Showing posts with label Expression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expression. Show all posts

Monday, August 11, 2014

Remember SketchFlow? It's still around and still a cool prototyping tool...

Illuminate - Blend for Visual Studio 2013 Prototyping Applications with SketchFlow

SketchFlow enables rapid creating of dynamic interface mockups very quickly. The SketchFlow workspace is the same as the standard Blend workspace with the inclusion of three panels: the SketchFlow Feedback panel, the SketchFlow Animation panel and the SketchFlow Map panel.

By using SketchFlow to prototype, you can get feedback early in the process. It helps to surface possible issues, lower development iterations, and increase stakeholder buy in. SketchFlow prototypes not only provide an initial look but also provide a way to add additional ideas and input and make sure the team is on track prior to investing in complete development.

When you have completed the prototyping, you can discard the prototype and just use the lessons learned to design the application from or extract individual elements from your prototype and include them in the application. I don’t recommend trying to transition the entire project into a development project.

Objects that you add with the SketchFlow style have a hand-sketched look. The sketch style is used to remind stakeholders that this is a prototype. This encourages them to focus on the flow and functionality without getting distracted by design details.


While I use PowerPoint Storyboards for most of my design/visual prototyping (yes, even though I didn't "get why" for the longest time... now you can take my PPSB from my cold de... ;), there's still much to be said for a prototyping solution you can "ship" to your users, one that they can play with an really see how stuff might really work, annotate it, etc.

You all know how it is. Users really need something to click on, something to run to really get what an app is going to do. Storyboards are great, but like I said... you know how it is. Clicking is the road to understanding.

If this is your world, SketchFlow might be something you should take another close look at, heck it's free (if you have VS Ultimate or Premium at least...)


Related Past Post XRef:
Blend for VS2013 Windows Phone SketchFlow Templates
For the Win[JS] - Blend for Visual Studio 2012 now available (and Blend for WPF/SilverLight & SketchFlow Preview too)
Will the real Windows Phone 7 SketchFlow Template please stand up...
Sketching out an WP7 user interface and interaction with SketchFlow
A SketchFlow Two-fer day - “Shawn Wildermuth on SketchFlow/dnrTV” and “Prototyping a WPF-3D game design workflow using TrueSpace 3D, Expression Blend 3 with SketchFlow, and exporting the prototype to XNA Game Studio.”
“Application Prototyping with SketchFlow” Refcardz
Four Expression 3 Starter Kits, two for Blend and two for Web, focusing on Sketchflow, Gaming, SuperPreview and SilverLight.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blend for VS2013 Windows Phone SketchFlow Templates

Timmy Kokke - Windows Phone Sketchflow 2013

In the past I used SketchFlow to prototype my Windows Phone apps. Unfortunately the development of the windows phone SketchFlow templates stopped back in 2011. These templates don’t work in Blend for Visual Studio 2013. Today I had enough of not being able to use that template and just upgraded it to Blend for VS2013.

To use the template you’ll need Silverlight and SketchFlow (which comes with Blend on VS premium and ultimate).

You can download the Windows Phone SketchFlow templates here:

Once downloaded, extract the zip file into: %userprofile%\documents\Visual Studio 2013\Blend



Been quite on the SketchFlow front recently. Good to see it's not dead out there in the "real world"...


Related Past Post XRef:
For the Win[JS] - Blend for Visual Studio 2012 now available (and Blend for WPF/SilverLight & SketchFlow Preview too)
Will the real Windows Phone 7 SketchFlow Template please stand up...
Sketching out an WP7 user interface and interaction with SketchFlow
A SketchFlow Two-fer day - “Shawn Wildermuth on SketchFlow/dnrTV” and “Prototyping a WPF-3D game design workflow using TrueSpace 3D, Expression Blend 3 with SketchFlow, and exporting the prototype to XNA Game Studio.”
“Application Prototyping with SketchFlow” Refcardz
Four Expression 3 Starter Kits, two for Blend and two for Web, focusing on Sketchflow, Gaming, SuperPreview and SilverLight.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Do you Blend? Jerry Nixon teaches you how to use, and not be abused by, Blend for Visual Studio 2013

Jerry Nixon @ Work - The most Comprehensive Blend for Visual Studio training you will ever receive – for Free; you’re welcome!

