Down the Expression memory lane…

Last Friday, we reached a major milestone in our quest to win the hearts and minds of creative designers with the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) of the first edition of Expression Studio.  It has been a very interesting journey so far with a lot of twists and turns.  Like always, it is a journey and the future looks even more exciting.

It all started with 2 basic premises:

·         Creative designers are a critical part of building the next generation user experiences.   As a result, we see designers and developers needing to work more collaboratively than ever before.

·         We need great tools support as we build the next generation presentation platform.

As we were starting to work on Windows Presentation Foundation several years ago, we also started an incubation to build a tool which has since then grown to be Expression Studio.  I have had a chance to experience and learn a number of valuable lessons along the way.  Here are a few of them:

1)     Understand your customer and build an experience that is both targeted and relevant for them.  For those of you who have seen the earliest CTPs of some of these tools and the UI that we had, you will understand what I am talking about.

2)     When you are building a team, take the time to bring in the right people on board and don’t compromise.

3)     Be very thoughtful about when you are incubating something and when you make the transition to productize the same.  This is a statement of goals, a statement of priorities, a statement of customer scenarios that you want to enable, a statement of resource allocation and a statement of time to market.  In other words, you need to be intentional and nurturing along the way.

4)     Let the experts do their job.  Put the right person in the right job, empower them and enable them to do their best. 

I do want to thank the team for doing an amazing job on delivering a great set of tools with Expression Studio.  Onwards to the next phase of the Expression journey!


Comments (8)

  1. Arjun says:

    You all have come a long way since the early CTPs…congrats!

  2. Sergio says:

    Silverlight looks like an interesting tool.  I just wish that Microsoft would get over itself and throw some support to the Linux community ONCE in a while.  I’ll never consider Silverlight for my development needs because of Microsoft’s pride.

    Wake up Microsoft, it’s not ALL about the OS.

    Great work though on an interesting tool.


  3. Jon says:

    Full disclosure: I am a former MS employee. Sergio, not to get into an argument, but what if one considered it less an issue of pride and more of market share? It’s not like Adobe goes out of its way to support the Linux community either. About all I found on their site other than Acrobat Reader and the Flash Player was "Advanced Pizza Response Script (Perl)" from seven years ago.

    In my case, most of my development is Windows-centric and tools like these allow me to leverage my skills for any Windows app (other than, obviously, console apps). Frankly, as long as the Silverlight plug-in supports Firefox on OS X I could consider my bases covered. I have really liked what I’ve found so far in the Expression toolbox. I’ll also continue to use tools like Adobe Illustrator, which I’ve had since AI ’88 and Flash/Flex when I have to.

  4. I would be really interested in someone writting up a comparison between Silverlight/Expression and the Flash/Flex/Flash Media Server paradigms.

    It feels a bit like MS is simply hopping into the graphic (web) design industry about a half a decade late.

    I think that sometimes we forget that while the client-side of the universe has folk "authoring" on a windows/mac environment, Linux/Unix still serves up an amazing amount of hosting in the real web world.

    I think that MS investigated the sensibility of creating the "office" tools for the mac market.  I think that it only make sense to acknowledge how many mac-based designers there are and that a good next step would be porting these products to the intel-mac world.

    I can’t see any reason to not port .NET to be authored on a mac and hosted on Linux.  I believe it would end the debate about which server-side solution would be best and what tools to design in.

  5. Luis Labrada says:

    Look at the site ( while is still

    an ajax/flash solutions

    Pretty soon, it will be converted to silverlight

    Congratulations Microsoft

  6. The extensibilty of Silverlight and the Expression tools, especially Blend, Encoder, and Design are very exciting. I hope we will see some tighter interaction between these and the SharePoint platform moving forward as this is something I am already seeing a tremendous amount of interest in from my clients.

  7. BizTube Streamer says:

    Silverlight look light a mighty new tool. If you look at websites currently streaming videos now, like does that mean we’ll start seeing 3 player button options like 1. Silverlight 2. Flash 3. Windows media?

    …or will Silverlight replace them all eventually?

  8. vipinr says:

    I can understand Microsoft not supporting Linux. I can even understand it not supporting end-of-lifecycle products of its own line Windows 98 or Me. But only supporting Windows XP SP2+ and Windows Vista is pushing it too far. I use a Windows 2000 SP4 system, so am I already an outcast from experiencing silverlight? Too much arm twisting for me to upgrade my Windows, which I am not currently interested in doing.