Expression Web 2 Beta - Overview of new features

Microsoft released a Beta version of Expression Web 2. There are a lot of new features which we'll discuss in detail.

Few words about Expression Web (In case this is the first time you get in touch with this tool). Expression Web is a tool that enables you to create modern, standard based web sites. it is a part of Expression Studio that includes other tools for development and design. It support CSS and XHTML validation and has very intuitive user interface. Previous version of Expression Web (1.0) is still available for download.

Now, we'll go through the list of new features I consider useful. Official list of new features can be found on Expression Web Beta main page.

1. ASP.NET AJAX

Expression Web 2 enables you to use ASP.NET Ajax controls: ScriptManager, UpdatePanel, UpdateProgress and ScriptManagerProxy. You can use extenders from Ajax Control Toolkit as well. As in VisualStudio, in order to use these controls, you have to install ASP.NET Ajax or to install .NET Framework 3.5.

Ajax

2. Import from Photoshop

This great feature enables you to extract whole image or selected layers from Photoshop PSD file and generate PNG, JPG or GIF file that you can use on pages. You can quickly update PSD file and extract a fresh version of your images.

3. Custom ASP.NET controls

You now have a support for your custom ASP.NET controls. You will have full Intellisense support. You can download existing controls from ASP.NET Control Gallery.

4. ASP.NET data controls

Since Expression Web now supports .NET Framework 3.5, you are able to use new ListView and DataPager controls. They resides in Toolbox pane under ASP.NET -> Data section.

Data controls

5. Support for Silverlight 1.0, Flash and other media

You can now embed Silverlight 1.0 components, Flash movies or WMV movies into your pages. That means you will have a preview in Design view and you will have the ability to modify HTML files generated with Silverlight.

Media

In addition, you can insert and run any other type of ActiveX control, such as QuickTime or RealPlayer.

6. PHP Support

Expression Web now support PHP pages without a need for another development server. A simple "Preview in Browser" will do the job. It has a color coding support and PHP intellisense that will make your development comfortable. A good feature is PHP code snippets that you can easily insert from a menu.

PHP Support

Although I am not familiar wit PHP, I think this is a good news for PHP developers.

Summary

A new version of Expression Web have some really exciting features like ASP.NET Ajax support and import form Photoshop that will make Expression Web 2 a good investment. There are more features in version 2 but those wasn't interesting enough to me :)

Again, a list of all new features can be found here.

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Published Monday, March 31, 2008 11:46 AM by janko
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