November 2013, immediately after the release of Visual Studio 2013, I sat down for an all-day session with Unni Ravindranathan, the Senior Program Manager for Blend. Who better to walk through, not the new features of Blend, but all the core features of Blend – and the new features, too. In some cases, Blend for Visual Studio 2013 returned some of the features removed in Blend for Visual Studio 2012. But in many cases, it’s just candy tooling for the XAML developer.

Is this for you?

Do you want to see Blend in action and learn how to incorporate its bountiful power easily into your current projects? Windows 8 projects, you bet! Silverlight projects, you bet! Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) projects, too? You bet! Blend is a tool for XAML developers, not just Windows 8 developers. In fact, in some cases, Blend does more for the Silverlight and WPF developer. So, enjoy.

NOTE: The sample code for this course is located here.

1) Designing Your XAML UI with Blend: (01) XAML Development in Visual Studio 2013, Part 1

[05:08] - XAML Intro
[07:50] - XAML Editing Experience
[31:46] - Coding Experience
[33:51] - New XAML Controls


2) Designing Your XAML UI with Blend: (02) XAML Development in Visual Studio 2013, Part 2

[01:58] - Built-in Templates
[22:36] - XAML Editing Experience
[38:31] - Coding Experience


3) Designing Your XAML UI with Blend: (03) XAML Design and Styling in Blend, Part 1

[03:26] - Intro to Blend
[16:55] - Pixel Perfect Design
[28:55] - Behaviors and Actions


4) Designing Your XAML UI with Blend: (04) XAML Design and Styling in Blend, Part 2

[01:39] - Animations
[17:57] - Resource Management
[38:31] - Data
[56:47] – Features


5) Designing Your XAML UI with Blend: (05) Building Windows Store Apps with Blend

[01:50] - Demo P1
[44:52] - Demo P2



That's a good bit of free training for ya! Hope this helps you Blend... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
For the Win[JS] - Blend for Visual Studio 2012 now available (and Blend for WPF/SilverLight & SketchFlow Preview too)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh Behave... Behaviors SDK and the new BlendBehaviors.NET

Timmy Kokke - Behaviors SDK

When the release candidate of Visual Studio 2013 came available, so did the Behaviors SDK. The Behaviors SDK is somewhat similar to the Expression Blend SDK you might have used before when using Behaviors and Actions. Along with the SDK come a couple of actions and behaviors you can use in your Windows Store applications right away.

What are they?

Both behaviors and actions are small pieces of code that can be reused throughout your projects. In the case of the new Behaviors SDK the only thing you need to do is implement an interface. A behavior adds some behavior to an element in your application. A behavior has a method that is invoked when the behavior is attached to a Dependency Object. It also has a method that is invoked when it is detached. An action contains only one method that is invoked when a certain condition is met. This condition can be a event that is raised, or a state of data or well pretty much everything.

Those of you who are used to working with behaviors and actions on other platforms might miss the triggers. Triggers where used to work together with actions, and presented the reason for an action to be executed. In the new Behaviors SDK triggers are no longer there. They are replaced by behaviors.

What’s in the SDK?

The Behaviors SDK consists of two parts. One (Microsoft.Xaml.Interactivity) contains the tools you need to create your own behaviors and actions(more about this is a sec). The other (Microsoft.Xaml.Interactions) contains a few of the most commonly used behaviors and actions(which are build with the interfaces from the first part b.t.w.). Not everything you might be used to working with from other platforms is included in de SDK, but I’m pretty sure these will be available through open source channels.

Let’s just go over the actions and behaviors included in de SDK.


  • CallMethodAction : An action that calls a method on a specified object when invoked.
  • ChangePropertyAction : An action that will change a specified property to a specified value when invoked.
  • GoToStateAction : An action that will transition a FrameworkElement to a specified VisualState when executed.
  • InvokeCommandAction : Executes a specified ICommand when invoked.
  • NavigateToPageAction : An action that switches the current visual to the specified Page.
  • ControlStoryboardAction : An action that will change the state of the specified Storyboard when executed.
  • PlaySoundAction : An action that will play a sound to completion.


