Expression Products Added to MSDN

Last December Microsoft announced the new Expression Studio products.  These products enable designers to build awesome user experiences, and are designed to help facilitate great designer/developer workflow collaboration on projects.  

The Expression products share a common project file format with Visual Studio, which enables designers using Expression and developers using Visual Studio to open and edit the same projects together.  They also share common UI declarative markup formats (HTML and XAML), which enables clean design/coding interaction.

When we originally announced Expression, one of the common questions/complaints was over why we weren't planning on including the products (especially Expression Web and Expression Blend) within MSDN subscriptions.  Today we announced that we were changing this (you can read details on Soma's blog post announcing it here).

Expression Web and Expression Blend will now be available at no extra charge to all MSDN Premium Subscribers (this includes customers with the "VS Professional with MSDN Premium" subscription).  This means many more developers will have awesome design tools for building great ASP.NET, WPF and "WPF/E" solutions.

Visual Studio will also have integrated WYSIWYG designers for HTML, WPF and WPF/E as well.  As I mentioned in my "First Look at Orcas for Web Development" blog post last month, the HTML designer within Visual Studio "Orcas" is actually the same one that ships in Expression Web (but integrated into the Visual Studio shell).  VS "Orcas" also ships with a great new designer for WPF that integrates nicely within the Visual Studio IDE and adds rich developer features (for example: like live split-view designer/source editing and rich control extensibility).

If you haven't tried out Expression Blend or Expression Web yet, I'd highly recommend giving them a spin.  You can download free 180 day trial editions for them on the Microsoft Expression web site.

Hope this helps,



  • It is a step in the right direction, but why was Expression Design not included in the MSDN release?

    I started using Expression Design after seeing it at PDC05, but have now found myself in the position that the September CTP that supports pixel and vectro layers has expired and was replaced with a version which only supports vector layers.

    With this announcement it appears I will not be able to get Design w/o VS Suite Subscription. I'm stuck with XPR files w/o a means to modify them.

    I came home from PDC and started getting the rest of the team excited about Design. Now they hate me for it.

  • I was one of the dudes that privately bit ch ed about this. I am glad you guys actually listen. :)


  • It looks neat but...

    I had a designer try it out here, and we basically decided we couldn't use it because there's no integrated Sourcesafe support.

    The stability also seemed poor. Lots of crashes. Maybe it doesn't like Vista.

  • Fantastic news! Blend is essential to WPF developers while Orcas is baking. Thanks!

  • Brilliant news! I was really suprised and dissapointed when I found out that the Expression tools would not be available through MSDN. It's reassuring to know that Microsoft have listened to the feedback and now made them available through MSDN subscriptions.

    I think this is a sensible move and will help to see more people pushing the whole WPF platform.

    Well done Microsoft! :)

  • This is a terrific development and I feel necessary if Microsoft do want customers and partners to take up WPF in a meaningful way.

  • What kind of CSS improvements are there in web expression over those found in VS 2005?

  • Just checked, it's posted on my MSDS, but I think I'll wait until Orcas is released with the integrated bits. Too much to learn, not enough time...

  • Will Expression Web/Blend Integrate with Source Safe like Visual Studio?

  • good for the deigner people

  • It's a excellent news. Thanks!!

  • This is cool! Thanks for sharing

  • Hi A Stonerock,

    Expression Design and Media is included with MSDN subscriptions with Team Suite. MSDN Premium has Expression Blend and Web.



  • A Stonerock - can you send me email about the XBR issue? I can loop you in with some folks who can then help.



  • Luke/Leo - Expression doesn't have built-in source safe integration inside their shell, although you can use the standaline SourceSafe GUI to checkin/checkout/sync.

    I know the Expression team is looking to add integrated support in the future.



  • Hi Greif,

    The CSS editing tools within Expression Web and VS "Orcas" are much, much richer than what is in VS 2005. I think you'll really like what is provided by them.



  • This is excellent news.

    I just have 3 hopefully easy questions:
    1) Does Expression Web work with Vista?
    Unless I've gone blind or insane (both distinct possibilities) the Expression web site only lists Windows XP SP2 or later and Windows Server 2003, so I suppose it depends on whether Vista is included in "or later".
    An addendum to that question would be to ask whether, if it does work on Vista, it does so without needing to re-apply the Vista update for Visual Studio 2005 SP1 afterwards (which would be painful).
    2) Does Expression Web grab any file extensions (such as .aspx etc) that are used by Visual Studio, or does it at least ask you first? That's pretty important to me.
    3) Lastly, is the Development web server the same as Cassini in Visual Studio, and do you still need to install it if it is?

  • Hi Kevin,

    To answer your questions:

    1) You can use Expression Web on Vista. You don't need to reapply any VS service packs to use it.

    2) Expression Web will probably grab the .aspx extension by default if you install it after VS. You can change this back to VS though.

    3) Expression Web ships the same development web-server as included in VS 2005. You don't need to install anything special in order to use it.

    Hope this helps,



    Many thanks to those at Microsoft who listened to the protests of developers when these were not included in MSDN.

    You've made me a very happy MSDN subscriber :-)

  • More and more I'm feeling like you guys are actually listening to our feedback. This is great news.

    I work in a small team that doesn't have separate "designers", so this is great for us!

  • Hi Juan,

    Definitley feel free to translate any of my articles.



  • Holy cow! WPF/E and HTML WYSIWIG Designers that integrate with VS?! That is absolutely awesome. I was just planning to purchase Photoshop CS2 to do all my designs, looks like it will be worthwhile to wait.

    Downloading demo as I type...

    Scott, I am going to say this again, I could not be more astonished by the quality of content on your blog. It is so obvious that you spend alot of time preparing and posting material here, and it is always super helpful. I am always looking forward to reading more - thanks again for all the efforts.

  • Scott,
    It was really disapointing to hear that developers and designers were being split into retail and MSDN. Can't we all just get along? Well today we can and thanks to you guys we are about to be one big happy family. Great news! I can't wait to delete my adobe products.

  • Scott,

    Do you know when the next WPF/E CTP is comming and if/when it will be go-live, even if in beta?



  • Hi Mike,

    We'll be making some announcements about this shortly. Not too long now... :-)


  • Scott,

    That’s great, we have already dropped RIA development in another cross browser RIA platform in preparation for WPF/E and are happy to be 100% back in Visual Studio. A go-live will certainly make the transition easier. So please post as soon as you have something. I am sure there are many others in the same boat. Visual Studio certainly does spoil you.



  • Hi Scott,

    I have not seen Expression blend available from MSDN Premium Subscription yet!? I was able to download Expression Web which is now available. Any idea when Expression Blend will be available?


  • Hi Angel,

    Expression Blend 1.0 hasn't been released just yet (it will shortly though). Once it is released it will be on the MSDN Premium web site to download.

    Until then you can download the RC here:



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