Expression Blend and Design

The team blog of the Expression Blend and Design products.

What Would You Like to See in the Next Versions of Blend and Design?

What Would You Like to See in the Next Versions of Blend and Design?

Even though we just shipped Expression Blend and Design 2, we are already busy planning what to do for future releases. To better help us with our planning, we'd like to hear from you.

What are some things that you would like to see in Blend and Design? What are some of the things that you wish were done differently? Also, what are some of the things in our products that you like?

Let us know by posting in the comments below! We take your feedback very seriously, and your input goes a long way in helping us improve our products.

Cheers!
Kirupa

(On a related note, based on feedback from many of you, this blog has been restyled. A big thanks to Tim Sneath for the help.)

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  • 1. The ability to tag various XAML elements as "designer only" or "code only" to allow design time only data, and prevent the designer from trying to load certain tags which only work in actual code.

    2. The ability to specify a theme for a user control in a dll at design time without having to also include the theme at runtime in the controls resources.  Right now you can only see themed controls/windows in .EXE projects with an Application xaml file.

    3. The ability for the "Data" panel to display properties from CustomPropertyDescriptors.

    4.  Expand the "Data" panel to be a more general Data Binding panel and support drag and drop of any bindable property of a control or resource in the current panel.  Any item's properties in the resources for the current window/usercontrol should be able to be viewed/dragged/dropped directly from the "Data" panel onto the designer panel as a control.    Any property in the  "Data" panel dropped onto a property panel property should automatically create a a data binding.  

    5. More robust xaml parser that never fails to parse XAML files unless they are almost completely invalid.  It shows whatever controls, elements that can be parsed (even with errors) and displays [X] for whatever does not parse.  It also shows controls that generate exceptions, and tries to use alternate controls when possible for panels/containers.  It displays warnings for controls which generate internal exceptions, and lists syntax errors for invalid XML.

    6. Display embedded resources in a window/control in in the standard element tree as children of their parent elements, not in the seperate 'resources' panel.  Allow them to be added, removed, cut/copy/pasted.

    7. Allow blend and some of its basic panels to integrate directly into visual studio and optionally replace the "Cider" editor if it is installed.  Why support two XAML editors?

    8. Always allow design time size properties for all templates, windows, controls.

    9. Provide easy interface for populating "designer data" for design time WYSIWYG viewing of data templates, items controls, etc.

    10. Always show "something" when any XAML file is clicked.  The first data template or style in a dictionary, whatever can be parsed of a window or control, etc.  Never show a "can not display" window.  This causes untold trips to a designers computer just to say "it's not supposted to show anything when you click that".

  • Expression design:

    1. Support the gradient capabilities of XAML gradients.  It's useless as a tool to export XAML without the full gradient transform parameters available in XAML.

  • I would very much like to see XAML import incorporated into Expression Design. Sometimes things are made entirely in Blend or made in Design and then further manipulated in Blend. It would be nice if it could be loaded back into Expression Design.

  • Intellisense in the XAML editor is one of the features I miss most!

  • I think the working environment would be nice if we could switch back and forth to the old black on white interface... sometimes easier to read. Even though the dark gray scene fits for nightsters...

  • First of all I have to say that I like Design a lot. Like most graphic designers my work is also being used in different media, both digital and print. In order to be the primary design tool, and not just a middle man, a lot of features are missing. And remember, to a graphic designer code is pretty scary! In Design I would like to:

    - have full support for import and export of eps, wmf, emf, xaml, ai.

    - se thumbnails of ai, psd and a lot of other formats when importing.

    - be able to Copy/Paste in between Illustrator and Design without i.e. gradients being converted to pixel based graphics.

    - have support for color management and ICC profiles.

    - be able to change color system of all objects in a document to rgb or cmyk.

    - to have access to PMS color libraries.

    - to have warnings when saving/exporting files with mixed color mode.

    - be able to limit the number of decimals when exporting to xaml.

    - be able to choose registration point of objects permanently, i.e. top left corner.

    - be able to edit resource dictionaries from VS projects without access to code.

    - to have interoperability with TFS.

    - have a graphic representation of a resource dictionary in Blend, like the cast view in Adobe Director. And be able to use Design as an external editor for individual resources in that dictionary from both Blend and VS.

    - be able to make text follow a line or other object.

    - have better support for creating icon-files. Make changes for different sizes and see a complete preview of them.

    - be able to create symbol libraries used within the document, as a resource to the installation or as a resource within a group of graphic designers.

    - be able to create a star formed shape with inner and outer radius measure.

    - be able to choose a graphic form and by putting the cursor to one point get a dialogue to enter exact values for the object.

    - be able to create different kind of graphs with the support of input tables.

    - be able to set more than one set of crop marks.

    - be able to adjust printing, i.e. icc-profile used, color separations, resolution, how pixel based pictures are treated etc.

    I really look forward to the next release!

