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Expression Web and Blend being added to MSDN subscription

April 4th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

Go to an interactive design or web conference and ask an audience to raise their hands if they are “designers”, then again if they are “developers”, and I am always surprised to see that as much as a third (and sometimes more) of the crowd will just stare back at you perplexed, annoyed, or with playful contempt.  Turns out the label “designer” and “developer” are pretty ill suited to describe many of the ranks of folks who build applications, interactive content, and websites.  More than two distinct populations, these folks form a continuum of personalities, training, passions, and skills that span across uber-design (say, graphic illustration or photography) to uber-development (writing low-level drivers for devices, or algorithms for image processing)… while the majority of folks might be comfortable with one of these terms, for many they fail to deliver any real insight.

However there are a few statements I’d go on the record as making about the two populations that I think are unequivocally true (and are correlated in numerous quantitative research projects we have conducted):

    • Designers tend to wear black clothes, often turtlenecks, as much as 67% of the time in winter months
    • Developers like free t-shirts received at tech conferences (or as morale boosters at work), where as designers tend to use these shirts as extra materials for collages and cleaning up acrylic paint from their art-boards
    • Most designers can’t do math or quantitative thinking above a high-school level, rather, they make decisions purely through emotional intuition and guessing
    • Developers don’t understand modern art, don’t attend techno or electronic live performances, and only read non-fiction books
    • And contrary to popular belief, Santa Claus is a designer, not a developer…

Yes, the point is that any characterization of “designer” or “developers” is bound to fail, and the above examples are merely a yarn.  But I bet I had (many of) you on “designers wear black”…

By now you’ve heard about Microsoft Expression, a new product family from Microsoft “for professional web and interactive designers”.  Yes, “designers”, not “developers” (haven’t I fully undermined the validity of those terms yet?)  Coupled with our Visual Studio product line for “developers”, the two product lines together aim to radically improve the process of collaboration amongst teams of “designer/developers”.  We think role specific tools will help users with different skill sets, sensibilities, and passions to feel more at home in their tool of choice, while simultaneously allowing everyone to just swap projects/files and iterate along the way from concept to delivery of a project. 

Back in December of 2006 Microsoft shipped Expression Web (the rest of the Expression Studio is coming really soon (this quarter)) and they decided NOT to include it within any of the MSDN Subscriptions that many developers and organizations use to stay up to date on all things msft platform/tools. 

As of today Microsoft is adding Expression Web to MSDN Premium subscriptions (and the greater Team Edition offerings), and it will be available for download immediately.  This is the full product license, per other products available in MSDN subscriptions.  Microsoft is also going to include Expression Blend  in these subscriptions once it ships. By doing so, they are doing the right thing for not only “developers”, but hope this will also benefit “designers” who adopt the full Expression Studio and work on teams collaboratively with “devs”.  So much of what Microsoft is delivering in next generation platforms (ASP.NET, “WPF/E”, WPF) can only fully be exploited and realized when both the visual/interactive/emotional design is coupled with the functional, programmatic, deployable and secure manifest—and that is the focus that drove this decision, irrespective of what you call the person who does what on the project.

Source from: Somasegar’s Weblog(Corporate VP, Developer Division)

Posted in .NET Framework, MS News, MSDN, Visual Studio | Comments Off on Expression Web and Blend being added to MSDN subscription

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