January, 2009

  • Expression Web team blog

    SEO toolbar for Firefox


    Free search engine optimization toolbar for your Firefox web browser.

    “What would happen if you smooshed together many of the best parts of Rank Checker, SEO for Firefox, the best keyword research tools across the web, a feed reader (pre-populated with many SEO feeds), a ton of competitive research tools, the ability to compare up to 5 competing sites against each other, easy data export, and boatloads of other features into 1 handy Firefox extension? Well, you would have the SEO Toolbar.”

    Download here:



  • Expression Web team blog

    Twitter on PHP VERSUS ASP.NET


    NETTUTS is a good website for web development and design tutorials: http://nettuts.com/.

    Jeffrey Way, the person behind the NETTUTS website also maintains a NETTUTS profile on both Facebook and Twitter. Turns out he innocently posted an update to TWITTER in support of ASP.NET with a slight knock against PHP, and apparently that brought a lot of responses from other Twitterers, both ASP.NET and PHP developers.

    For all the dirty details, see my complete blog post here http://blogs.msdn.com/anna/archive/2009/01/23/twitter-on-php-versus-asp-net.aspx

  • Expression Web team blog

    Newer constructs are recommended


    Have you ever been puzzled by the tip “Newer constructs are recommended” while working in the Code view of your page in Expression Web? If so, check out my blog post Better error messages “are recommended”, which is devoted to helping users decipher that tip!



  • Expression Web team blog

    Understanding and Unleashing the Power of CSS Layouts


    The latest version of the Expression newsletter was emailed to subscribers today and includes the following two articles:

  • Expression Web team blog

    Last day to get Expression programs for half their original sales price is January 31, 2009


    Renee Yong just emailed me to let me know the last day for 50% off of the price for Expression Web 2, Expression Blend 2, or Expression Studio 2 is:

    Saturday, January 31, 2009.

    This offer is only available in the United States and through the Microsoft online store which I link to below. If you’ve been on the fence about this offer, now’s the time to jump off the fence one way or the other!

    Shop here:


    Expression products for 50% off the original sales price

  • Expression Web team blog

    CSS Layouts without the headache


    Beck WeinholdHi, I’m Beck Weinhold, one of the newest testers on the Expression Web team and also a newcomer to the world of CSS layouts. While there have been a couple of excellent posts here recently about writing your own CSS layout from scratch, at my skill level I’m really only ready to get started with the predefined CSS layouts that Expression Web provides. If you're also new to CSS layouts, this post is for you.

    First, I should note that in version 2, there have been a few changes to the CSS generated by Expression Web for the predefined CSS layouts. One annoying problem that’s been fixed: with a version 1 layout that includes a footer and more than one column, you could easily find your footer overlapping the side column(s) if the main column content is shorter than the side column content.

    To take a look at the possibilities, launch Expression Web and choose File > New > Page. Select the CSS Layouts option in the left column.


    As you scroll through the list of layouts in the middle column, the preview on the right changes to show how content will be laid out on the page. Dark grey shading and a solid line across the middle of a region indicates that the region has a fixed width in the page layout, while light grey shading with a dotted, arrow-headed line stretching across it indicates that the region expands to fill the remainder of the browser window.

    Choosing the “Header, nav, 2 columns, footer” layout, my Design view looks like this:


    If you're working with the Design view of your page, make sure that your Visual Aids (on the View menu) are On as well – in particular, the Empty Containers and Visible Borders options – otherwise you’ll just see a blank page with no hints as to how the page is divided.

    The HTML for this looks like:


    This layout doesn’t look a whole lot like the preview right now. In fact, I’m tempted to stretch the page_content div, the one that will contain most of the text, just to see how it would look. But if I do that by re-sizing the div in the Design view, I’m effectively telling Expression Web that I’d like the page_content div to fix the layout at that height – even if the content requires a larger container. You can see the result in the HTML below.


    Leaving the fixed height on the page_content div for now, I’ve added content to my page to see how the layout looks. I’ve also given background colors to the footer div and the page_content div to highlight the div placement. You can see by the background coloring that the right column content has overflowed the page_content div, which means that although the footer doesn’t overlap with the page_content div, it does overlap with the overflowing text. Not so good.


    Next time, instead of stretching the page_content div, I can just put some content into my page first to get a feel for how the layout works. Or I can just remove the height property from the page_content div, as I’ve done in the image below. As you can see, the page_layout div expands to fit the text and there’s no overflowing text to overlap with the footer.


    I’m pretty happy with the layout I’ve chosen, but I’ve decided that I don’t need the navigation container.