  • DataTriggerBehavior : A behavior that performs actions when the bound data meets a specified condition.
  • EventTriggerBehavior : A behavior that listens for a specified event on its source and executes its actions when that event is fired.
  • IncrementalUpdateBehavior : A behavior that allows incremental updating of ListView and GridView contents to support faster updating. By attaching this behavior to elements in the ItemTemplate used by these views, some of the updates can be deferred until there is render time available, resulting in a smoother experience.

The other part contains two interfaces you need when building your own: IAction and IBehavior. There are some attributes and helper classes you can use too.



Welcome to BlendBehaviors.NET. As a XAML developer I use behaviors a lot. Like most developers, I don't like writing the same code over and over. Let us all share our behaviors and actions so we have to write even less.


Something I need to look more into, especially in my WPF world...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 is RTW... (and it's a "Wow" Update)

Visual Studio ALM + Team Foundation Server Blog - Visual Studio 2012 – Update 2 RTM!

Visual Studio Updates are a mechanism we are using to provide ongoing value throughout the year to our Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server customers. These updates will provide features to support the latest software trends in the market, and also offer an easy way to deploy bug fixes.

Today we are excited to announce that Visual Studio Update 2 is now RTM!  - see Soma’s Blog Post with the official announcement.

Modern application lifecycle has been improved in Visual Studio Update 2 with significant improvements to both quality enablement and agile development.  Agile development has been made easier and more flexible with Work Item enhancements (tags, filtering, sharing), Kanban board customization and improved user interfaces.  Quality Enablement now supports a lightweight browser-based test management and execution to enable development teams to easily view/edit tests and your customers to run tests in a way that needs no installation on the system being tested and works non-Windows platforms; to decrease the time needed to continuously enable quality in software projects.

Business Application Development focuses on improving the line of business development and developer experience.  Highlights for the line of business developers include: HTML Client and SharePoint support for LightSwitch.  The developer experience improvements in the IDE include a new theme, Code Map debugger integration and performance in key areas areas including XAML design and Code Map rendering.

Download RTM Release

The release of Visual Studio Update 2 can be downloaded here:

Somasegar's blog - Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 Now Available


I’m excited to announce that today we’ve shipped Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 (VS2012.2) and that it’s now available for download.  Just as with VS2012.1 (which is installed as part of VS2012.2 for those of you who don’t already have VS2012.1 installed), this release contains important fixes as well as a wealth of new functionality, addressing feedback we’ve received from the community and aligning with key software development trends in the market.  The new functionality primarily spans (though is not limited to) five areas of investment: agile planning, quality enablement, Windows Store development, line-of-business development, and the general developer experience.

Agile planning.

Quality Enablement.

Windows Store development.

Line-of-business development.

Development experience.


Brian Harry's blog - VS/TFS 2012.2 (Update 2) released today


Many of the features have been aired before in our CTP posts.  But there are a couple of things about the TFS update that I want to highlight.

TFS 2010 Build controller/agent compat – We’ve received feedback that simultaneously updating all TFS build machines along with the TFS server is not practical – particularly in large organization where there can be hundreds of build machines, many of which aren’t even known to the TFS administrators.  Because of this, in update 2, we have added support for TFS 2010 build controllers and agents – so you can update your TFS 2010 server without updating your build infrastructure and your builds will just keep working.  In general, we expect to continue this pattern from here forward – a new TFS server will support build machines from one major version back.  This adds the additional benefit this version that you can use the TFS 2010 build servers on Windows XP (in the event you need to do that) while the TFS 2012 build machines don’t support XP.  Based on the feedback we’ve gotten from our MVPs, this change is very popular and makes people’s lives much easier.

Preservation of TFS settings across updates – You may recall that when you applied TFS Update 1, you had to reconfigure many of the settings manually.  In Update 2, we put a great deal of effort into preserving settings across the upgrade.  While we didn’t get every one, we got the most common customizations and we plan to get most of the rest in Update 3.  In all the upgrade should be more seamless this time.

Upgrading TFS using SQL Always On – We added support to automatically handle upgrading TFS installs using the SQL Always On high availability configuration.  In Update 1, this was a manual process.