  • - Add Design Time visible property

    - Better integration of "custom" data source provider that can produce sample data at design time without having to specify a datasource type.

    - Better integration of databinding based on sample data produced at design time.

    - Show missing properties of the storyboard

    - Allow better edition of resource dictionary, create, clone, rename (with refactoring)

    - Allow binding statically to resources

    - Add localization / internationalization

    - Allow to consume wcf web services

    - Allow to bind commands, keygesture, inputgesture, etc

    - Provide a way to see and remove identical property value from the xaml

  • Another one for intellisense for XAML.  Still shocked it hasn't got it.

    Also:

    Better databinding support.  There really needs to be a better end-to-end solution for databinding 'mocking' so that you can simulate a data feed into an adhoc databound control.  Basically, take a control and scan it for binding and then provide an input dialog that creates a mock object to simulate the data.

    Resource editing.  Unless I'm missing something I can't edit a DrawingBrush resource.  

    Better logical/visual tree browsing.  I can't expand the tree if there are visual elements on the background property.  In fact, the storyboard editor seems the wrong place for navigating the tree - why not just have a generic visual/logical tree browser?  The 'New' buton on the tree should allow you to add any valid element based on references etc (like the intellisense editor in VS2008).

  • TFS/SCC integration. This should have been there since day one.

  • I would like it to be easier to edit brushes and resources even if they are not currently being used by an object. What would REALLY be great is if I could be looking at the XAML view and right click on a brush and edit it visually.

    I would also like intellisense in the XAML view.

    Thanks for the GREAT work!

  • As a designer I wish that Expression Design could get the alpha mask feature from Blend. And the ability to let strokes be inside or outside of a path (like in Illustrator CS3) would be really great especially when it comes to create pixel perfect designs.

    Just some small suggestion for the ui in Design/Blend: the toolbar buttons should be at the left border of the screen to improve usability (Fitt's law) and it would be handy to move the document by pressing the mouse wheel.

  • TFS integration... would be very beneficial to our project.

  • Adding a new user control to a folder in a project does not append the folder name to the namespace like in VS.  I don't know if this was fixed in 2, but I know it is a problem with Silverlight in 2.5.  Blend also has issues finding controls that are in folders or sub-namespaces.

    Intellisense.

    I don't know if this is available now, but a way to move a control up or down the visual tree, not just up or down siblings.  Say I inserted a Grid as a child, and now I realized I want to add a border to that grid.  If I add a new border as a child to the parent, it deletes the grid; the only option is to add the border in xaml view  and then switch back to design view.   Not a big hurdle, but it would be nice to be able to right-click and say "Move up" and "Move down" along with Send Backward/Forward.  Or maybe just a way to easily insert a border between a parent and child.

  • I would like to see Design moving forward as a serious vector art tool. Some  features I think it needs are:

    1. "Gradient Mesh" tool like Illustrator has. This is a hugely useful tool.

    2. "Live Color" tool ala illustrator. HUGELY, HUGELY useful tool. You must at least make a tool that allows you to group the colors used in an object as a swatch and drag and drop swatches onto objects to change the colors.  It's a pain to experiment with different color groups when you have lots of different gradients in an object. Global colors(Illustrator): if you have used a color from a Global Color swatch if you update the color in the swatch every instance of it in your document is changed.

    3. A "Path Offset" tool. Say you have rectangular path or freeform path. It would be very useful to select the path and click "Offset" and select how many pixels or percent  to make a new path that is perfectly offset from the original path. I use Rhino3D alot and you can offset a b-spline curve and it is an invaluable drawing tool. Download Rhino3D and try a curve>offset. It is a brilliant drawing tool and should just need an algorithm to get it to work ala: http://www.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/PathEstimation

    Inkscape has it I think. Also have dynamic updating of a change to the original path if the offset path if it is linked to the original.

    4. Array Tools. Being able to make an array of objects or paths from an original object or path. Array objects/paths along a path, or in a rectangular array, or in a polar array.

    5. Start drawing an elipse from the center of the elipse instead of the upper left corner.

    4. Some 3d tools would be nice for charts, text, etc.

    5.Direct SVG import

    6. Isolation blending : only use an objects blend mode with other objects it is grouped with.

    7. Have strokes be set to inside or outside of a path. Awesome Illustrator advantage, would be great in Expression Design.

    8. Incremental rotation of document canvas. 21%, 22%, 24%...etc.

    Here are the point others have made that I too want to see happen:

    1.be able to create symbol libraries used within the document, as a resource to the installation or as a resource within a group of graphic designers. (this would be really great)

    2. have full support for import and export of eps, wmf, emf, xaml, ai.

    3.be able to create different kind of graphs with the support of input tables.

    4.Support the gradient capabilities of XAML gradients.  It's useless as a tool to export XAML without the full gradient transform parameters available in XAML.

  • Source Control integration!  I can't believe we don't have this yet.  Thanks.

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