Add Expression to Your Applications Using Microsoft Expression Studio
By Joydip Kanjilal
Microsoft Expression Studio is a suite of components (Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design, and Expression Media) that opens up a new world of creative possibility . Together, these components make up a great suite for the design and development of desktop and Web (even multimedia-compatible) applications with rich user interfaces. Microsoft Expression Studio takes your creative possibilities to a new level. The professional design tools and innovative technologies in Expression Studio give you the flexibility and freedom to bring your vision to reality whether you are designing standards-based Web sites, rich user experiences for the desktop and Silverlight, or managing digital assets and content. Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/.
This article takes a brief look at this suite, its components, how it integrates with ASP.NET, and the features of each of the components of Microsoft Expression Studio. Microsoft Expression Blend 2 is a professional design tool that can be used to create scalable Windows Presentation Foundation applications using Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or higher. You can learn a lot about Expression Blend and Silverlight from Scott Guthrie s series of articles at http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2008/02/28/first-look-at-using-expression-blend-with-silverlight-2.aspx.
Do You Know?
Microsoft introduced Microsoft Expression in the fall of 2005. The latest version of Microsoft Expression Studio, Version 2, was released on May 1, 2008. You can download a free trial copy of Microsoft Expression Studio from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7AE2720C-72BA-489B-ADBB-EE6F3C79066D&displaylang=en.
So, What s Inside?
The Microsoft Expression Studio suite contains:
- Expression Design
- Expression Web
- Expression Blend
- Expression Encoder
- Expression Media
Microsoft Expression Design is an illustration and graphical design tool you can use to design workflows and create visual and graphic effects quickly and easily.
Microsoft Expression Web provides a professional design environment using which you can design modern day Web sites with rich user interfaces. It supports ASP.NET 3.5 and enables you to isolate design from the content seamlessly. It is a great offering from Microsoft for designing Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).
You can use Microsoft Expression Blend to design for both the desktop and the Web with WYSIWYG user interfaces. It comprises a bundle of controls and uses XAML internally. It also is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio. Wei-Meng Lee states: Microsoft Expression Blend is a new full-featured design tool for creating highly-interactive and sophisticated Windows application user interfaces using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Reference: http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/35701/0.
Microsoft Expression Encoder is an encoding tool that can be used to quickly design Webcasts using Microsoft Silverlight. Microsoft s Official Web site states, With more than a dozen built-in Silverlight media player templates, Expression Encoder offers the fastest way to publish media assets to the web in a Silverlight experience. Add a custom publishing plug-in to deliver finished content directly to your server or service. Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/features/Default.aspx?key=encoder.
Microsoft Expression Media is a management tool that can be used to organize your digital assets. Microsoft s Official Web site states, Expression Media enables you to create visual databases of media, called catalogs, containing references of up to 128,000 files per catalog. Store your files anywhere: shared folders, CDs, hard drives, or DVDs, and use integrated search tools to find them in seconds Expression Media will keep track of them all. Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/features/Default.aspx?key=media.
This article has had a quick look at Microsoft Expression Studio (Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design, and Expression Media) and its features. It also presented the links to resources for further study on this technology.
- Wikipedia on Microsoft Expression Studio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Expression_Studio
- Microsoft Expression Community Web site: http://social.expression.microsoft.com/forums/en-us/general/threads/
- Scott Guthrie s articles on Microsoft Expression Blend: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2008/02/28/first-look-at-using-expression-blend-with-silverlight-2.aspx
- Microsoft Expression Studio Team Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/expression/
- Microsoft Expression Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/
- Online training on Microsoft Expression Studio: http://www.totaltraining.com/prod/microsoft/expression.asp; http://www.devx.com/RIA/Article/35776/0; http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/35701/0; http://www.devx.com/RichInternetApps/Article/35317/0; http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9024159
Joydip Kanjilal is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET. He has more than 12 years of industry experience in IT with more than six years in Microsoft .NET and its related technologies. He is the author of Entity Framework Tutorial (Packt Publishing), Pro Sync Framework (Apress), Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET Ajax in 24 Hours (Sams Publishing), and ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials (Packt Publishing), and has authored articles for some of the most reputable sites, including http://www.asptoday.com, http://www.devx.com, http://www.aspalliance.com, http://www.aspnetpro.com, http://www.sql-server-performance.com, and http://www.sswug.com. Many of these articles have been selected at http://www.asp.net, Microsoft s official site for ASP.NET. Joydip was also a community credit winner at http://www.community-credit.com a number of times. He is currently working as a Lead Architect in a reputable company in Hyderabad, India. He has years of experience in designing and architecting solutions for various domains. His technical strengths include, C, C++, VC++, Java, C#, Microsoft .NET, AJAX, Design Patterns, SQL Server, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. Joydip blogs at http://aspadvice.com/blogs/joydip and spends most of his time reading books and blogs, and writing books and articles. His hobbies include watching cricket and soccer and playing chess.