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Expression Studio 4 box shotToday (7-Jun-2010) at Internet Week in New York, Microsoft announced the general availability of Expression Studio 4 which includes upgraded versions of Expression Blend (including Sketchflow), Encoder, Web (including SuperPreview) and Design.

You can find out the details of each product and download a trial at http://www.microsoft.com/expression right now.

With this release comes a free Upgrade for licensed version 3 (Studio or Web) users!  All you need to do is install the trial version of v4 on top of your licensed version of Expression Studio 3 or Expression Web 3 and the installer will find your license and upgrade it to the full v4 product with no expiration.  This applies to customers who received their software through retail channels or electronic software download direct.  For customers who have broader license agreements (i.e., MSDN, WebsiteSpark, BizSpark) you should install the product using the software provided from your program site.

Here’s a quick break-down list of what’s new in this release:

Expression Blend 4 New Features include:

  • VS2010 compatibility
  • Windows Phone support
  • Deeper Adobe Photoshop import (layer effects)
  • New behaviors & conditional behaviors
  • Enhanced sample data support
  • Listbox path layout for designing with data
  • Pixel Shader effects (including animations)
  • Easier styling and customization
  • Model View View-Model support
  • Mockup controls for SketchFlow

Expression Web 4 New Features include

  • SEO Reporting from inside of the application
  • New extensibility model enables creating add-ins with HTML, JS, and CSS
  • New SuperPreview online service beta for browser compatibility testing now supports Macintosh Safari

Expression Encoder 4 Pro New features include

  • Live Smooth Streaming (VC-1 & H.264)
  • New H.264 encoder from MainConcept
  • Enhanced Screen Capture
  • DRM (PlayReady) for Live Content

This is an awesome release for XAML, web and media developers creating interactive solutions. 

NOTE: If you are developing in Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 and need/want to use Blend for this, do not install the released version of Expression Studio 4. You must continue to use the Blend 4 Beta and Add-in Preview for Windows Phone. This Beta will be refreshed with each Phone SDK pre-release and will be unified with released Blend 4 in a service pack which will release when the Windows Phone SDK releases.

There will be a bunch of information coming out about these features and tutorials by the Expression team along with videos, etc.  I would keep an eye on Adam Kinney’s site for details on some of this information.  As the Expression Evangelist, Adam is a ‘must subscribe’ resource that you should have in your toolbox!  So go check out an overview of Expression Studio 4 and get the trial!

Hope this helps!



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.


6/7/2010 8:51 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Jeffrey - good question. Remember that MVVM is a *pattern* not a framework. Blend supports the general pattern without providing any specific implementation details. As to if Microsoft will provide an MVVM framework of sorts, I'm not sure. I see us supporting more core parts of the pattern (event aggregator, etc.) and allow people to build upon that if desired. Caliburn, MVVM Light, etc. are all building frameworks on top of the pattern to ease development and provide enhanced capabilities.
6/7/2010 8:58 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Morten - Expression Blend 4 is the tool that provides the WP7 support. But *this* release doesn't yet have a compatible update for WP7 SDK. So it's both :-). Sorry for sounding confusing.
6/7/2010 12:52 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
I installed expression studio ultimate trial but I am now getting the following message in the results tab.

"Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.Expression.Framework, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified."

What can be the issue ? I was previously having Blends 4 RC installed with Windows Phone Preview but I removed Blends 4 RC before installing Expression studio 4 Ultimate. I was also having the licensed version of Expression Studio 3 installed but it was also not upgraded. Expression Studio is still installed as 60 days trial.
6/7/2010 2:24 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Does Expression Web 4 integrate with Team Foundation Server 2010? I cannot get the menu item enabled, and the documentation only talks about Team Foundation Server 2008 integration via a hotfix.
6/7/2010 3:06 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Satyendra -- I recommend contacting the support team with that -- I'm not aware of what the issue could be.
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6/7/2010 3:07 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
I noted that Blend 4 does NOT include SketchFlow. SketchFlow appears to be a separate addon for Blend so if a MSDN subscriber gets Expression Studio 4 Premium that includes Blend 4, unlike for Expression Studio 3 which included SketchFlow, there will be no SketchFlow. Only Expression Studio 4 Ultimate will include SketchFlow. MSDN Subscribers just got downgraded. I thought Microsoft have been saying that when changes are made to the MSDN subscriptions, people aren't worse off but that has now changed!!
6/7/2010 4:28 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
SketchFlow NOT included in Studio 4? WTF! I repeat.... WT...Freaking.... F! This is totally unacceptable. My development team purchased VS 2010 Premium w/ MSDN with the impression by Adam Kinney, Scott Guthrie, etc. that this would be included in the Premium package or some sort of free upgrade. I understand this is a Marketing thing, but come on! I believe, at very least, this should have been explained in detail before this release. Tim Heuer... as a rep to give feedback to the team... Please please and please.... tell powers-at-be to fix this problem. Sorry for the rant. Besides this issue, I believe it is a very good product:) Thanks
6/7/2010 4:58 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
I feel I must echo the comments of KK and shaggygi. The "Ultimate" SKU seems more than a little unnecessary. With such a push going on with Silverlight across the Microsoft product range (Desktop, Phone, Embedded) it is a shame that SketchFlow will be outside the default toolset of most MSDN subscribers and Microsoft Parnters. I'm reminded of Kevin Kline's reaction in A Fish Called Wanda when the safe was opened and found to be empty.... "disappointed!".
6/8/2010 1:10 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.Expression.Framework, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.