So I guess, what I’m trying to say is that, in addition to the long list of new features you’ll find in the blog post above (like new Agile project management capabilities, tons of testing tools improvements, Blend & Sketchflow support and more), we’ve worked really hard to make the upgrade as easy and seamless for you as we can.  Of course, if you hit any bumps, please let us know because we’ll want to fix them.


comment on Update 3…

We’ve already begun working on Update 3.  I’d like to set your expectations a bit on it now.  Update 1 & 2 were both fairly substantial updates with a fair number of new features.  My expectation is that Update 3 will be VERY modest.  In all likelihood, we will primarily focus on bug fixes, upgrade issues and small refinements to the experience.  At this point we are pretty consumed in working on our next major update to TFS and, as such, can’t manage to do 2 separate & significant things at the same time.


This is a release I've been waiting for as it's supposed to fix a bug I've been running into where a Database Project in a Solution being loaded causes the WPF Designer to error with a Null Reference error for some third party components (bug report, WPF Designer NullReferenceException). Took me forever to isolate this... Who would have thought that a Database Project just being loaded would cause an issue with the WPF Designer? I was sure my system was hosed or I was doing something stupid... sigh.

Anyway... This is also a huge release in the number of pretty cool features included, both in VS and TFS. Love to see the LOB get some love... :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Expression death march continues... Expression Gallery is now locked and going to be killed on March 7th

Just got this email...

A note about the Expression Gallery

You are receiving this note because you are shown as an owner of one or more projects in the Expression Gallery.  As noted on the Expression Gallery home page, on February 14th, 2013 the Expression Gallery was locked, and new contributions will no longer be accepted. On March 7th, 2013, the Expression Gallery will be shut down. The MSDN and Visual Studio galleries are available for posting future items.

At your earliest convenience, please retrieve any project files that you wish to retain from the Expression Gallery, as they will no longer be accessible after March 7th; you are welcome to resubmit them to the Visual Studio or MSDN galleries

Thanks for your attention.

Here's a snap of the Gallery (for future reference...)


Kind of makes me sad seeing this. It's a shame all that community work is being nuked. Would have been kind of nice to have this auto-magically migrated to one of the two Galleries that are still around. 


Related Past Post XRef:
So long and thanks for the all the Expression... Expression Design & Web are End of Life'd (but now free) [oh, and the rest of the Expression Suite is dead too]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

VS2012.2 CTP Released ("Blue is back, baby...")

Brian Harry's blog - Announcing Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 (VS2012.2)

Today we released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 (VS2012.2).  It’s exciting to see the next update of VS working it’s way to completion.  There’s going to be a ton of cool new capabilities in Update 2.  Not all of them are available in this CTP but many are.  Below, I’ve described the significant improvement’s that you’ll find in this CTP and I’ve grouped them into 4 categories:

  1. Agile Planning
  2. Quality Enablement
  3. Line of Business Development
  4. Developer Experience

This CTP is NOT a “go-live” CTP.  It is for evaluation only.  We’re trying to learn from Update 1 and get feedback earlier in the cycle.  We will be having “go-live” pre-releases of Update 2 in order to facilitate that but not quite yet.

You can download the CTP here:


There's a good deal of goodness in this release, from features moving down the SKU stack...

Fakes & stubs in Premium – We have decided to include Fakes & Stubs in VS Premium (in addition to Ultimate) to allow unit tests to be more easily shared across the whole team.

Unit Testing love;

Some test process customization – Customize the list of possible test resolution and failure types.

Group unit tests by class – Another way to easily categorize/organize tests.

Playlists – Easily create arbitrary groups of unit tests, save them and run them.

Including Blend for VS;

Blend for VS 2012 – We’ve added back Blend for VS 2012, including support for WPF, Silverlight and Sketchflow.

To baking in the blue theme;

Visual Studio Blue Theme – We’ve incorporated the popular the VS “Blue” theme that we released on VSGallery into Update 2.


Lots for everyone in this release. But please note this is NOT a Go-Live release!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dev courseware for professors and instructors (and you) free from Microsoft

Go DevMENTAL - Free courseware for professors and instructors from Microsoft

Did you know Microsoft provides free courseware for professors and instructors?

The Faculty Connection is a website that provides free courseware and resources for instructors of all levels.




