The beta version, which Microsoft calls a Community Technology Preview, or CTP, is available for download on Microsofts Web site.
With this release, Microsoft now offers three applications in its Expression suite that compete in the professional design tools market with leaders such as Adobe Systems and Corel.
The other tools in the Expression suite include Expression Graphic Designer, formerly known as Acrylic, and Expression Interactive Designer, formerly known as Sparkle.
Expression Web Designer, much like Adobes Dreamweaver, is a professional development application.
It is meant to appeal to both designers and developers and offers tools for creating standards-based Web sites using XHTML (Extensible HTML), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and XML.
"Were entering an era where all browsers will read according to standards, where search engines rank sites better if theyre standards-based," said Wayne Smith, product manager for Expression Web Designer. "We did our research; we heard time and time again that standards were important. So we wanted to create a Web design tool that met the needs of the professional Web design community."