Microsoft Ships Expression Blend 4 Service Pack 1

Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Service Pack 1 includes better integration with Adobe design tools and support for Windows Phone 7 app development.

Microsoft has delivered a new service pack for its Expression Blend 4 development and design technology.

The new Expression Blend 4 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is fully compatible with Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight 3 and 4, and .NET Framework 3.5 and 4, according to a post by the Microsoft Expression Blend team.

"Expression Blend 4 SP1 includes support for building Windows Phone 7 apps and improved integration with Adobe design tools through support for FXG file format, as well as bug fixes and stability enhancements," according to the D'Technology Weblog.

Expression Blend 4 is a Microsoft development environment that enables developers to create rich Web experiences, games, desktop apps and more; to design apps that use the full power of Silverlight; and to work effectively with design tools, Expression Blend and Visual Studio, Microsoft said.

"When you install Windows Phone Development Tools, you can use design tools in Blend to create WP apps, including WinP project and item templates, graphics and animation tools, behaviors and sample data," according to the D'Technology Weblog. "Once you've created WP app, you can build it and then preview it either in WP emulator or in a WP device attached to your computer."

Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone provides the same streamlined development workflow for Windows Phone 7 that was previously only available for Silverlight and .NET applications, Microsoft said. Using the Microsoft Expression Blend tooling, to create the user interface of a Windows Phone 7 application, "simply drag UI elements to the design surface where they can be quickly customized and styled, import assets from tools such as Adobe Photoshop and turn them into data driven UI elements before finalizing your UI with transitions and animation that bring your application to life users navigate from screen to screen," Microsoft said in a description of the technology.

Interested developers can develop for Windows Phone 7 by installing the Windows Phone Developer Tools which includes Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone, Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone and the Windows Phone Emulator.