    To do this easily, I’ll start by clicking on one of the navigation links. In order to make sure the entire top_nav div is deleted, I’ll click on the <div#top_nav> breadcrumb at the top of the view (just below the title bar) to select the whole div, then hit the Delete or Backspace key.


    In the Code half of the view, I can see that the <div id=”top_nav”> tag and its contents are gone; in the Design view, I can see that it didn’t affect the rest of the layout of the page. And if I add more pages later and need to provide navigation, I can just insert a new top_nav div tag below the masthead div, put my links there, and I’ll be in business.


    If you’re feeling bold after this introduction to Expression Web’s predefined CSS layouts, take a look at the recent posts that I mentioned earlier from Steve and Morten. Keep an eye out for my next post, where I’ll make my page prettier by customizing Expression Web’s predefined style sheets!

  • Expression Web team blog

    Sessions, Workshops, and Unsessions announced for Microsoft MIX 2009


    Register now for MIX 09 which presents a slew of sessions on working with Expression programs, including:

    Microsoft Expression Web: No Platform Left Behind

    Steve Guttman, Expression Web PRINCIPAL PRODUCT UNIT MANAGER

    Come learn how to use Expression Web to build resilient standards-based sites for use across a wide range of browsers and platforms. Hear about the current version of Expression Web and also some sneak peeks at future work that will make creating great sites even easier for designers. With a focus on workflow, you will also see how well Expression Web integrates with ASP.NET and PHP.

    Web Form Design

    Come hear key considerations and best practices for Web form design based on international usability testing, eye-tracking studies, and over ten years of designing Web applications. Learn how the interaction and visual design of Web forms can make the difference between acquiring a customer and completing a transaction or not.

    From Concept to Production: Design Workflow with Microsoft Expression Studio - Christian Schormann

    Learn successful workflow models between designers and developers using Microsoft Expression Web, Blend, Design and Encoder. This session specifically focuses on creating rich Internet applications with Silverlight, and shows how the next generation of the Expression suite will make the design workflow faster, easier and richer. Explore how developers and designers can integrate and divide production tasks in a meaningful and harmonious way.

    Go Deep with Microsoft Silverlight Controls

    Learn how to encapsulate structure, animation, and logic inside custom controls that handle theming, layout, validation, and data binding. Using Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Blend, explore advanced design, coding, debugging, and testing techniques for building components that work interchangeably in Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

    Improving UX through Application Lifecycle Management - Chris Bernard

    Learn how you can leverage Microsoft Expression and Microsoft Visual Studio Team System to improve your overall application lifecycle, decrease your time to market, and ultimately raise the quality of your applications.

    Integrating Microsoft Expression Blend with Adobe Creative Suite -Joanna Mason

    Explore how Expression Blend integrates with the design tools from Adobe's Creative Suite. Learn how to use content from Photoshop and Illustrator to efficiently create Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Microsoft Silverlight-based applications, and see a range of useful tips and tricks from one of the core Expression Blend team members.

    Optimizing Performance for Microsoft Expression Encoder  - James Clarke

    See demonstrations of how to fine tune your media for best encoding and Microsoft Silverlight playback performance. Learn encoding best practices to make sure your video playback is as fast and smooth as possible.

    The Future of Microsoft Expression Blend  - Douglas Olson

    Hear about the future plans for Expression Blend. See how Expression Blend improves the productivity of visual designers, providing better access to data and enhanced tools for interactivity. Learn how designers can be deeply engaged and remain in control of the creative decisions while enjoying improved collaboration with developers throughout the project lifecycle.

    Visual Design with Microsoft Expression Blend  - Celso Gomes

    Come learn how to use the XAML graphics features of Expression Blend to create impactful visual content. See how amazing, functional user interfaces can be created without code using a range of powerful features in Expression Blend.

    What's New in Microsoft Silverlight 3

    Joe Stegman

    Hear about some of the new experience-oriented Silverlight 3 features, and see how to build applications for Silverlight 3 using Microsoft Expression Blend and Microsoft Visual Studio.

    And much much more.

    All  Sessions:


    All Speakers:


    All Workshops:


  • Expression Web team blog

    HTML, CSS, and JavaScript reference at your fingertips: FireScope add-on for Firefox


    SitePoint has released the “first phase” of their JavaScript reference, and they’ve also completely redesigned their Reference Site for improved usability. To coincide with the redesign, they’ve released a handy Firefox add-on called FireScope to integrate their HTML and CSS reference (sadly not their new JavaScript reference) into Firebug and your Firefox browser:

    FireScope logo


    Here’s a screenshot of the new Reference panel in Firebug:

    FireScope reference panel in Firebug in Firefox

    Read the list of features on the SitePoint website to learn more about the tool:


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