Yesterday we announced the Silverlight 2 release.  I’m excited to also announce the release of the Silverlight 2 platform support that was previously enabled via Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview.  It is now available to all Expression Blend 2 users via a free update, Expression Blend 2 Service Pack 1.


If you’ve been using a trial of Expression Blend 2 you can use Expression Blend 2 SP1 to update your trial. The update will not only allow you to build content that targets Silverlight 2 but will also extend your trial period by an additional 60 days.


Expression Blend 2 SP1 exposes two key new features of the Silverlight 2 platform - control skinning and the Visual State Manager, which give designers the visual freedom and power they need to build even more compelling Silverlight 2 applications.  Control skinning gives designers the ability to visually customize controls to enable them to exactly fit the function they play within an application.  The Visual State Manager gives a flexible and visual way to control precisely how each element of a control will behave and look in a given state. Whether an element in a control snaps into position or glides, moves in a linear fashion or with inertia, the designer has the freedom to quickly and accurately experiment with different interactions before finely tuning and finalizing the user experience of the application.


The image below shows the Visual State Manager in action through a custom control a designer has built from scratch. This example shows a game character that has been created in Blend and now within that control the designer is using custom states to control how the character transitions from one facial expression to another.




This enhancement to the Silverlight workflow allows designers and developers to work to each other’s strengths when building Silverlight 2 applications.


Expression Blend 2 Service Pack 1 is available today here.