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Microsoft killing off Expression suite of Web and design tools

ms visual studio expression suite r.i.p.

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#1 +Frank B.

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 18:50

Microsoft killing off Expression suite of Web and design tools
Redmond is focusing on efforts to extend Visual Studio and Azure instead.


Microsoft has quietly announced that its Expression suite of Web and design-oriented tools is being killed off and phased out.


Vector graphics drawing tool Expression Design 4 has been end-of-lifed. No new versions will be developed, and it's no longer for sale. You can now download it for free, and it will continue to receive security patches as necessary until at least 2015. Microsoft is offering no replacement or alternative to users of the product.

The same has happened to HTML and CSS authoring tool Expression Web 4. It's no longer for sale and no new versions will be released, and it's now available as a free download. Instead of developing Expression Web, Microsoft will continue to extend and improve Visual Studio's HTML, CSS, and JavaScript capabilities, with the IDE now being the company's main actively maintained Web development tool (though WebMatrix is also still being developed). The SuperPreview Remote service that allowed developers to view their pages in a range of browsers hosted on Microsoft's servers will operate until the end of June 2013.

Also being rolled into Visual Studio is Expression Blend, the tool for building user interfaces in XAML. Visual Studio has incorporated some of Blend's capabilities already, and Windows Store apps (both XAML and HTML) and Windows Phone apps use these integrated features. WPF and Silverlight developers should stick with Expression Blend for the time being; however, they too will be able to use Visual Studio 2012's integrated support when Microsoft releases Visual Studio 2012 Update 2, which is expected sometime next year.

Update: Although Microsoft's page claims that Blend will be integrated with Visual Studio, we areinformed by Microsoft's XAML tool developers that this is not in fact the case, and Blend will remain as a standalone product, albeit one that is bundled with Visual Studio.

The final part of the expression suite, Expression Encoder, does have a little more life left in it. Expression Encoder is used for both offline media conversion and online media streaming. It already has a free version, with various feature limitations, and a Pro version that adds support for additional codecs (including H.264). Expression Encoder 4 Pro will continue to be for sale until the end of 2013, though like the other products, it will not undergo any future development and there will be no new versions. Encoding, format conversion, and media streaming will all continue to be developed, but as part of the Windows Azure Media Services.

The Expression Studio packages which bundled together various Expression-branded apps are also discontinued and withdrawn from sale, effective immediately.

With this move, Microsoft is essentially ending the development of any tooling that is oriented atdesign professionals rather than developers. In the light of the company's new, albeit uneven, emphasis on design, this is a rather surprising move to say the least. Adobe is dominant in this field, and it doesn't appear that Microsoft's products were making any real impact on the market (except perhaps for Blend). But now the company appears to no longer even be trying to court designers and have them integrate with its design ethos, such as it is.

Source: Ars Technica


#2 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 21:31

Admittedly I've not used Expression for quite a while (Expression 3 was the last I used), but the Web designer in particular was terrible. I designed a PHP project in Web, and one day it decided to destroy all the code in the project because I renamed a file. I looked up the bug, and it was known, but Microsoft's best response was "wait for expression web 4". I restored my backup and went back to Eclipse. Not as nice to use, but it didn't ruin my work.

Worst Microsoft product I ever used after Windows ME.

Good riddance.

#3 MorganX

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 21:33

I actually though Expression Suite 4 was pretty nice. They didn't really put a lot of marketing into it. I don't think they really wanted to go toe-to-toe with Adobe.

#4 +jamesyfx

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:01

That didn't seem to last very long.

They actually gave me the option to use Expression Web when I was doing a web design course. But I opted for a text editor instead.

From the experience in using it briefly I would say it's better than Dreamweaver, but it was still a bit of a mess.

#5 LaP

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:07

Eclipse. Not as nice to use, but it didn't ruin my work.



Did you try Aptana Studio ?

It's not the fastest around but imo for web dev it's awesome.

#6 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:12

Did you try Aptana Studio ?

It's not the fastest around but imo for web dev it's awesome.


I did for a long time, it's one of the best Eclipse mods I've seen, although it's a bit intrusive for my liking (it's better to install the full version rather than the Eclipse plugin version). A couple of months ago I started using Netbeans. I was quite pleasantly surprised by it's PHP/HTML/JS/CSS support. It seems quite a lot faster than Eclipse as well.

#7 Mordkanin

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:15

Update: Although Microsoft's page claims that Blend will be integrated with Visual Studio, we areinformed by Microsoft's XAML tool developers that this is not in fact the case, and Blend will remain as a standalone product, albeit one that is bundled with Visual Studio.



Come on Microsoft. This is utterly moronic.

These tools should have been baked into Visual Studio from the start. It's annoying as hell to have a better XAML *designer* in one app, and a better XAML *editor* in another, trying to work on the same file simultaneously.

Expression Blend should have never existed. It should have been the VS WPF designer, which is still woefully lacking, from day 1.

#8 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:17

Come on Microsoft. This is utterly moronic.

These tools should have been baked into Visual Studio from the start. It's annoying as hell to have a better XAML *designer* in one app, and a better XAML *editor* in another, trying to work on the same file simultaneously.


My life would be a little more complete if Visual Studio came with PHP support.

#9 LaP

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:20

I did for a long time, it's one of the best Eclipse mods I've seen, although it's a bit intrusive for my liking (it's better to install the full version rather than the Eclipse plugin version). A couple of months ago I started using Netbeans. I was quite pleasantly surprised by it's PHP/HTML/JS/CSS support. It seems quite a lot faster than Eclipse as well.


Yeah netbeans is a great ide my only problem with it is it supports mostly php and java only (anyway last time i checked) while Aptana natively supports php, ruby and python (and JQuery code completion) and since it's Eclipse under the hood you can install a Perl plugin for pearl support and add java support as well.

#10 Mordkanin

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:20

My life would be a little more complete if Visual Studio came with PHP support.


I know. Visual Studio really is the best IDE. I could die happy, right now, if Microchip abandoned Netbeans and built MPLAB on the Visual Studio shell.

Oh well.

#11 brianshapiro

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 00:28

I use Expression Design a lot, its more efficient for a lot of design tasks than Adobe Illustrator. Before that, I used Microsoft PhotoDraw, and before that Image Composer. I also use AI but secondarily.

#12 AnotherITguy

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 01:20

Had limited experience with EXPRESSION STUDIO 2. gonna miss it, it was a very intuitive suite of software programs.

#13 remixedcat

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:54

Expression 4 is very nice. :(

#14 Growled

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:36

Microsoft annoys me the way they'll release a nice piece of software one year and then kill it off the next. Be consistent Microsoft.

#15 PGHammer

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:46

Microsoft annoys me the way they'll release a nice piece of software one year and then kill it off the next. Be consistent Microsoft.


The issue with Expression is that it competed with Adobe Creative Studio (CS) - and Adobe doesn't want ANYTHING competing with Flash (and unfortunately, most Flash devs think the same way - why else all the refusal to touch HTML5?). And as good as VS is as an IDE, it can't really afford to get ANY larger - not because it's not extensible (it is - if anything, it may be the most extensible IDE for development, regardless of platform), but due to antitrust reasons.



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