This error in Blend 4 appears if WindowsPhoneAddin and WindowsPhoneSDK are installed. Unistall fix error.

6/8/2010 6:09 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
What a disappointment for us MSDN Premium folks. They give us a feature for a year and then yank it back. Is there any alternative to getting SketchFlow that won't cost an additional $600 to buy another copy of Expression Studio Ultimate?
6/8/2010 8:40 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
KK, shaggygi, Simon, Derek, Bryan: thanks for expressing your feedback. I wasn't aware of this myself until the feedback started coming in :-) (fortunately/unfortunately in my job with Silverlight I don't have to deal with a lot of licensing discussions).

I spoke with the Expression team and they had this to say..
---
With version 4, we have taken steps to simplify our design tool offerings for customers and align them more closely with other familiar Microsoft toolsets and resources like Visual Studio and msdn. At the recent launch of Visual Studio, we also announced Professional, Premium and Ultimate tiers (each tier also containing differing/more features with each respective step-up) and Expression follows the same tiered model.

Customers who purchased Visual Studio Premium from a retailer will receive an offer to purchase Expression Ultimate at a special price of $249.95 within the next few weeks. Volume Licensing customers will receive a 50% discount on purchases of an Expression Ultimate License with Software Assurance. The volume licensing promotion will appear on the volume licensing price list in a few months and of course all msdn Premium customers will continue to have access to SketchFlow in Expression Studio 3.
---
I realize this isn't ideal for some, but still wanted to pass the information along. Bryan -- no it isn't $600, but it looks like you will be able to purchase the Ultimate (if you were a retail customer) for $250. Others will have to talk with their licensing channels to understand the options here -- yes, Microsoft licensing is a maze...I hate that part.

Anyway, not the "everything is free" message you were all hoping for I bet, but I at least wanted to report back my findings.
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6/8/2010 9:05 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
As I've said elsewhere, this decision to drop Sketchflow from Blend for all but the MSDN Ultimate crowd (or those willing to pay retail after already spending thousands on MSDN Premium) is wrong on two fronts. First, it's a bait-and-switch for customers who began using it with Blend 3 and now can't use it when moving to Blend 4 (without significant costs beyond the MSDN Premium license). Second, it will almost certainly reduce the adoption of Sketchflow across the Blend user base -- if only those who pay retail or go with MSDN Ultimate have it, that's a considerably smaller number than if it were included in MSDN Premium.

I'd love to hear an explanation of that decision.
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6/8/2010 9:14 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Not much of an explanation - "We went with a tiered approach". No kidding. It also doesn't help those who have already spent thousands on MSDN Premium licenses. They don't get the upgrade price (which applies only to retail Visual Studio purchases).

Further, nobody was expecting "everything is free". I'd call what we've spent on MSDN Premium seats for the team over the years anything but "free". And given Microsoft's push for Silverlight adoption, I'd also argue that putting the best quality tools in the hands of every Silverlight team would be the goal - not nickel-and-diming customers for a hundreds more at retail (or thousands more in MSDN licenses).

