By Hazimin Sulaiman
MICROSOFT Malaysia has recently launched the much awaited Microsoft Expression Web: the latest product under the Microsoft Expression Studio suite brand. Aimed to make things easier between Web designers and developers, Microsoft is confident that Expression Web will make collaboration a seamless process. And that is thanks to greater support for creating standards-based Web sites in using hypertext/extensible markup language (HTML/XHTML), cascading style sheets (CSS) and extensible markup language (XML).
The efforts put into this product is perfectly geared up with Microsoft’s “people-ready” concept. From the demonstration by professional interactive, Web design and application development company XIMnet (M) Sdn Bhd, it was clear that designers and developers no longer need to bicker around on creative and programming differences, since the usage of XML makes it easier to create rich-environment applications for the Web without much headache.
Microsoft (M) Sdn Bhd, developer tools, product solutions marketing manager Tang Siak Kwan says that “Microsoft Expression Web is a product to help creative professionals to build high-quality, standard compliant Web sites the way they want it to work. It enables the user to deliver next-generation user experiences for Windows, the Web and beyond.”
Lack of proper integration has long hampered the building of dynamic, innovative, flexible and consumer-friendly Web applications. Often enough, designers who design creative user interfaces are disappointed that their injected creativity gets lost in implementation.
XIMnet’s chief alchemist Wiley Chin says that today it’s all about standards: a key feature which Expression Web supports. It is something which the Web design community regards as more important today than ever before. “Browsers today read according to standards and search engines rank Web sites higher if they’re standards based,” he says.
Well, creative designers will whine no more about having their artistic visions reduced to rubble due to technical constraints.
Using Expression Web, for example, a picture gallery of 60 images, which in .jpeg would occupy almost 10 megabytes can be easily put on the Web (in .png format) with a footprint size of only 20 kilobytes!
The sophisticated CSS management and formatting also lets designers work in a drag-and-dop environment, vastly reducing time required to perform complicated coding processes. Expression Web also automatically makes the adjustments needed for the Web site to look the same on whatever browser is used.
Microsoft Expression Web, the first from a new line of products (consisting Expression Blend for interactive animation, Expression Design for two-dimensional vector graphics and Expression Media for media and digital assets), supports XML, CSS, ASP.NET and XHTML. It can also be used with Visual Studio. Expression Web will be priced at approximately RM1,100.
Expression Blend and Design are available for public beta download while the Expression Media pre-test version will be available in the first quarter of 2007.