Extreme makeover: Microsoft Expression Blend


The Expression team has been working very hard over the past year to give Sparkle an extreme makeover. New UI, new property inspection system, better workflow for UI design tasks, and a great looking product!

From the Expression Team blog:53

“What’s new in the beta?

Enhanced Properties panel UX

  • Context-sensitive UX makes finding associated properties a snap
  • Improved UX for event & property triggers
  • Support for editing almost all WPF properties such as bitmap effects
  • Built-in search to help you find properties without the need for scrolling
  • Ability to bind data such as a brush resource to any property using a rich UX
  • Unique value editors make it easier to set values without leaving the mouse
  • New editors for collections
  • A new plug-in model that 3rd-parties can use to add their own custom editors

Redesigned shell


  • Improved docking and panel management
  • New icons enhance usability
  • Darker theme brings focus to the design workspace

05-capabilities_softwaredesignImproved artboard

  • Drag & drop to create elements via a rich asset gallery
  • Snap to grid and snap to alignment makes it easier to layout your controls
  • Enhanced context menu allows you to group into layout containers and set common layout properties
  • Right-click > View XAML allows you to quickly find the associated XAML for an element

Improved resource management & control template capabilities

  • Resources panel allows you to edit resource values used by your project
  • Support for dragging & dropping resources between dictionaries to re-factor your project
  • Built-in set of controls which are designed to be easy to edit and reconfigure

Support for Microsoft Visual Studio editing

  • Shared project format with Visual Studio allows easier development-designer workflow
  • Create event handlers in Expression Blend and edit your code in Visual Studio”.

On Designing software

A friend of mine pointed me out today to the Modo 201 event video for SIGGRAPH’05. While I am still less than a couple of minutes through the video, I was very interested by the way Luxology presented their goals for Modo. I believe it’s the simplest and most efficient set of goals I have seen for a piece of software. Quoted from their slide decks:

“– Cutting edge toolset.

– Advanced software ergonomics.

– Painless pipeline integration.

– Streamline learning path.

“I believe Software ergonomics in this context is a synonym to usability.


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