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September 14, 2005

Microsoft Unveils Expression Family of Designer Tools

Posted by David Hunter at 2:18 PM ET.

Press release:

Sept. 14, 2005 — Today at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference 2005 (PDC05), Eric Rudder, senior vice president, Servers and Tools at Microsoft Corp., introduced Microsoft® Expression, a family of professional tools for the design and production of enhanced user experiences and rich content for the Web and Windows Vista™ platform. The announced products and their code names are Expression code-named “Acrylic Graphic Designer,” a painting, illustration and effects tool for creating graphic designs; Expression code-named “Sparkle Interactive Designer,” a user-interface design tool for modern application development using the Windows® Presentation Foundation; and Expression code-named “Quartz Web Designer,” a layout and design tool for creating Web sites.

Rudder stressed that the new tools portfolio, paired with the Windows Presentation Foundation, a powerful platform-level presentation and display engine, will help drive down the cost and effort associated with building richer, more compelling and exciting applications with unique differentiated capabilities.

Some details on the products:

“Acrylic Graphic Designer” Key Features and Benefits

• Dynamic visual effects. Designers can explore their creativity with innovative styles and graphic properties such as textures, fringes and dimensionality. New image effects such as blurs, drop shadows, color correction and filters can be accomplished by using nondestructive, editable Live Effects. “Acrylic Graphic Designer” also includes advanced features such as PhotoMontage.

• Flexible hybrid graphics environment. Built-in flexibility enables designers to alternate between vector-based and pixel-based elements within a hybrid graphics environment.

• Easy hand-over from design to development. Users can easily incorporate graphics into a variety of other software tools and industry formats, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio and XAML.

“Sparkle Interactive Designer” Key Benefits and Features

• Rich visual design environment. The design environment of “Sparkle Interactive Designer” enables the combination of multiple media elements such as vectors, pixel images, 3-D content, video, high-quality text, and animation for rich, cinematic user interfaces. Content can be contextualized by applying custom styles and layout to assist end-user interaction and comprehension.

• Custom styles and adaptive layout. With the inclusion of adaptive layout for various screen resolutions and form factors, customers can combine visual styles into compelling new interface elements.

• Easy hand-over from design to development. XAML enables the translation of the graphic user interface into the code environment, fostering seamless collaboration between developers and designers. Prototype, design and development stages within the software development process are optimized through the sharing of a common platform and integration with Visual Studio.

“Quartz Web Designer” Key Benefits and Features

• Advanced Web site design. “Quartz Web Designer” enables the direct manipulation of positioning, sizing and padding with CSS page layouts. The flexible, designer-focused work space provides easy access to task panes, toolbars and features. In addition, the rich design-time experience combined with integrated design and code views helps to deliver differentiated Web sites.

• Standards-based design. Web designers can create accessible, standards-based Web sites by default and configure flexible schema settings to support all combinations of HTML, XHTML and CSS standards as well as browser schemas. Built-in compatibility and accessibility checkers ensure that Web sites render properly in any browser.

• Easy hand-over from design to development. Support for XML, ASP.NET and XHTML offers easy integration between Web design and development teams with “Quartz Web Designer” and Visual Studio.

The Expression family web site is

Filed under Expression Blend, Expression Design, Expression Studio, Expression Web, OS - Client, Office, Office 2007, Technologies, Tools, VS 2005, WPF, Windows Vista

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2 Responses to “Microsoft Unveils Expression Family of Designer Tools”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft launches Expression Acrylic and Sparkle CTPs Says:

    [...] Microsoft formally unveiled the Expression family of design tools at last September’s Professional Developers Conference and late yesterday released Community Technology Previews of two of them: Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer (”Sparkle”) and Expression Graphic Designer “Acrylic”). There was no word on Expression Web Designer (”Quartz”). [...]

  2. Microsoft acquires iView Multimedia -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] A: Microsoft bought iView because we are a premier provider of digital asset management (DAM) technology. Today’s creative and business professionals create, share and store large volumes of digital files. iView’s DAM software tools are essential for streamlining workflows to manage and use these files. There’s speculation in the CNET article that the iView products will be used to complement Microsoft’s Expression family of development tools and that’s as a good an estimate as any until more concrete details are not yet available. Filed under Acquisitions, Tools, Expression, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

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