Microsoft releases the latest version of its design tools suite.
Microsoft announced May 1 the release to manufacturing of Expression Studio
2, the latest version of the software giant's suite of design tools aimed at
professional designers and focused on the market dominated by Adobe Systems.
Microsoft's suite of professional design tools consists of Expression Web 2,
Expression Blend 2, Expression Design 2, Expression Media 2 and Expression
Encoder 2 and works with Microsoft's core developer tools, Visual Studio 2005
and Visual Studio 2008, to make for a smooth designer-developer workflow, the
Adobe also is working on technology to enhance designer-developer workflow
with a tool code-named Thermo, which is currently under development in Adobe
Microsoft delivered a beta release of Expression Studio 2 at its MIX
conference in March. The release to the Web of the suite comes a year after the
last major release of its components.
Click here to read more about Microsoft's Expression Studio 2 announcements at MIX.
New features in the suite include support for PHP and Adobe Photoshop in
Expression Web 2. Expression Blend 2, Microsoft's user interface design tool,
supports its Silverlight RIA (rich Internet application) tool, and now adds
vertex animation and an improved UI. And Expression Design 2, a professional
illustration vector and raster graphic design tool, adds improved exporting
functionality that includes the ability to export slices.
Raw File Format support and subscription
Expression Media 2, a digital asset management solution for photographers,
adds support for raw file formats, provides geotagging functionality and is
supported by Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office for Mac 2008. Expression
Encoder 2, now a core offering of the suite, is a program for encoding digital
audio and video media.
Although Microsoft released Expression Studio 2 to the Web May 1, buyers
will be able to purchase the entire studio from retailers such as Amazon.com
and Best Buy starting in mid-May for $699, the company said.
The Microsoft Expression Professional Subscription
will become available in June. The subscription includes the full Expression
Studio suite along with other Microsoft programs such as Visual Studio, Windows
Vista and Microsoft Office, for $999.