Expression Blend and Design

The team blog of the Expression Blend and Design products.

December, 2008

  • Expression Blend and Design

    Creating Falling Snow in Silverlight!


    Exactly a year ago (plus one day…but who’s counting?!), I posted a sample WPF application that simulates falling snow. Since Silverlight 2 was released since then, below you will find a Silverlight version of a similar falling snow effect:

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Just click on the Let It Snow banner to cause 200 snowflakes to start falling. Feel free to use this for your own projects, and the source files have been provided below:

    folderfiles Download Falling Snow Source

    For your own projects, the only thing you may want to tweak is the width and height of your application. Currently, everything is hard coded to a width and height of 500px by 300px respectively, but if you decide to change the size, be sure to open Page.xaml.cs and change the dimensions provided:

    private void PopulateSnowFlakes()
       for (int i = 0; i < 200; i++)
          SnowFlake snowFlake = new SnowFlake();

          // 500 and 300 is the width/height of the application
          snowFlake.SetInitialProperties(500, 300);

    Besides that, everything else should be pretty straightforward. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below.


  • Expression Blend and Design

    Holiday Savings – Add Expression Blend 2 to Your Design Tool Set


    Hi everyone. The following post is written by Renee Yong, Marketing Manager for Expression. I hope you find the content interesting!
    -- Kirupa


    For a limited time, customers in the United States can shop the Microsoft Online Store for Microsoft Expression Blend,  Expression Studio and Expression Web and get 50% off.

    Chances are good that you qualify for the Upgrade pricing if you have any existing web design or creative software, or Microsoft Office software, including any ONE of the following:

    • A licensed copy of an earlier version of Expression Web
    • Adobe Creative Suite (any version)
    • Adobe/Macromedia Flash or Director (any version)
    • Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver (any version)
    • Adobe GoLive (any version)
    • Microsoft Office (any version)
    • Microsoft FrontPage (any version)
    • Quark QuarkXPress (any version)

    [Note: Pricing and specials are set on a locale-by-locale basis.  This deal applies only to US customers of the Microsoft Online Store and is valid only for a limited time.]

  • Expression Blend and Design

    Deep Zoom Composer has been Updated: Documentation and Bug Fixes!


    Yesterday, we released another update to Deep Zoom Composer, and you can download it from the following location:

    dzcicon Download Deep Zoom Composer

    NOTE: Please uninstall any older versions of Deep Zoom Composer prior to installing this new version.

    This release was really about fixing the bugs that many of you have found as well as addressing some major shortcomings in the app. One of the biggest shortcomings was the lack of comprehensive and updated documentation….until now!

    Updated Documentation
    Thanks to some great work by Chris Lohr and his team, Deep Zoom Composer has some really informative (and nifty-looking) documentation in the form of a User Guide:


    The User Guide covers topics ranging from what Deep Zoom is to how to actually use Deep Zoom Composer to create your own content.

    You can access the User Guide inside Deep Zoom Composer by going to Help | User Guide or by pressing F1.

    Random Trivia
    The photographs used as examples inside the user guide were taken by Chris himself.

    Improved Memory Handling
    One of the areas we have made and continue to make investments in is memory usage. Dealing with many high-resolution images on an interactive design surface is a challenge, but Deep Zoom Composer should now allow you to compose more images than you could in the past. We aren’t quite there yet, so expect future releases to address them in greater detail.

    Improved Project Support
    For the past few releases, we made some major changes to our project structure and how the DZPRJ files are written and opened. Unfortunately, for some of you, those changes meant your older projects were no longer opening. We have tried to fix as many of those incompatibilities in this release, and a big thanks to all of you who have have e-mailed us your projects for testing.

    If you find that your projects are still not opening, we apologize. To help us out, do e-mail your .dzprj files to kirupac[at] to aid in troubleshooting.

    Updated Seadragon Ajax Templates
    In our previous release, you got to use Deep Zoom Composer to export your content to Seadragon Ajax. The approach that was used then was to have you upload the JS libraries along with your images to the server. That was a bit messy. In this release, we are deferring all JS downloading to the Live Labs team’s server itself, so you will no longer have to upload a large quantity of JS files.

    Numerous Little Fixes
    Besides the major changes listed above, we made many little tweaks that are too many to publish and list here. Some of them are bigger such as using an updated version of DeepZoomTools.dll, and some of them are less big like the numerous wording and string changes made.

    If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or post on our forums :)

    Janete, Kirupa

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