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Microsoft Releases First Preview of Expression Web Designer

Microsoft has released the first community technology preview (CTP) of its Expression Web Designer tool targeted for designers producing professional Web sites.

Expression Web Designer, previously codenamed "Quartz," is one of three new design tools, all with the Expression brand but aimed at distinctly different roles in the Web publishing process, coming from Microsoft. The company began the first and second previews for two other Expression-branded design tools three months ago.

Codenamed “Sparkle” and “Acrylic,” the two products already in preview are dubbed Expression Interactive Designer and Expression Graphic Designer, respectively.

Expression Web Designer is meant for -- prosaically enough -- Web site designers. Among many features, Web Designer will provide real-time standards validation; Microsoft has often been criticized in the past for not fully supporting established Internet standards. Among those supported are XHTML. The new package will also provide an accessability checker to  make sure that sites conform to standards for screen readers.

In addition, the Web design tool has extensive support for cascading style sheets (CSS) as well as ASP.net 2.0, according to company statements.

Microsoft officials have not yet said when the three Expression products will be released.

To participate in the CTP, go here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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