So what is Expression then? Well let’s start right off by saying that it isn’t Expressions plural, it’s Expression singular. Having made that clear, let me try to make equally clear what the Microsoft Expression brand is and more importantly how closely it ties in to Microsoft’s other tools.
Put simply, the products that come under the Expression family name are design tools, professional design tools. But does that mean that they’re for designers? Not exclusively no, they’re for anybody who wants to work visually with a wide range of technologies, like Silverlight for instance. And to draw a slight parallel with the phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words”, lots of people like to work visually. Designers, developers, information workers (you know, PowerPoint jockeys etc.) – most of us in fact.
Given that realization, Microsoft set out to create the Expression tools. Each tool is purpose built for the task and built from the ground up to do that task well and efficiently. And because we make arguably the world’s best developer tools in Visual Studio, it made perfect sense to try where possible to allow the Expression design tools to work closely with Visual Studio. Why?
Because the world needs design – no, it really does. It’s the focal point of every single consumer product and it’s now becoming equally important in the world of software design and I mean that in the widest sense. Software for desktop applications, Websites, rich internet applications, in fact to make it simple, everywhere that human beings interact with computing devices.
There is a need for design professionals, the people that “get” form and function, to be first class citizens in the teams that develop these software solutions. Tools need to feel comfortable to them and that’s why we created Microsoft Expression to complement Visual Studio.
The vision for the Expression products is for us to rapidly innovate design function to improve productivity and to enhance the workflow between design and development. We want our design surfaces to “do the right thing” under the hood, so backend functionality can be easily added to form and function, allowing design revisions to be made at the last minute if necessary, and when isn’t it necessary in the real world?!
And other design tools? Certainly you should be using them, that’s why we provide first class importers for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Microsoft Expression products are tools for you to use in conjunction with your existing design tools when you’re working with Microsoft platforms or standards based Web technologies.
At Microsoft, we’re as passionate about design as we are about development – that’s why we’re committed to innovation in tooling whether you code, or whether you design…
To read more about the Expression product family, go to the Expression web site for more information.