Archive for December, 2006

20
Dec
06

Great opportunity to chat with the WPF team

Following on from a couple of requests Tim Sneath received, I’m delighted to announce that we’ll be hosting our first ever live online technical chat with the WPF team on the MSDN site this Thursday, December 21st, at 8:30pm GMT (that’s 3:30pm ET, 12:30pm Pacific, 9:30pm CET). We’ll have a collection of the WPF team on hand to answer your technical questions, hear your feedback on what we should be doing in our next release, share great tips and tricks for using WPF, and just generally connecting with one another.

If you’re interested, you can open this ICS file to add the appointment to your calendar.

Hope to see you there – here’s the URL:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/chats/

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07
Dec
06

The Microsoft Design Website

As part of the Expression launch this week a new area of microsoft.com has been launched.

http://www.microsoft.com/design

This is the focal point for all design related topics and already there are some excellent articles on there. The site has broad reach and covers everything design related at Microsoft, already there are aticles on the new Expression products, the new UI of Office and the Xbox 360.

I cant wait to see the content that gets added to the site over the coming months, it looks like it’s going to be both broad and deep in content and the site will hopefully become a great resource for the design community as a whole.

Enjoy!

07
Dec
06

Expression is out in wild…

Finally on Dec 4th the news about the Expression products went across the wires. This is an incredibly exciting time for everyone involved in the project.

As a team we were down at Flash on the Beach, which was really the first time in the world that the new Expression products had been shown in the wild. Kudos to the product teams for pulling in the releases a couple of weeks to allow us to anounce at the event!

So the final line up of products in the Studio are:

Expression Web…
…is a standards based HTML/XHTML/CSS editor that in my opinion writes the cleanest code I’ve ever seen from a visual editor. Expression Web is the firwst product to reach release status and is available now!

You can find out more or download a trial from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/Ex…

 

Expression Design…
…is a illustration tool that you can use to build the resources and UI elements for your desktop applications, or for creating graphics for use within your web sites created with Expression Web.

One of the most powerful features of Expression Design is the fact that it writes out it’s images in XAML the new presentation markup language that is common across Expression Design, Expression Blend, Visual Studio and many thrid party applications such as ZAM 3D.

This is a huge benefit for the designer – developer workflow as you are always working natively in the presentation layer language 🙂

Expression Design as you would expect has a full range of professional drawing/illustration tools as well as a huge range of organic brushes that can be used to, excuse the pun, add ‘expression’ and texture to your graphics.

Your finsihed work can be export as a single canvas/graphic, as resources to be utilised within a Expression Blend project or a WPF/e object. The great thing here is that this decision doesn’t need to be amde until the final export.

For more information on the new Expression Design CTP, which is the first CTP to sport the new UI schema, or to download a demo please visit:

http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/ex…

 

Expression Blend…
…whoah! What a change!

Expression Blend allows you to create applications that ‘blend’ the best of the desktop with the web. This product used to be know as Interactive Designer and aloong with the name change has had a complete feature and UI overhaul and now not only looks amazing but is much easier to use. In fact the amount of work you can get done without getting your hands dirty in the code is simply unbelievable.

Some highlights to explore with the new Beta 1 release are the easy to use data binding functionality, the powerful templating and styling features and the very flexible timeline. The timeline uses a feature in Blend called hand off timelines which can make some previously very complex animations simpy a joy to build in Blend.

Blend gives you full access to the power of WPF and is a must have for anyone that is looking to deploy an application on Windows that leverages the the .Net framework – you really need Blend to add that visual finese that people will come to expect once they have started using Vista.

There is also some really slick integration with Visual Studio so as you start to build outr the back end of the application you can seemlessly move from your design surface into your application logic environment. This movement from one to the other is something that we tried to achieve at Macromedia for years and this is the closest yet to designer – developer workflow utopia. Can’t wait to see how this evolves as the tools mature.

You can get more information and downlaod the Beta from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/Ex…

 

Expression Media…
…aka iView MediaPro. This is the number one DAM (Digital Assest Management) Tool in the professional photography market. Expression Media will extend this in several areas the most notible being the addition of a video encoder allowing for the easy deployment of WMV files to web via WPF/e.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Simon Street who is the Evangalist for iView while we were at Flash on the Beach and whoa what a product!

I was blown away by the speed and power of the indexing, thumbnail creation, light table viewing, tagging, in fact it surpassed all my expectations. I can’t wait to get home and start moving my vast, well vast for me 5000+ photos from iPhoto to iView in the next few days. The handy thing about iView is that it is crossplatform so my wife can happily use it on PowerBook G4, while I can run it on my MacTel that’s running Vista 24/7. Perfect.

If you’ve got a lot of photos and you’ve been thinking of moving to a serious DAM solution such as Apature or Lightroom, it’s probably time to think again and check out iView MediaPro 3 – it rocks! iView MediaPro will continue to be available until Expression Media ships later in the year.

You can downlaod the latest trial and get information on the product from:

Info on Expression Media:
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/ex…

Information and downlaod for iView MediaPro:
http://www.iview-multimedia.com/

Wow… that’s a lot of annoucements and we haven’t even talked about WPF/e yet! The best thing about all this if you’re a designer – your toolbox has just got bigger 🙂