a complete set of professional design tools for creating rich user experiences. Among the announcements:
- Expession Studio is made up of: Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media.
- As of today, you can download Expression Blend Beta 1 (formerly known as Expression Interactive Designer) and Expression Design December 2006 CTP (formerly known as Expression Graphic Designer). Both of these updates feature a greatly improved look-and-feel.
- Expression Web is now a shipping product. I’ve been using it to design some small sites, and its CSS support is fantastic.
- We’ve launched a new community for professional designers called the Microsoft Design Center. There’s already some good stuff there, including some behind-the-scenes looks into the design of the Xbox 360, Windows Vista, and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.
If that isn’t enough, we also released the first community technology preview of Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere, also known as “WPF/E.” Key points:
- WPF/E is a cross-platform browser plug-in for delivering rich media, animation, and video content (yes, I clipped that from a marketing blurb, and you have my apologies…but it does describe it quite well).
- Spend an hour listening to Joe Stegman’s Channel 9 interview about WPF/E.
- Download the browser plug-in for Windows or OS X. The Windows version is currently compatible with Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0, and Mozilla Firefox 184.108.40.206 and 2.0. The OSX version is currently compatible with Safari and Firefox 220.127.116.11 on MacOSX 10.4.8.
- Download the WPF/E SDK for samples, tools, documentation, and a Visual Studio 2005 project template. Note that you can also view the samples and documentation online (without the SDK).
- There are three new WPF/E-related MSDN Forums to check out.
- I’ve updated my Adobe Illustrator to XAML Export Plug-In to support the CTP of WPF/E. After you install this updated plug-in, you’ll see Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere XAML (*.XAML) added to the available export formats.
Whew! Anyone else want a cigarette!? 🙂