Anyone can browse the content on the faculty connection website, but to download the content you must register and provide proof that you are an instructor, teacher, or professor. You can also reach out to your local technical evangelist to get a promotion code to simplify registration"

I've blogged about all of these at one point or another I think, but I thought it nice seeing them all in one place...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So long and thanks for the all the Expression... Expression Design & Web are End of Life'd (but now free) [oh, and the rest of the Expression Suite is dead too]

arstechnica - Microsoft killing off Expression suite of Web and design tools

"Microsoft has quietly announced that its Expression suite of Web and design-oriented tools is being killed off and phased out.

Vector graphics drawing tool Expression Design 4 has been end-of-lifed. No new versions will be developed, and it's no longer for sale. You can now download it for free, and it'll continue to receive security patches as necessary until at least 2015. Microsoft is offering no replacement or alternative to users of the product.


Microsoft Expression Changes


  • Blend will be fully integrated with Visual Studio 2012. Blend for Visual Studio 2012 provides a rich design-centric environment for building Windows Store apps and Windows Phone apps. In addition, WPF, Silverlight and SketchFlow support is available today as a preview and will be released in Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Expression Studio 4 Web Professional are no longer available for sale. For customers who previously purchased these products, all components within Ultimate and Web Professional will be supported through their support lifecycle.
  • Expression Design 4 and Expression Web 4 are now available for download at no charge. Technical support will not be available for these free versions.  
  • Expression Encoder 4 Pro will be available for purchase through 2013. Expression Encoder 4 remains available for download at no charge.


Microsoft Downloads - Microsoft Expression Web 4 (Free Version)

Expression Web is a full-featured professional tool for designing, developing, and publishing compelling, feature-rich websites that conform to web standards.

Version: 4.0.1460.0
Date published: 12/20/2012

Language: English

Web_Trial_en.exe, 98.7 MB

Web standards, sophisticated CSS design capabilities, and visual diagnostic tools. Whether you work with PHP, HTML/XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, ASP.NET or ASP.NET AJAX, Expression Web makes it faster and easier to create and maintain exceptional web sites.

Please note: This free version of Expression Web is not eligible for Microsoft technical support and is community support. For more information, visit the Expression Community site.
For additional language downloads for Expression Web, please select one of the following:


Microsoft Downloads - Microsoft Expression Design 4 (Free Version)

Expression Design is a tool for creative professionals and developers who want to build graphics for application user interfaces, the web, or any other medium.

Version: 8.0.31217.1
Date published: 12/20/2012

Language: English

Design_Trial_en.exe, 47.0 MB

Please note: Uninstall any preview or trial versions of Expression Design before installing this free version. If you have already purchased a full version of Expression Design 4, you do not need to install this free version.

The convenience and ease of editing vector graphics in Expression Design can be a cornerstone of your Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Microsoft Silverlight, and web images. Whether you're a veteran professional illustrator, a designer building a dazzling website, or a budding artist eagerly experimenting with various styles and techniques, you will find Expression Design an indispensable tool for your creative tasks.

Please note: This free version of Expression Design is not eligible for Microsoft technical support and is community support. For more information, visit the Expression Community site.
For additional language downloads for Expression Design, please select one of the following:


So long Expression, it was an interesting time. Now I wonder if this means Microsoft is better positioned to by Adobe? hum...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shedding some light into the dark... A video tutorial series on building Windows 8 App's with Expression Blend

Silverlight Show - Windows 8 Development + Blendability


Expression Blend is a “black unknown tool” for many XAML developers. Many geeks (including myself) tended to say things like “Hey ! I’m happy just coding XAML”, “This is for graphic designers”, “It doesn’t generate clean code”.

In this video article we are going to try to demystify this tool for developers, we will learn some basic features that will show us how we can boost our productivity. As a vehicle to explain the concepts and techniques here exposed we are going to write from scratch the following dummy puzzle app:

Takeaways from this article:

  • How to create your UI using Expression Blend without having to manually code a single line of XAML.
  • How to assign data binding via properties tab (no more typo-bug when adding a binding).
  • How to display sample data to allow you fine tune your layout without having to run the app to check the visual aspect.
  • How to drop controls and customize them (ListView + GridView).
  • How to visually create and customize controls templates.
  • How to assign Converters via properties.



