SharePoint Designer 2007 and Expression Web

SharePoint Designer 2007 and Expression Web

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Jerome In one of my former postings, I mentioned we had decided to have two offerings, one for information workers (SharePoint Designer) and one for designers (Expression Web).


The two products are partially based on outstanding FrontPage and Visual Studio technologies and constitute two new products. However once you open both products, you cannot help finding similarities in the user interface and commands. It comes from the fact that both products are evoving from the same code base but we introduced differentiation between them to make them uniquely positioned. To keep things simple, both products are outstanding web authoring tools but we provided SharePoint Designer with unique SharePoint features.

In short, SharePoint Designer is a superset of Expression Web really focused on SharePoint. In other words, if you have any plans on investing in SharePoint or have already Windows SharePoint Services or Micrososoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint Designer is your tool. If you don't, or don't know what SharePoint is or have no interest in SharePoint, then Expression Web is your tool. If you try to open a SharePoint site with Expression Web you will get a message redirecting you to the SharePoint Designer web site, where you can download a free evaluation version of SharePoint Designer and continue your work.





Shared Capabilities

  • High-fidelity design surface
    • Accurate, high quality WYSIWYG rendering of CSS, XHTML, ASP.NET
    • Integrated code and split views Standards-based page creation (XHTML, CSS, XSLT)
  • Deep CSS formatting and layout support,
    • Style management and application
    • Property editing
    • IntelliSense
    • Reporting
  • Deep support for working with ASP.NET 2.0
    • WYSIWYG control rendering
    • Control designer hosting
    • Property editing
    • IntelliSense
  • XHTML and CSS schema compatibility reporting
  • WCAG and Section 508 accessibility reporting
  • Pro designer oriented UI and workspace

Unique SharePoint Designer Capabilities

  • Create, open, edit, backup/restore SharePoint sites
  • Create SharePoint master pages and web part pages
  • Building SharePoint no-code applications (without writing or deploying server code)
    • Create lists, views and forms (from SPD as well as Browser)
    • Create and aggregate data views and forms on a variety of data sources (SharePoint lists and document libraries, SQL databases, XML files, Web services)
    • Add business logic with no-code workflows
  • Create, customize CMS template and summary pages
  • 1. Your page is formatted incorrectly. (I'm using IE7 in Windows XP SP2 & all patches.)

    2. What products do I need to use with Sharepoint Designed , i.e. Sharepoint Server, Win 2k3 Standard Server etc?

    3 How does AJAX fit into this equation?

    Expressions is not found on the MSDN subscriber site. At least I can't find it. Would you point me to a Expressions Blog as well, please?

    4. A VERY BIG Thank You for the diagram! I have been a MSDN Universal Subscriber for 7+ years and have never seen a single source document that ties products together and explains the big picture of how they interface. As a result, I probably use my subscription to the level that most use Office 2k3 :)


    Mike Mc

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Finally an explanation!

    I was wondering if I should install expression after I had a lousy time with it during beta because I installed it on the same machine as designer.

    Can you say if in the RTM version you are blocking installing expression when designer is installed, and if expression is installed will designer replace it during installation?

  • Finally! The succinct answer to the SharePoint Designer vs. Expression Web question: "In short, SharePoint Designer is a superset of Expression Web...."

    I've been trying to decide whether to renew our FrontPage Software Assurance with Expression Web or SharePoint Designer. Apparently we are allowed to go either way for the SA renewal.

    I couldn't find any comparison of the two on the Microsoft web site. When I called Sales, they suggested that I download both products and compare them. In other words, they didn't know what the differences are either.

    The flowchart above is misleading, as it implies that someone not (currently) using SharePoint would would get greater benefit from Expression Web. The volume pricing would seem to support this:  Expression Web is more expensive than SharePoint Designer, so it must be worth more, right? (although retail pricing puts them both at $299)

    But if SharePoint Designer gives us everything we would get in Expression Web, _plus_ the ability to do SharePoint sites someday should the need arise, _plus_ SharePoint Designer costs less, the decision becomes a no-brainer:  buy SharePoint designer.


  • Anyone reported a problem installing Sharepoint Designer on a machine that had Office Beta code on it?

    I'm getting the message:

    Setup is unable to proceed due to the following error(s):

    The 2007 Microsoft Office system does not support upgrading from a prerelease version of the 2007 Microsoft Office system...

