Microsoft has announced the release of its Expression 2 Studio design tools, which provide application design capabilities to complement application development capabilities of the company's Visual Studio toolset.
Leveraging XAML, the products in Expression Studio can be used to build standards-based and Microsoft Silverlight web experiences. Windows Vista and .Net Framework 3.5 client applications also can be designed.
Featured in the Expression Studio are the following products:
— Expression Web 2, a web design tool that adds support for PHP (hypertext preprocessor) and Adobe Photoshop.
— Expression Blend 2, an interactive design tool featuring Silverlight support, vertex animation, and an improved user interface with a split design/XAML view.
— Expression Design 2, a graphic design tool supporting exporting functionality, including the ability to export slices.
— Expression Media 2, a digital asset management product for photographers and other professionals. Support is added for file formats such as Raw. Geotagging functionality is also featured, as is support by Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office for Mac 2008.
— Expression Encoder 2, a video encoding tool that has become part of the core suite.
"The release of Expression Studio 2 flies in formation with the latest platform releases, such as Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation and is a very exciting milestone for the industry," Eric Zocher, general manager for Expression Studio at Microsoft, said in a statement. "Great user experience is at the heart and soul of our Expression family of tools and is fundamental to enabling developers and designers to collaborate on building and delivering dynamic, connected applications that help customers achieve results."
The entire suite can be purchased from retailers like Amazon.com or Best Buy starting in mid-May for an estimated retail price of US$699. All products except Expression Design 2 are available as standalone products.