This is a series I need to watch. I've fired up Blend a few times and, well... that's about it. I've been doing allot of WPF dev in the past couple months and doing it badly (well shipping is a feature, right?). Now it's time that I start looking at doing it little better and using the righter tools for the job. Enter Expression Blend...

Friday, August 31, 2012

The XAML Project, the One Stop Free XAML Clip Art Shop?

The XAML Project




100's of free vector design resources
Quality controlled
Compatible with Silverlight, Metro, WP7 & WPF
Fully customizable

Copy & paste directly into Expression Blend
Download directly to desktop as PNG
Streamlined XAML for perfect integration
Fully editable within Blend

Spend more time bringing your idea to life
Create apps that look as good as they feel
Explore more possibilities
Contribute to the next generation of
UI developers

XAML Clip Art organic to the site or from a number of other collections, like the Noun Project


I like how you can do some quick and dirty transforms, such as sizing and rotations, and then include them, or not, in the XAML download.


(via Dan Rigby - Windows 8 Developer Links – 2012-08-31)


Related Past Post XRef:
How to make dirt [clipart]
Open Clip Art Library v2.9 (Think "40K open, as in freely used, vector based clip art images")
The Noun Project, XAML’ified… or The Noun Project converted for you to XAML and PNG’s
“The Noun Project” + SVG + Free + Metro like look and feel + 500 = Happy Windows Phone 7 Developers
Looking for XAML Clip Art? Then make sure you look for SVG files as well...
Open Clip Art Library

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

For the Win[JS] - Blend for Visual Studio 2012 now available (and Blend for WPF/SilverLight & SketchFlow Preview too)

Blendinsider - Available Now: Blend for Visual Studio 2012

Today, I have the great pleasure to announce the latest release of Blend. In this release cycle, our big focus has been Windows 8: Blend now supports UX authoring not just for store apps written in XAML, but also for those written in HTML.

We want to make it really easy for you to create great apps for Windows 8. Therefore, we are now including Blend with Visual Studio 2012, including the free Express for Windows 8 version for authoring Win 8 store apps. With one fast download and install you get VS for your coding-centric tasks and Blend for visual authoring.

Visual Studio 2012 and Blend can be downloaded from MSDN today if you’re an MSDN Subscriber. You can also download the free Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8, which includes Blend, or free trial versions of Visual Studio 2012 with Blend today.


Completely new in Blend is visual authoring for HTML and CSS, especially for Windows 8 store apps.

Blend is a unique, innovative and exciting authoring tool with rich visual tools. It gives you great tools to create, edit and diagnose CSS, supporting some of the latest CSS standards, including CSS Grid, Gradients, Transitions, and media queries. Blend creates clean and standard-conformant markup.

It also is designed to handle app UX that makes heavy use of JavaScript to dynamically create and manipulate DOM elements. Blend constantly runs your code on the design surface, so that content generated by JavaScript can be displayed and edited accurately. Using Interactive Mode you can even interact with the app on the design surface and bring it into states that are not reachable via markup at all.

In summary, Blend for HTML makes visual authoring of HTML, CSS and WinJS productive, fast, and fun again.


Announcing Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012

"We are making available a preview version of Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012. This release includes support for WPF version 3.5/4.0/4.5, Silverlight 4.0/5.0, SketchFlow, and Blend tools for Windows 8. This preview release will run on Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, and Windows 8 Server.

WPF, Silverlight, and SketchFlow applications can be developed on any of the operating systems listed above. Windows Store apps authored in HTML and XAML require the Windows 8 client operating system. This preview also includes Blend SDKs for WPF 3.5/4.0/4.5 and Silverlight 4.0/5.0 platforms.

This is a preview version for evaluation only and none of the platforms contain a go-live license. You should use other released versions of Blend for production work. The table below lists the Blend Platforms and the version of Blend you should use for production applications.


Good to see SketchFlow get some love (and that Blend hasn't dropped WPF/SilverLight support...)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Helping the effect you have in Expression by getting additional Effects...

2,000 Things You Should Know About WPF - #563 – Additional Effects in Expression SDK

In addition to the two effects that come with the .NET Framework, you can get access to a number of other effects when you download and install the Expression Blend SDK for .NET 4.

Once you install the SDK, you’ll see the new effects show up in the Effects folder of the Assets panel.