    I uninstalled all the beta stuff before loading the final Office 2007 and it installed OK.


  • I do agree with Mark's statement Completely. Though volume pricing for SharePoint Designer is less than Expression Web, Designer is a superset of Expression Web. So, I don't find any logic in buying only Expression Web or for that matter Expression Web along with SharePoint Designer.

  • Hi

    Im using Sharepoint Designer to pull the the date using DataView.

    In DataView Im able to update the fields which I enter through the the DataView form. The data which was already there in the database Im not able to edit.

    I want to edit the code in the Sharepoint but after editing the and saving the old code is back.

    Is there any way where i can enable the sharepoint designer to edit the code.

    Please help


  • Using sharepoint designer i put working copies of all my sites under one domain on the server. On many when i try and open them i get "The folder name is not valid" trying to figure out what this error means is truly painful.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • Just to be 100% clear, we know that SharePoint Designer does something that Expression Web doesn't allow you to do (work with SharePoint etc.). Is there anything you can do with Expression Web does you can't do with SharePoint Designer?

  • For the record: Microsoft Expression Web is a couple of megabytes BIGGER than Microsoft SharePoint Designer. That's right, "Microsoft Expression Web" is bigger in size, not Microsoft SharePoint Designer

  • I am currently using SharePoint Designer 2007 in an attempt to rebuild my department's websites (moving from MCMS 2002).

    This document clearly states:

    "Accurate, high quality WYSIWYG rendering of CSS, XHTML, ASP.NET

    Integrated code and split views Standards-based page creation (XHTML, CSS, XSLT)"

    I don't think the author has tried creating an XHTML compliant page with SharePoint Designer 2007!?!? It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!! Far from "Integrated"!! Sure, SharePoint Designer can recognise non-compliant code. But the problem is that SharePoint can't render compliant code!!

    I'll breathe the biggest sigh of relief when someone tells me "Yes, the next version of SharePoint has been built with Web Standards as priority"...

    I have really loved all Microsoft development tools in the past and I'm sorry to say that this one has made me start to lose much faith in Microsoft's "quality control" department.

    Happy coding,


  • I too have been confused by the difference, but I think I have discovered the essential distinctions.

    SharePoint Designer follows the FrontPage app path, it continues to use FrontPage Server Extensions, and one would use it for SharePoint development.

    Expression has been a rewrite of FrontPage towards industry standards, scrapping the proprietary FrontPage Server Extensions:

    - XHTML 1.0/1.1 complilant code

    - HTML 4.01 compliant code

    - full ASP.NET 2.0 support

    - full CSS 1.0/2.0/2.1 support

    - standards based designer (not IE-based)

    - does not rely on FPSEs

    - powerful XML/XSL support

    - built-in Web server

    - generates Section 508 compliant code

    (list from p.xxxi, "Special Edition Using Microsoft Expression Web" by Jim Cheshire.  To be fair, this list contrasted FP2003, but from what I can tell the EW distinction is here defined)

    Thus I think there is a place for both in a Microsoft Shop:  I'm planning on using EW for external web sites and SPD exclusively for SP intranets.


    Robert New

    Vancouver, Canada

  • Does Expression create clean code like Dreamweaver where you can edit the code later using a simple editor like notepad and not have Expression later on mess the changes up?

    Also can something like Dreamweaver be used to manage and edit Sharepoint?


  • I would just like to echo William's question.  If I have Dreamweaver, can it be used to edit Sharepoint instead of the Sharepoint designer?

  • These are two very different questions, but I'll give it a shot.

    William: Yes, Expression (and SharePoint Designer) creates 'clean' code and can be used alongside Dreamweaver, notepad, Visual Studio, or whatever. Neither program should ever modify your HTML after you write it.

    William and Tandy:

    As far as I know, Dreamweaver can be used to modify the code in SharePoint pages, but I don't believe Dreamweaver knows about web parts and other components specific to the SharePoint platform. SharePoint Designer is the current tool of choice if you are going to be customizing SharePoint applications. However, if you are going to be modifying the application pages on the server itself (like the template pages, error pages, etc), then you can use Visual Studio, Dreamweaver, Notepad, SharePoint Designer or anything else. You don't get a WYSIWYG environment in these cases, though.


  • "Neither program should ever modify your HTML after you write it."


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