If it had been tiered this way all along, that'd be a different matter (and I'd argue that nobody would care since fewer would have been using Sketchflow over the past year). But it wasn't... so plenty of people started drinking the Sketchflow koolaid with Blend 3 and just had it taken away because some marketing genius thought a new set of "tiers" would drive either retail sales or MSDN upgrades. The next time, DevDiv rolls out some new features and capabilities, you can bet your customers will be more suspicious of taking a look -- why bother, when your pricing will get jacked up a year later?
6/8/2010 9:17 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
JD - I totally understand the frustration. I apologize for trivializing 'free' -- what I meant was upgrade for free. At any rate, I know the team is seeing this feedback.
6/8/2010 11:13 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Tim - thanks for passing our comments along to the product team. I/we know you care about this and appreciate your time/effort here. The benefit to Microsoft of having the most complete set of tools in the hands of all developers will, I hope, result in much more adoption of Silverlight technologies across PC, mobile and embedded devices in what is becoming a fiercely competitive environment. That should be the goal that Microsoft, Partners and customers should be striving towards.
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6/8/2010 1:03 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Thanks Tim. At least the Expression Team is getting feedback from developers & I'm sure there is more to come!! I'm amazed that they can say: "With version 4, we have taken steps to simplify our design tool offerings for customers". Simplify??? Won't it be simple to keep it exactly as it was before???

Tim I'm sure you'd rather not listen to all this. Maybe you could just list a link to whoever at the Expression Team these comments should be directed to.
6/13/2010 12:16 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Bob you can add your comments to the division head's post here: blogs.msdn.com/.../...e-expression-4-features.aspx
6/21/2010 8:02 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Way to spit in the face of your customers MS.

-----

We've listened to the feedback regarding the new Expression Premium SKU and having taken everything into consideration have decided that we will not be making any changes to the Expression product line up.

This means that SketchFlow will remain in Expression Ultimate only. An upgrade path is available for MSDN Premium customers to receive Expression Ultimate at reduced cost, and a partner only SKU will be avilable soon at a 40% discount.

...

Jon Harris

Microsoft
7/6/2010 6:59 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Hi John,

I still fail to understand the reasoning behind this decision, especially given the already considerable cost of an MSDN premium subscription and the fact the product was included in Expression Studio 3. There still is no clear details of how we update, and what this reduced cost is, but in future I will certainly be considering whether the cost of an MSDN subscription is justified given the fact the functionality appears to be decreasing.
7/6/2010 10:43 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Jonathan - I understand the concern. Can you mail me directly?
7/6/2010 5:27 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Echoing Tim here: Jonathan, KK and Simon, when you have a moment, could you each email me directly (moneill <at > microsoft <dot > com).
7/10/2010 8:00 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Time to start looking at Google for development. MS is just a bottom line company and doesn't care about its customers.
7/23/2010 2:11 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
This is like a stone in the shoe for our development team. We recived SketchFlow with Blend 3 Premium, incorporated it into our workflow and now I come back from vaccation to find that it is no longer available.
8/24/2010 7:15 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
To add more insult, we tried installing the Ultimate trial over Premium 4, just to see what Sketchflow looks like in 4. The first time in, the splash screen shows "Blend 4 + Sketchflow", but there is no option to create a Sketchflow project. After exiting and restarting the program, the splash screen shows just "Blend 4". Very frustrating to say the least...
9/14/2010 5:29 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Even aside from SketchFlow the new licensing scheme is a big hit. The whole point of our expensive MSDN subscription is so that we don't have to license Microsoft tools on a per-developer basis. Now we're suddenly forced to justify thousands of dollars of additional spending because there is a 2-seat activation limit on our volume license MSDN subscription.
9/25/2010 2:03 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
No wonder Flash is still so much more popular than Silverlight. Typical Microsoft to start charging people for products that aren't even finished yet - Windows Mobile 7 support?
10/12/2010 9:37 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
I'm a little late to the party, but having just forked over AUD$4010 for my MSDN Premium renewal, I find I'm expected to pay yet again for Sketchflow.

Lowly corporate developers on MSDN Premium don't need to prototype their Silverlight LOB apps, right?

Not cool Microsoft, not cool.

P.S. Love your work Tim!
12/6/2010 6:33 AM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Tim, I would only hope you have some influence with marketing to correct this. In the meantime, I am forced to switch to Balsamiq. MS makes great developer products, and I don't think they appreciate that by locking us small independent developers out of a useful tool like Sketchflow, they are losing their chance at market share in a new arena. Once we switch, it takes a lot to get us back because of training, cost, etc.

Prototyping tools are a new market and spread quickly by demonstration and word-of-mouth. So now I'll be making my presentations with non-Sketchflow and the customer will ask "what did you use to produce this?". And sadly the answer won't be Sketchflow anymore.
1/15/2011 8:05 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
Hi,

OK, you want us MSDN users to promote Balsamiq instead of Sketchflow, well then - OK, no problem, we can and will do so. (Thank's batpox for the hint) - wow that's good viral marketing, i always thought this was the domain of MS, but ... obviously also companies grow older <g>

mfg

Klaus
2/12/2011 2:59 PM | # re: Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design
I am planing to use Studio 4 with Silver light in my upcoming project and lets see how it works in coast guard boats.

 
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