Rahul Sharma

Microsoft Expression Web

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Developer(s)  Microsoft
Initial release  December 4, 2006; 10 years ago (2006-12-04)
Last release  4 (4.0.1460.0) / December 20, 2012; 4 years ago (2012-12-20)
Development status  Discontinued Mainstream support until: September 8, 2015 (2015-09-08) Extended support until: September 8, 2020 (2020-09-08)
Operating system  Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Platform  IA-32; DirectX, .NET Framework 4.0, Silverlight v4

Microsoft Expression Web, code-named Quartz, is an HTML editor and general web design software product by Microsoft. It is available free of charge from Microsoft and is a component of the discontinued Expression Studio.

Contents

Expression Web can design and develop web pages using HTML5, CSS 3, ASP.NET, PHP, JavaScript, XML+XSLT and XHTML. Expression Web 4 requires .NET Framework 4.0 and Silverlight 4.0 to install and run. Expression Web uses its own standards-based rendering engine which is different from Internet Explorer's Trident engine.

Version history

On May 14, 2006, Microsoft released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) version of Expression Web. On September 5, 2006, Microsoft released Beta 1. Beta 1 removed most of the FrontPage-proprietary (non-standard) features such as bots (use of FPSE features for server-side scripting), parts, functions, themes, automatic generation of navigation buttons, FrontPage forms, navigation pane to build a web site's hierarchy, and other non-standard features available in CTP 1. The Release To Manufacturing version was made available on December 4, 2006. The first and the only service pack was published in December 2007. Expression Web does not have the form validation controls for HTML fields like FrontPage, but supports validator controls for ASP.NET.

Microsoft Expression Web 2 was released in 2008. Expression Web 2 offers native support for PHP and Silverlight. No service packs have been released for version 2.

Microsoft Expression Web 3 was released in 2009. Until version 2, Expression Web was the only application in the Expression Studio suite based on Microsoft Office code and dependencies. With version 3, Expression Web was rewritten in Windows Presentation Foundation, in line with the rest of the Expression Suite, without Microsoft Office dependencies. A result of this was features like customizable toolbars and menus, standard Windows color scheme, spell check, DLL addins, file menu export feature, drag-and-drop between remote sites, comparing sites by timestamp, automatic language tagging, basic macro support were removed in this version. Other features like Undo do not work reliably. Version 3 introduced Expression Web 3 SuperPreview tool for comparing and rendering webpage in various browsers. Also noted was the lack of support for root relative links, links that start with a "/" to refer to the root of a web server. This feature was added with Expression 3 Service Pack 1. Service Pack 2 for Expression Web 3 was released in April 2010.

Microsoft Expression Web 4 was released on June 7, 2010. It added the option of HTML add-ins, and access to a web-based SuperPreview functionality, for testing pages on browsers that cannot be installed on the user's system (such as Mac OS X or Linux browsers). Microsoft Expression Web 4 also provides an SEO Checker which analyzes produced web site against the best practices for getting the highest possible search-engine rankings. Version 4 does not bring back all the features removed in Version 3. Expression Web 4 Service Pack 1 was released in March 2011 and added support for IntelliSense for the HTML5 and CSS3 draft specifications in the Code editor, HTML5 and CSS3 support in the CSS Properties palette, selected CSS3 properties in the Style dialogs, semantic HTML5 tags in Design View and new PHP5.3 functions. Expression Web 4 SP2 was released in July 2011, and fixed a number of issues and introduced new features such as jQuery IntelliSense support, a panel for managing snippets, Interactive Snapshot Panel, comment/uncomment functionality in Code View, and workspace and toolbar customization.

Availability

As of December, 2012, Microsoft has announced that Expression Studio will no longer be a stand-alone product. Expression Blend is being integrated into Visual Studio, while Expression Web and Expression Design will now be free products. Technical support is available for customers who purchased Expression Web or Expression Design following their published support lifetime guides, while no support will be offered to free downloaders. No new versions of Expression Web or Design are planned.

Reception

Microsoft Expression Web received positive reviews. PC Pro awarded Expression Web 2 five stars out of six. "It largely succeeded by concentrating on providing standards-compliant support for the web's core markup languages, (X)HTML and CSS," Tom Arah concluded.

PC Magazine also rated Expression Web 2 with 4 stars out of 5 and labeled it as a more cost-effective option compared to the main competitor, Adobe Dreamweaver. "Even if money is no object, Expression Web 2 might be your better choice," editor Edward Mendelson wrote. However, PC Magazine criticized a lack of "Secure FTP in its Web-publishing functions" and "the ability to create browser-based (as opposed to server-based) scripting of dynamic pages that works in all browsers, including Safari". On the other hand, PC Magazine noted that "most designers won't care about their absence". However, Microsoft Expression 3 later added support for SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) (otherwise known as Secure FTP) as well as FTP over SSL (FTPS).

Expression Web 4, like the previous versions, also received positive reviews with PC Magazine calling it an "efficient website editor with full support for current standards," and praising its "clear interface" and "flexible preview functions."

References

Microsoft Expression Web Wikipedia


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