The effects include:

  • Bloom – Make bright areas appear brighter
  • Color Tone – Render a visual using shades of two colors
  • Emboss – Make visual appear raised or stamped
  • Magnify – Magnify a circular area
  • Monochrome – Render using shades of a single color
  • Pixelate – Reduce resolution, rendering as large pixels
  • Ripple – Apply visual that looks like rippling liquid
  • Sharpen – Sharpen image edges
  • Swirl – Apply effect that twists entire image



You guys know I've mentioned Sean's  2,000 Things You Should Know About WPF series last year, A Feed You Should Read #34 - 2,000 Things You Should Know About WPF, and true to his word he's still blogging about a WPF related thing almost every day.

Today's caught my eye in that I love getting more stuff free and I wouldn't have expected to get more Effects in Expression this way (though in hindsight it makes perfect sense). Plus I really appreciate that he took the time to provide an example of all the added Effects. That was a nice touch...


Related Past Post XRef:
A Feed You Should Read #34 - 2,000 Things You Should Know About WPF

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do you YouTube with Expression Encoder? Here's something that will help make that even easier...

Expression - Gallery - Expression Encoder Publisher for YouTube

This plugin provides the user the ability to upload videos to YouTube from within Expression Encoder 4.


This prompted me to check out what else is there in the Express Gallery... There's a good bit of cool looking stuff there.


(via Secret Microsoft Communications - Check out this plug-in for Expression Encoder)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adding an ApplicationBar to your WinPhone 7.1(5) app - A side by side comparison of doing it with Visual Studio vs Expression Blend

DZone Windows Phone 7 Microzone - Visual Studio vs. Expression Blend - Adding an ApplicationBar

"Many applications have an AppBar. The ApplicationBar on Windows Phone is the equivalent of a menu bar and / or toolbar for desktop applications. It can include IconButtons and MenuItems.

The namespace Microsoft.Phone.Shell defines the AppBar.

I’ll get started right away with a new project in Visual Studio.

All I want to do is add an AppBar with four icon buttons and seven menu items. There are a few steps that I need to take:


With Expression Blend I don’t have to do all this, because of the better UX (User eXperience) when creating an ApplicationBar.

In the ‘Object and Timeline’ panel right-click the ‘PhoneApplicationPage’ and click “Add ApplicationBar”.



I liked how this article compared doing a pretty common thing in WP7 app dev side-by-side in Visual Studio and Expression Blend.

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Microsoft Expression Design September 2011 Preview" adds EPS Import and SVG out...

Microsoft Downloads - Expression Design September 2011 Preview

"Microsoft Expression Design September 2011 Preview provides new features, bug fixes, and stability enhancements for Expression Design 4.

Version: 8.0.20925.0
Date Published: 9/27/2011

Language: English

File Name: Design_Trial_en.exe, 47.0 MB

Microsoft Expression Design September 2011 Preview includes four new features that further expand and refine your workflow:

  • Import EPS files
  • Make multiple selection in the Layers palette
  • Retain the adjusted position of an object’s registration point.
  • Export documents to the SVG format
For more information about new features, including information about how to export documents to the SVG format, see What's new in Expression Design September 2011 Preview.


What's new in Expression Design September 2011 Preview

"Expression Design September 2011 Preview includes four new features that further expand and refine your workflow:

  • Import EPS files
  • Make multiple selection in the Layers palette
  • Retain the adjusted position of an object’s registration point.
  • Export documents to the SVG format

Import Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) files

Expression Design Preview adds support for importing EPS files. To import EPS files, on the File menu, click Import Encapsulated Postscript File.

Make multiple selections in the Layers palette

Expression Design Preview adds the ability to quickly select a range of layers in the Layers palette, as well as a range of groups and objects, ...

Retain the adjusted registration point

The registration point is the point where an object is anchored on the document. The registration point becomes visible when you select an object and, by default, it is located at the center of the object, represented by a diamond shape. When you rotate an object, the object rotates around the registration point.


Export SVG

Expression Design Preview adds the ability to export a document in SVG format. Exporting in SVG enables you to integrate vector artwork content into HTML applications that you design using such programs as Expression Blend.


Yeah EPS in! Yeah SVG out! Yeah!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I thought I knew you WP7 TextBlock and Button... But maybe not well enough... Let's review...

