Expression Studio 4 Launch of Blend, SketchFlow, Encoder and More! | John Papa

John Papa

Evangelist on the loose

Expression Studio 4 Launch of Blend, SketchFlow, Encoder and More!


Today, Expression Studio 4 (which includes Expression Blend, SketchFlow, Expression Web, Expression Design, Expression Encoder) launched at the Internet Week conference in New York City! There are a ton of new features in these products, some of which we have shown off already in some episodes of Silverlight TV a

You can visit to find out more about Expression and you can download a trial. Owners of v3 Expression Studio or Expression Web can upgrade at no additional cost to their corresponding v4 counterparts: Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Expression Studio 4 Web Professional.

Important: If you are developing in Silverlight for Windows Phone 7, do not install the released version of Expression Studio 4. You must continue to use the Blend 4 Beta and Add-in Preview for Windows Phone. This Beta will be refreshed with each Phone SDK pre-release and will be unified with released Blend 4 in a service pack which will release when the Windows Phone SDK releases.

New OnRamp Training Material!

There is a brand new 5 day OnRamp training course to help you design and develop with Expression!


Tell Me More About What is New!

Keep an eye out on Adam Kinney’s blog for some great information on the Expression Studio 4 release. Adam is our Expression Evangelist and has been very busy with some incredible content for this release. I’ll also be blogging about how to use Blend 4 and its new features to create some great SketchFlow projects in the coming weeks. You should also check out the following links for some current content and some coming in the near future:

Silverlight TV Resources

In this 2 episodes we demonstrate how to use Expression Blend to create a PathListBox and this video where we show the new behaviors, how to use them, and how to create a custom behavior in Expression Blend 4.

Exploring the PathListBox (SL TV #25) Using Behaviors in Blend 4 (SL TV #30)
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We’ll also be airing a video on later this week (Thursday June 10th) on Fluid UI and transitions with Kenny Young.

Expression Blend 4

Expression Blend has come a long and is now part of my daily tools I use along with Visual Studio 2010. I’ve been using Blend on a daily basis as a developer since version 2 on both WPF and Silverlight projects and it is absolutely indispensable for much of my work.

I’ve used Blend to help create many applications prior coming to Microsoft. More recently, the ebay Simple Lister application relied heavily on Blend to create its views, transitions, and interactive nature and the views for the Sticky plugin I created for Seesmic Desktop 2 only took a day due to Blend.

SketchFlow is one of my favorite parts of Blend. It has helped me create interactive mockups, communicate with customers, and gather feedback at an entirely new level. SketchFlow has been more than just a mockup tool, it has helped speed up the process of creating applications like the ebay Simple Lister by making the iterative collaboration between the developer and the customer richer.

Here are just some of the new features of Blend 4:

  • SketchFlow includes new mockup controls and “Sketchables
  • VS2010 compatibility
  • Windows Phone support
  • Deeper Adobe Photoshop import (layer effects)
  • New behaviors & conditional behaviors
  • Enhanced sample data support
  • Listbox path layout for designing with data
  • Pixel Shader effects (including animations)
  • Easier styling and customization
  • Model View View-Model support

Expression Encoder 4

I have become a great fan of Encoder. it makes adding visual overlays and creating multiple formats of Silverlight TV shows simple for me.

Here are just some of the new features of Encoder 4:

  • Live Smooth Streaming (VC-1 and H.264)
  • New H.264 encoder from MainConcept
  • DRM (PlayReady) for live content
  • Enhanced Screen Capture
tags: Silverlight
  • Anonymous

    How can Mockups be used in an existing Silverlight SketchFlow project?
    I have a complete prototype, and would be a lot of work if a full new Mockup Project will have to be recreated.

  • Anonymous

    No SketchFlow for Expression Studio 4 Premium? What a bumper for Microsoft Partners!!

  • Anonymous

    Why does Expression Professional Subscription not include upgrades and new releases of Expression Studio.
    Good question hey. I bought my subscription 5 days ago thinking I would get what i purchased but no Expression upgrades or new releases for me, what a waste of money.
    I think I am not the only long term user of this software that feels disgruntled. Sorry john just had to tell someone.

