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Expression "Design" Beta 2 Ships

As Microsoft pushes to ready a suite of new design tools for offer under the Expression Studio brand, the company announced late last week that it is shipping the second beta release of the third of those tools.

This tool, Expression Design, is targeted at graphic design professionals working on elements for both Web and desktop application user interfaces.

The company just announced it is shipping the "release candidate," or RC, of the second tool in the Expression Studio set -- Expression Blend. (See "Expression Blend Release Candidate Ships.") Blend is designed to enable developers and designers to build Windows user interfaces using the .NET Framework 3.0's Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

Design is the third 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.

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

RC is the final step after beta test before a Microsoft product is "released to manufacturing," or RTM. A release candidate is just that -- it is released to testers and if no one finds any "show stopper" bugs, it is RTMed.

Expression Design supports the .NET Framework 3.0 and, like Expression Blend, generates XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) code -- the XML dialect that Microsoft has implemented for Windows Vista graphics.

Beta 2 of Expression Design is available 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. Contact him at stuartj1@mindspring.com.

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