View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
January 24, 2006

Microsoft lifts more veil on Vista designer tools

Microsoft Corp will today open community previews of the interactive design pillar and the fourth release of the graphical design environment that will underpin its forthcoming Vista operating system.

By CBR Staff Writer

The trio of tools, called Expression, is intended to support Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), formerly code-named Avalon.

WPF is the visual element of Vista, comprising Microsoft’s answer to Adobe/Macromedia and IBM/Laszlo for the next generation of rich Internet applications.

Previously, these Expression tools were code-named Acrylic Graphic Designer, for painting graphics; Sparkle Interactive Designer, a design surface for where visual formats are pieced together and organized; and Quartz Web Designer, where the screens are actually laid out.

The new Community Technology Preview releases announced today include the first version of Sparkle, now formally branded Expression Interactive Designer; and the fourth CTP issue of Acrylic, now branded Expression Graphic Designer.

The initial preview of Interactive Designer provides a visual, WYSIWYG design environment that allows designers to take graphic objects created in Graphic Designer, and provide a style that organizes various visual elements together.

In effect, Interactive Designer is used to specify how visual elements behave. Interactive Designer also provides ways to specify a uniform look for visualizing data that streams onto a dynamic web page.

For instance, you could group controls, vector or bit-mapped 2D or 3D graphics images, multimedia, or text with a specific format as a style that can be applied uniformly. A website for ordering steaks might make each of these features look like cattle.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

Additionally, you can specify the way that dynamic feeds, such as stock tickers, are visually charted.

The fourth CTP of Graphic Designer provides better control over exporting graphic designs to Interactive Designer. Specifically, it allows designers to assign metadata tags that describe the graphic feature being exported. However, it does not yet support cut and paste (which will come in a future CTP).

As with competing frameworks, Expression uses its own XML-based language to specify the look and feel of rich user displays. (Microsoft’s language is called XAML.) Intended to integrate visual design with software designed by developers in Visual Studio, the Expression tools generate XAML automatically so designers can concentrate on design rather than coding.

The CTPs of Graphic and Interactive Designer are available now. That leaves Expression Web Designer (formerly known as Quartz), the layout tool.

Although Microsoft is not committing to specific release dates, it is expected to have the first CTP of Web Designer by the time of its new Mix conference, aimed at Expression web designers, scheduled for Las Vegas beginning March 20.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.