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Freedom of (Microsoft) Expression

Dave Mendlen really, really thinks more developers should be using Microsoft's Expression Blend 4 Web and application design application to create more visually compelling and effective application interfaces. The senior director of Developer Marketing at Microsoft called Expression Blend a "great secret weapon that most developers don't know about," noting that there are "a lot of applications out there that are the battleship gray, ugly, default Visual Studio applications."

You can read about the Expression Studio 4 launch here.

The problem for developers, said Mendlen, is that good enough is no longer good enough in an era of rich Web applications and sophisticated UIs. He argued that even corporate users, once accustomed to the ocular abuse of green screen apps, are having their tastes informed by Web experiences like those provided by Facebook.

"The benchmark for corporate applications is so much higher than in the past," Mendlen said. "The Visual Studio experience is frankly not good enough. You've got to have this great companion tool, Expression, to take those applications and make them gorgeous."

Whether or not you buy into Mendlen's Expression pitch, one thing is becoming clear: The rather massive and prolonged 2010 developer release wave is finally drawing to a close. Since January, we've seen an unprecedented refresh of developer tooling, starting with the launch of Windows Azure in January, through new releases of Visual Studio, .NET Framework, Silverlight, Office, SharePoint and SQL Server 2008 R2 in April and May, and concluding now with the release of Expression Studio 4 in June.

Mendlen said more announcements are coming, but he admitted that developers can look forward to settling down and mastering the new tools Microsoft has delivered over the past six months.

"For the 2010 wave, from a developer perspective, I think this is getting close to the end of our arsenal," he said.

"I really think this is a great secret weapon that most developers don't know about. A lot of people perceive expression for guys working in an agency. I think this particular specifically really addresses if you are a Visual Studio developer, you must you have to, and it's part of your subscription if you have MSDN, you've got to go play with this stuff."

Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/07/2010 at 1:15 PM


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