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.


(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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  • I noticed the Completed Event is missing from the Properties panel in Blend. When I click an Animation in the Objects and Timeline panel, you do show the AutoReverse and Repeatbehavior properties. I see no reason why the Events panel in this situation is empty. The Complete Event should be showing there too..

    Now we are on the topic of Animation. I found the Tweener Transition cheat sheet and noticed that two issues keep me from using the Penner transistions in Blend:

    1. The Spline editor doesn't allow the ControlPoints to move beyond the frame. This keeps me from setting an interpolation that is necessary for the Back and Elastic splines.

    2. The Spline editor doesn't allow for more than two ControlPoints. This makes the creating of the Bounce and Elastic KeySplines impossible.

    I realise that with extra KeyFrames or using code it is possible to reach these result, but am wondering if these constraints could be removed to make more interesting animations easier available. They might even be coded as base interpolations in the interface...


  • A few months ago, we asked you for feedback on what are some of the things you would like to see improved

  • I would love making it much easier to create and edit styles.

    That is, why do you have to go into the Object menu to create an empty (or edit a copy) style?

    It would be so nice if you could also place the Edit Style and Edit Other Styles menu items ... alongside the menu items for 'Edit Control Parts (Template)' and 'Edit Other Templates' ... that is, in the right-click popup menus on the objects in the Objects and Timeline panel.

    Just a small and useful suggestion ... as I hate going to the Object menu whenever I have to create a Style.

  • Please include Design with all MSDN subscriptions.  Or at lease allow it to be purchased by itself.

    I can download Blend and Web as part of MSDN subscription, but now need to purchase Studio just to get Design.  It would be nice if Design was also included for all MSDN subscribers.  It would help adoption.

    If we are going to end up spending the $700 we will probably end up going with Adobe because of the influence of our graphics team.

  • 1. 3D needs help

    - it should have a node-based schematic interface to create and assign materials like this

    - with the ability to assign a map/node for the following channels - diffuse(color), normal, specular level, specular color, glossiness, emissive & opacity.

    - and nodes like multiply, add, UV scaling and rotation for texture animation, etc.

    - add ability to import an HLSL fx shader for assignment to a 3D object.

    2. add a sprite-based Effects editor that designers can use to define UI states or just make really cool moving background with it.

    3. Designers can do actionscripts in Flash but asking them to write C# code for interactivity is too much. C'mon Microsoft, you're coming at it from a developer's perspective. put your shoes into the user who does not have a dev support.

    one design option - visual programming with nodes. Design/creative types can build the prototype by connecting various nodes & adjusting parameters. this builds a C# code in the background that a Dev person can edit later on.

    4. support for gesture-based inputs.

  • I would like to see, in order of priority (for Blend)*.

    1. The ability to bind to some sample data at design time. Designing templates without this is a real pain.  This is by far my most desired feature.

    2. The ability to edit resource dictionaries and themes at the same time as viewing a control's appearance, rather than having to switch all the time.

    3. Ability to load/switch/apply resource dictionaries from one project to other, non .exe based projects. Haven't found an easy way to do this yet.

    4. Greater consistency between design and blend in the way they work. Sometimes it feels like they aren't following the same script.

    5. Better file format import / export. For example XAML into design, SVG, etc.

    6. When drawing using the pen in blend, make the mouse down action place the point and while the button is held adjust the position of the control point. Also make it easy to lock the relative position of points to fixed angle increments by holding a modifier key (like holding shift does in design?).

    7. Better intellisense for xaml.

    8. Path offsetting. However, having just spent the past few weeks working on this in my spare time, I can say it's not easy!

    9. Make drawing curves work like Xara X.  IMHO it's so natural and other packages just seem to miss the point completely.

    Other wishes.

    9. Make it possible to buy the products separately - e.g. blend on it's own. I feel like I'm being fleeced.

    10. Express versions?

    Any plans for Office 14 to support the import of vector formats other than the evil WMF/EMF? Please. This is a coding nightmare for us. Anyone down the corridor you can pass this hint onto?

    * Of course, there is always the possibility I may have missed something since I am relatively new to blend.

  • Oh, while I'm thinking about grips, there is one other thing I would really like to see changed in XAML / WPF.

    1. Make it possible to override the default style of common controls, but *scope* where/when the new default style should be used. Restyling things like the default border causes so much havok in other controls like the groupbox that we've backed off and forced our users to have to apply a chosen default style manually each time.

    This is generally a pain if your new default style is slightly more radical than the standard Windows style. For example, switching to white on black from the default black on white for text.

  • I just discovered that while drawing Path Shapes in Blend the Contol key does not switch to the Direct Tool while pressed. This is standard behavior that even Expression Design exhibits (along with other industry standard tools :). Please add this feature in Blend to make drawing Vector shapes more intuitive and give us more control over the Path that is being created.

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  • Ability to create an inner bevel in Blend, possibly after clipping...

  • I realized that ther's a red line around the artboard for Timeline recording and with the State manager now also for State Recording. What about a green line around the artboard when you are "recording" a Style. When you click the Color Palette Icon in the breadcrumb bar, you are in a Style Recording mode, aren't you? A visual indication of this using the green that is used for styles and resources, would be a great!

  • I would very much like to see XAML import incorporated into Expression Design.  To import objects and brush resources in Design.

  • Better support for the Adobe Suite

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