Expression Web Designer Beta

Microsoft® Expression® Web Designer
I had been anxious to check out Microsoft’s new Expression Web Designer, not because I had any issues with FrontPage 2003, but because I like playing with new programs. I was thrilled when I received the download notice for the initial private beta, which they have since offered to the general public.I am probably not one of the best people to work with a beta program. As much as I like playing with new programs, I am definitely a creature of habit who tends to be quite resistant to change. This means I tend to be overly critical of a new product, especially if I really liked the program it is designed to replace.

The big benefit I kept reading about was Expression Web Designer producing standards-based code. Since I had already learned how to do this with FrontPage 2002 and 2003, I was not yet real impressed.

Myself being an old dog that is pretty tough to teach new tricks, once I downloaded the beta, it just sat on my computer for a few days while I stared at it, wondering what made this new program for designers so special. In defense of Microsoft’s Expression Web Designer, I did the very same thing when I downloaded the newest version of Paint Shop Pro, and now I cannot keep my hands off it.

In FrontPage 2003 I worked almost exclusively from the code view with my style sheet open right beside me to make needed changes as I went. Now all of the sudden this new program wants to create CSS for me automatically. I have to admit that when someone says something is going to happen automatically, I am pessimistic. I fully expect that anything happening automatically is going to screw up.

Sure enough, when I set out to create a very basic page, Expression Web Designer began automatically adding a class for the heading styles I set instead of simply changing the default for heading tags in my external style sheet. No matter what I tried, the results were the same. The longer I tried, the more choice words I began using toward this new fangled program.

Eventually I gave up and put it all away for the night, all the while assuring myself that it couldn’t possibly be my fault. Of course this is always bound to lead in the direction of me feeling like a fool at some point. This time would not be an exception. Once I calmed down and took another look, the answer was right in front of me.

Good lawd, could it really be this simple? Oh wow! I am impressed. The Microsoft team really has created a nice program here that will make a huge difference for many people and save a ton of time. All this, while still using standards-based code! What more could I possibly ask for?


J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and SEO Training Specialist
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