Expression Blend Release Candidate Ships

Microsoft this week began shipping the release candidate for Expression Blend, its new design tool for building Windows user interfaces using the .NET Framework 3.0’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

WPF is the graphical subsystem for Windows going forward -- it comes as part of Vista but there are also versions for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003. It is programmed using XAML (pronounced “zam ul”).

Expression Blend is built on WPF and can natively consume XAML files, according to statements on Microsoft’s site. XAML is short for eXtensible Application Markup Language, which is the XML dialect Microsoft uses for programming user interfaces in the .NET Framework 3.0 -- and thus in Vista.

Blend is the second of three new Expression design tools that Microsoft has under work as part of its forthcoming Expression Studio.

The company began shipping Expression Web, a tool for Web designers, in December. A third tool, Expression Designer, a professional illustration and graphic design tool aimed at letting designers build elements for both Web and desktop application user interfaces, is currently in beta test.

Microsoft says Blend and Designer, as well as another tool named Expression Media, which is designed to provide media asset management capabilities, will ship in the second quarter.

Portions of Expression Blend require use of Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2005 Express edition -- either the Visual Basic or C# edition. Express edition, which is free, is available here.

The release candidate of Expression Blend is available for download 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.


  • The 2020 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    From the next major update to Windows 10 to the next generations of .NET and PowerShell, here's what's on tap from Microsoft this year.

  • 2020 Microsoft Conference Calendar: For Partners, IT Pros and Developers

    Here's your guide to all the IT training sessions, partner meet-ups and annual Microsoft conferences you won't want to miss. (Now updated with COVID-19-related event changes.)

  • Microsoft Closing Most of Its Retail Stores

    Microsoft on Friday announced a major shift in its retail operations, with plans to close most of its physical Microsoft Store outlets in favor of online sales.

  • Matrix

    Microsoft, Harvard Describe Joint Privacy Initiative

    To facilitate data sharing while still preserving data privacy, Microsoft and Harvard have embarked on a set of open source tool called the "OpenDP Initiative."

RCP Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.