Expression Blend and Design

The team blog of the Expression Blend and Design products.

April, 2008

  • Expression Blend and Design

    .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 Beta and Expression Blend

    • 27 Comments

    Recently, a beta of .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 was released. There is currently an incompatibility with Expression Blend/SP1, Expression Blend 2, and Expression Blend 2.5 March 2008 (whose version number is 2.1.1111.0) where Blend will not work if you have .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta installed.

    We currently have a version of Expression Blend 2.5 March 2008 Preview (referred to as Blend 2.5 Preview from now on) that fixes this incompatibility, but you will only be able to create and edit WPF and Silverlight 1 projects. While Blend 2.5 Preview will also allow you to create and edit Silverlight 2 projects, they are not supported by Visual Studio at this time.  If you are doing any Silverlight 2 development, please do not install .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta until a future Silverlight Tools update is made available.

    Download Updated Blend 2.5 Preview
    If you downloaded and installed a version of Blend 2.5 Preview prior to May 9th, please uninstall your existing version of Blend 2.5 Preview and install the updated version of from the following link:


    blendicon Download Refresh of Expression Blend 2.5 March 2008 Preview

    Once you have the latest version of Blend 2.5 Preview installed, you can verify that you are running the latest version if your build number is 2.1.1113.0 by going to Help | About:

    clip_image002

    If you are running an earlier version of Expression Blend such as V1 or V2, please do not install the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta. Instead, please wait for the final release of .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 that will be compatible with all versions of Expression Blend.

    Sending us Feedback
    If you have any questions or encounter other issues while running Expression Blend 2.5 on .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta, please let us know by posting on our forums.

    Thanks,
    Pete

    Update (13 May 2008)
    There’s been some confusion around the date of this blog post- the date that it’s picking up is when we originally discovered that we’d have to do an update to Blend coinciding with the 3.5 SP1 Beta and prepared the original draft of the blog post that we’d use to communicate the issue.

    The publish date was completely accidental- just a byproduct of trying to coordinate releases. Sorry about the confusion, we really weren’t trying to be sneaky at all!

  • Expression Blend and Design

    Deep Zoom Composer Forum + Filtering Code/Example

    • 7 Comments

    Hi everyone,
    For the past month, all of the feedback and questions about the Deep Zoom Composer (DZC) were posted here on the blog. To make it easier on everyone, we found a better place for you all to post questions, send us feedback, etc. That location is the Deep Zoom Composer forum. If there any questions that you had asked us earlier that we didn’t notice, please re-post that in our forum.

    Filtering
    This is something that many of you have asked us about. We’ve been busy working on the next preview version of Deep Zoom Composer, so we haven’t been able to post an example for you all to use. Thankfully, Wilfred Pinto has done some really nice work with the Deep Zoom technology, and you can see all of his examples (including filtering, clicking on a subimage, etc.) here: http://projectsilverlight.blogspot.com/search/label/Deep%20Zoom

    This blog will probably go a bit quiet on Deep Zoom material until we have our next release (soon!), but expect interesting topics on Expression Blend, Expression Design, and other things you all mentioned in the previous post instead.

    Cheers!
    Kirupa :)

  • Expression Blend and Design

    Living Without App.xaml (…and still being able to use Blend!)

    • 7 Comments

    While default WPF (and Silverlight) projects make it very easy for you to get up and running with your application for a majority of scenarios, often, there are scenarios where you want better control of your application. A good example of this scenario is the Expression Blend source code itself. We perform a number of tasks (for example, displaying a splash screen) before the main application Window is shown to you.  For making this happen, we don’t use the App.xaml concept in WPF projects, but instead go with a code generated Application object which gives us better control over how things work. We then load a number of external resource dictionaries that control the look and feel of our application into the Application’s resources.

    However, the lack of App.xaml causes issues when you design your application inside Blend. Blend provides a lot of design-time experiences around App.xaml – for example, all resources in App.xaml are always available in all the projects that are referenced from the main project. This is essentially a feature that lets you easily centralize your shared resources across control libraries into one location. Another example is that we allow you to link your external resource dictionaries into App.xaml, again, to make sharing of resources easier for you.

    If you ever run into this, you can use another feature in Blend to work around this issue. You can include your App.xaml into the project file on a conditional basis such that when the project is loaded inside Blend, you get the normal experience that you are comfortable with. While building your application, though, App.xaml is not included in the build process, so your code continues to work as before (for example, WPF automatically creates an entry point for your application when you build App.xaml, but you might already have an entry point defined in code).

    The below sample will show how you can leverage this by just making a couple of lines of edit to your project files. Essentially, the changes to the project boil down the following two lines:

    <DesignTime Condition="'$(SolutionPath)'!='' AND Exists('$(SolutionPath)')">true</DesignTime>

    ….
    <ApplicationDefinition Condition="'$(DesignTime)'=='true' AND '$(BuildingInsideVisualStudio)'!='true' AND '$(BuildingInsideExpressionBlend)'!='true'" Include="App.xaml">
          <Generator>MSBuild:Compile</Generator>
          <SubType>Designer</SubType>
    </ApplicationDefinition>

    Download the project files from below:


    slproject Download Sample

    Hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or on our forums.

    Regards,

    Unni

  • Expression Blend and Design

    End to End Hands on Lab – Blend 2.5 and Silverlight 2!

    • 9 Comments

    Our colleagues in Microsoft Switzerland have published a comprehensive hands-on-lab that explains in detail everything you need to get started with creating Silverlight 2 applications using Blend 2.5.

    You can learn more and download the project files from here: Silverlight 2 Beta 1 Hands-on-Lab

    They cover a lot of great topics including templating, isolated storage, and more. Beyond just talking about it, they provide actual projects for you to play with. They even have a Deep Zoom collections demo:

    deepZoomPost

    If you are looking to make the jump into Silverlight 2, then this lab is a good place to start!

    Cheers!
    Kirupa :)

  • Expression Blend and Design

    Styling Silverlight 2 Controls

    • 6 Comments

    One of the nice things about both WPF and Silverlight is their ability to allow a designer to extensively alter the look and feel of a control without having to write code. A great blog to observe is Corrina Barber’s Ux Musings where she explains how to style some of the common controls that ship outside of the box with Silverlight 2 Beta 1.

    For example, you can see a live demo (source) of one such style she created:

    customControls

    Check out her blog here: http://blogs.msdn.com/corrinab/

    Everything she shows, you can accomplish via XAML in Expression Blend 2.5, and our design surface will pick up and display the updates. We don’t support styling and templating via our UI (like we do for WPF)….yet for Silverlight 2! Expect that soon.

    Cheers!
    Kirupa :)

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