The team blog of the Expression Blend and Design
Today we are delighted to announce the availability of a preview version of Expression Interactive Designer. This preview version is the January 2006 Community Technology Preview and you can download it at the following URL:
Please note that you must complete a product registration to receive this download.
We have compiled a set of sample applications and tutorials specifically for this CTP and you can see the gallery of these samples over on the right of the blog. Look for the box titled 'Article Categories' and then click Samples and Tutorials Gallery - EID Jan 06 CTP to take you to the gallery (or just click the link given above).
In the same 'Article Categories' box is a link to the Readme file for the Jan 06 CTP which contains important late-breaking news and known issues - Readme File - EID Jan 06 CTP.
There are lots more resources about Expression on the Microsoft Expression web site.
If you enjoyed the previous Channel 9 video featuring the Expression Interactive Designer team then you'll want to check out the new video Robert Scoble hosted and posted today at the link below:
You'll be interested in this if you (or someone you know) currently attend school/college/university, are 16 years or over, like to imagine, would be keen to earn a few thousand dollars in prize money and a free trip across the world to see the Taj Mahal, want to make friends and contacts in different academic communities globally, and wouldn't mind learning a lot about technology in the process.
Imagine Cup  is an annual Microsoft-sponsored competition that offers contestants the chance to give their ideas exposure, make critical contacts, and experience a true sense of friendship with peers worldwide. The theme of this year’s Imagine Cup is "Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives".
Also, this year’s competition will have a new track - "Interface Designer". With so many tools and platforms available and emerging that aim to improve users' experiences with hardware and software, the timing couldn't be better!
In my previous post, I introduced myself as a Release PM for the Expression Studio suite of products. Some of you may be wondering what a Release PM does. Before I get into that, to give you some background about me, I’ve been at Microsoft for over 13 years. I first started as a tester, then spent 8 years as a developer on Publisher and Movie Maker, and then spent 5 years as a Program Manager (PM). As a PM, I had the responsibility for designing the features that developers would then code. A large part of that involved managing the schedule and progress towards releasing the finished product. Towards the end of that role, I started doing release management, which is focused on integrating the various parts of products together (Windows Vista, in my case) and driving the team towards completion. This also involves completing all of the legal and corporate-mandated requirements necessary to ship a product to you!
That is my job here in Expression land – working with the various teams to get all of our software releases out the door in a timely manner and communicating with the various teams: product development, test, program management, marketing, operations, website management, localization, international subsidiaries, etc. It’s a great job that permits me to work with lots of different people while drawing on my experience with actually shipping products for many years. More importantly, I also get to to learn new aspects of the business that I haven’t been exposed to before.
Blend 2 December Preview So our most recent release was the Blend 2 December Preview. After the product team completed their work on the setup package (known as an MSI), they hand it off to me to get it released. That means coordinating with the editors to get the Microsoft Download Center website text written, getting the package through a gauntlet of automated tools for verifying the package is safe to release (virus checkers, etc.) and getting the Expression website content up to date.
To give a more specific example in the context of the newly released Blend 2 December Preview, part of release management involves coordinating the web site content so that you all can actually download our latest preview. The coordination matters because the download center uses different servers than the Expression website. If we want them to go live at the same time we have to pull all of the levers together. Even then, propagation across the servers around the world takes time, and sometimes things can get a little out of sync. Knowing how to deal with some of these delays helps ensure everything related to the release goes smoothly.
If you like doing different things every day, fighting fires, working with people, helping to shape processes and policy, Release Program Management may be the job for you! Hopefully this post gives you a brief idea of what a Release PM does, and feel free to comment below if you have any further questions.
Hi everyone, Some of you have let us know that the version of Deep Zoom Composer you downloaded yesterday is actually the version from a few weeks ago. The reason for this has to do with the delays in propagating the downloads across the various servers, and sometimes it does take a bit longer than expected to keep everything in sync. Complicating this problem is our decision to not create a new page for our Deep Zoom Composer download pages. This means that some of you may see a cached version of the page as well.
Please make sure that your download page mentions the version as 1.0.000.0 with a publish date of 7/22/2009:
Your about dialog inside Deep Zoom Composer should look as follows as well:
Sorry for the confusion, and hopefully by now, all of the download servers are serving the most recent, up-to-date version of Deep Zoom Composer.
The other way to create a new element is to select the element type in the Library palette and then draw it onto the artboard. When drawing, the parenting rules are different. If a container element is selected and the mouse down gesture of the draw happens inside its bounds, then the selected container becomes the parent. Otherwise the activated element becomes the parent.
That covers how new elements are parented. But what about dragging an existing element to another parent? In Windows Forms, when you drag an element to a new location the design surface re-parents the element inside the front-most container at the mouse pointer. Expression Interactive Designer doesn't assume that you wish to re-parent an element when you drag it to a new position. This is mainly due to (partially) transparent elements. I may want to drag an element from one cell of a Grid to another cell which happens to be behind part of a Canvas with an opacity mask. In this case I don't want to have my element re-parented just because the Canvas is in front of the Grid, and EID leaves the element under its current parent (at the new position) unless I indicate otherwise. Whenever I drag an element into the boundary of a candidate parent container, EID offers the tip: Alt-drag to place into [container_type]. Only if I hold down ALT while completing the drag is the element re-parented.
Unni Ravindranathan , Program Manager on Expression Interactive Designer, has an article published on Coding4Fun  called Designing FreeCell using Expression and Visual Studio Toolsets . In the article Unni tells how he re-created the game FreeCell using the January CTP of Expression Interactive Designer and Visual Studio 2005 Express and he describes his experiences on the brief one-day journey and how much fun it turned out to be.
If you're a parent or an educator (or even a kid!) then, while you're looking at the Coding4Fun website, you might be interested in the Kids' Programming Language 
Missed the action at MIX06? Check out Virtual MIX to catch up on the keynote speeches, video recaps, streamed sessions (forthcoming), and more from this year's conference.
Hi everyone, There are three really good posts on Janete Perez’s blog that covers the PhotoShop Import functionality found in the Blend 3 preview. Go check them out: Introduction to Importing Photoshop Files, Photoshop Import- Supported Features, and Photoshop Import - Merging Layers.
Cheers! Kirupa =)
It’s been a week since MIX09 started, and since then, many of us Blenders have been busy writing blog posts describing the various new features from Expression Blend 3 in greater detail. This post will point you to those posts:
Blend 3 Overview:
Blend 3 Features:
If you have written any cool blog posts relating to Blend 3, please comment below and I will have another round-up in the near future…hopefully including a link to your post as well.
Cheers! Kirupa :)