Targeted at digital designers and at Visual Studio developers designing rich application UIs, Expression Studio 4 adds more robust visual tools that eliminate the need to work with Extensible Markup Language XAML code and provide enhanced SketchFlow functionality for enabling interactive, prototype apps. The latest release comes just nine months after Microsoft launched Expression Studio 3. Microsoft is allowing current owners of version 3 to upgrade to Expression Studio 4 at no charge. Dave Mendlen, senior director of Developer Marketing at Microsoft, said the company is anxious to get the message out with this version of Expression Studio. Expression Encoder is a digital video encoding application. Of these, Expression Blend 4 is of greatest interest to Visual Studio developers, enabling them to manipulate working XAML code using rich, visual interfaces. Developer Experience Mendlen said Expression Studio appeals to two classes of developer experience: In the former instance, developers in Visual Studio and designers in Expression Blend can work on the same XAML code, passing it back and forth between them without the need for translation or conversion. Mendlen said the process is far superior to the status quo, where designers mock up interfaces as static images, which they "throw over the wall" for the developers to work against. John Harris, senior product manager of Expression Studio at Microsoft, said his team looked at the products in the Expression suite and made what he called "obvious bets. He singled out efforts to better integrate Expression Blend into traditional design work, as well as Blend's updated support for Visual Studio projects. He also said Blend 4 offers enhanced support for Model-View-ViewModel development, critical for Silverlight dev shops seeking to decouple UI and business logic. Harris also said that Blend 4 provides enhanced support for robust, data driven UIs, eliminating the need to work with XAML code to create dashboard like functionality. In Blend 3, he said, "you'd have to really get into the code and do a lot of stuff. Harris said the SketchFlow functionality in Blend 4 is optimized to manage feedback to the dev team. Beyond Blend Expression Studio 4 continues to cater to a broader market of Web site designers and media producers, with streamlined Web site building tools and enhanced browser compatibility testing that lets designers preview their work as it would appear on different browsers. A new search engine optimization engine scans Web site projects and provides suggestions for improving your site's performance with search ranking engines. The Expression Encoder 4 application adds support for efficient h. It also provides real-time digital rights management DRM support for streaming video, said Harris. About the Author.
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