BuildMobile - Windows Phone Controls

"The combination of Visual Studio and Expression Blend makes designing and developing Windows Phone applications relatively simple. However, it also makes it easy to use the standard controls without understanding their full capabilities. In this post we’re going to look at a few of the Windows Phone controls that ship with the SDK in more detail.



What I liked about this was how two basic WP7 App Dev components, TextBlock and Button components. Yeah, those basic of basic components, yet maybe there's still something about them we can learn...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Using Expression Encoder to capture video of your app running in the Windows Phone 7 Emulator for uploading to YouTube

Escape Development - Using Microsoft Expression Encoder to put Windows Phone videos on YouTube

"This post will show you how to use the free version of Microsoft Expression Encoder to upload a video of the windows phone emulator to YouTube.


A simple to follow guide to taking the perfect video of your Windows Phone 7 app, running in the emulator, in action for uploading to YouTube (and/or other video services)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Will the real Windows Phone 7 SketchFlow Template please stand up...

Microsoft User Experience Blog - SketchFlow for Windows Phone–The real one

"It almost feels like the end of an era Winking smile A while ago I posted an article on my own implementation of a project type to enable the use of SketchFlow for Windows Phone apps. I also send a link to this to my friends at the Expression team, who reacted “Wow! This is great. Now look at the specs we started on 10 days ago…”. Yep, they came up with the same idea. But of course they can do better than my attempt and the result is there now. Go to you can download the new template.

To use this template you need a SketchFlow enabled version of Expression Blend (included in Expression Studio Ultimate and Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate). You also need the Mango developer tools for Windows Phone (a more simple set of the downloads can be found here, where you only need the vm_web2.exe, the Web Platform Installer).

Once installed, fire up Blend and you’ll have the option to start a Windows Phone SketchFlow Application project:


CodePlex - SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone

The SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone 7 adds a new SketchFlow template for Expression Blend* users that makes creating a prototype of a Windows Phone app quick and easy.

* Please note: To use the SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone 7 you need to be using Blend 4 with SketchFlow enabled (this is the version of Blend that comes with both Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate) you also need to have the Mango developer tools for Windows Phone installed.


Both I've blogged about are "real" but I guess the one coming from the Expression team "real'er"  :P


Related Past Post XRef:
Sketching out an WP7 user interface and interaction with SketchFlow

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sketching out an WP7 user interface and interaction with SketchFlow

UXMagic - Sketchflow for Windows Phone 7

"Need a good reason to go download the Microsoft Expression Blend for Silverlight 5 preview version ? I have one great reason.. Sketchflow for Windows Phone 7...


Now you can do all of your wire framing and prototyping of your Window Phone application with the power of Sketchflow today.. This makes user interface design and prototyping much easier and more productive.


Download The following:

Download The following:

  • Expression Blend Preview for Silverlight 5

  • Windows Phone Developer Tools (you are developing for WP7 right ?)

  • Sketchflow project tools (Thanks to Martin Tirion over that the Microsoft User Experience Blog for these)

After you have installed Blend and Windows phone developer tools you will have to unzip the Sketchflow projects and place them in the appropriate folder (as shown below) before running.

... [GD: Click through for the download links]

Microsoft User Experience Blog - SketchFlow for Windows Phone – How to add a panorama view

"In an earlier post I published the project template for Blend to enable a way to create a SketchFlow prototype for a Windows Phone application. This post adds information on how to go from there.
This post: how to add an a panorama view.

NOTE: an update was made to the project template ZIP-file. You will need that update to follow the rest of this post. You can download it from here. For installation instructions, see the first post.
In this update the background of LayoutRoot of the PhoneUI component was set to transparent.

Once you have created a project based on the template, create a new screen or select an existing screen like App Settings Screen. In this tutorial I’ll be using the App Settings Screen. For a detailed description how to create your own screen, take a look at the first post.






SketchFlow is great because it quickly gives you, and your users, something to play with that doesn't appear TOO real (i.e. avoids the  "Wow, this working prototype looks great! So since this looks 'done' we can have the actual app tomorrow...?" prototype game). The sketch look allows you and your users to get a feel for the app, without investing allot of time in development, but also without wasting that time either.

And now we've got SketchFlow goodness for WP7... That's cool...  :)