Microsoft Corp. has announced the release of Expression Studio 2. The suite of professional design tools includes Expression Web 2, Expression Blend 2, Expression Design 2, Expression Media 2 and Expression Encoder 2 and works seamlessly with Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 - bringing a solution to the designer and developer workflow challenge.
The innovations in Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML), used by both Expression Studio and Visual Studio, allow for designer-developer collaboration for the creation of both standards-based and Microsoft Silverlight-enhanced Web experiences as well as Windows Vista and .NET Framework 3.5 client applications.
In line with the team's commitment to short release cycles, Expression Studio 2 is coming to market one year after the last release with major updates to each product.
The products together contain more than 100 new features and introduce new Microsoft Silverlight functionality for creating cross-browser, cross-platform Web experiences.
Expression Web 2 adds support for PHP and Adobe Photoshop import based on customer feedback. Likewise, Expression Blend 2, in addition to Silverlight support, adds vertex animation and an improved user interface with a new split design/XAML view.
The Expression Design 2 software adds improved exporting functionality including the ability to export slices, while Expression Media 2 is a digital asset management solution for photographers and other creative professionals. It adds support for the latest file formats including RAW, provides geotagging functionality, and is supported by Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office for Mac 2008.
Expression Encoder 2 is now a core offering of the suite. It allows creative and Web professionals to optimize almost any type of video content quickly for publishing on the Web, either in streaming video, rich-media advertising or other Web 2.0 projects.
As announced at MIX08, Microsoft also is introducing the Microsoft Expression Professional Subscription in June 2008, which includes the full suite along with a number of other Microsoft programs such as Visual Studio, Windows Vista and Microsoft Office to help users get started at US$999.