  • Anonymous

    SketchFlow NOT included in Studio 4? WTF! I repeat…. WT…Freaking…. F! This is totally unacceptable. My development team purchased VS 2010 Premium w/ MSDN with the impression by Adam Kinney, Scott Guthrie, etc. that this would be included in the Premium package or some sort of free upgrade. I understand this is a Marketing thing, but come on! I believe, at very least, this should have been explained in detail before this release. John Papa… as a rep to give feedback to the team… Please please and please…. tell powers-at-be to fix this problem. Sorry for the rant. Besides this issue, I believe it is a very good product:) Thanks

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    Well, I am also not happy that SketchFlow is only for the chosen ones :-) It is very nice product. Actually, kind of foundation for web development so they could really support any MSDN subscribers.. :-(

  • Anonymous

    can you help me please,
    I watch the video of module 2 on Channel 9 RIAServices in my application I can add and edit entities in my database but I can not find how to delete an entity.
    example how to delete the selected row of the DataGrid.
    thank you in advance.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for submitting this cool story – Trackback from DotNetShoutout

  • Anonymous

    Add me to the disgruntled MDSN Premium subscriber list. MSFT, using drug dealer tactics, whetted our appetite for it by including it last year and now want us to fork over another $600 to buy a separate copy of Expression Ultimate if we want to keep using it.

  • Anonymous

    Yet another voice against the ridiculous move to leave Sketchflow out of Blend 4 Premium. After all the hype and pushing of it in Blend 3, you (MSFT, not John ) get people using it via their MSDN Premium accounts, and then take it away? Good luck with the adoption rate on that move. It was an interesting feature that had a chance to catch on… but isn’t so compelling that teams will go re-license it at retail.
    It strikes me as the type of feature that single dev/designer could use in their client work, really evangelizing the prototyping approach. But to only include it at the Ultimate level, aimed at large enterprise shops is a poor decision.

  • JohnPapa

    Everyone – Thanks for the comments on the SKUs and SketchFlow, this is great feedback. I’ve passed this along to the Expression teams.

  • Anonymous

    Here is yet another voice that the decision to remove Sketchflow out of Premium just plain sucks. I was also under the impression that we would get it.

  • Anonymous

    I have Blend 4 ultimate whith sketchflow an mockup but whitout "sketchables" !! where is the prob ?

  • Anonymous

    I cannot understand – I’m a SharePoint Designer and I’ve seen the feature of integration of SketchFlow projects with SharePoint. Very great ! But Premium doesn’t include SketchFlow.. ok, why not try another tool ?

  • Anonymous

    Yet another premium subscriber, that was stunned to find out that sketchflow isn’t in Expression Premium. This is simply not fair, why do they suddenly introduce 2 Expression Studio versions!

  • Anonymous

    Just discovered today there’s a legal snafu with Encoder 4.
    For now we can’t import MP4.
    Will require the Pro version, and there’s a few twists to that also. Gosh

  • Anonymous

    Another Premium subscriber angry at the loss of Sketchflow. WTF? Seriously, WTF?

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    I am compelled to respond (despite a very vocal set of protestations above) and express my disappointment and dismay that SketchFlow was removed from the new “Premium” SKU.
    I want to be perfectly clear about this. The value to Microsoft of ensuring that more developers and designers have access to the broadest range of tools is to ensure that Silverlight continues to gain market-share and mind-share in what is an extremely fierce competitive landscape across PC, phone and digital entertainment devices. Surely, that is the end-goal that we (Microsoft, Partners & customers) should be striving towards rather than slicing and dicing a great product suite to satisfy some internal requirements.
    I think this is nowhere more true than in the area of RIAs. Without SketchFlow it is going to be difficult to convince our customers to undertake or at the very least consider how a RIA could be different from a traditional web app. As a result, I am convinced this will stifle the uptake of Silverlight and serves none of us.

  • Anonymous

    Uhm, where is Sketchflow? I can’t seem to find it on our MSDN installation of Expression Studio 4. I know it was in version 3, but I can’t seem to find the links-were these only in the alpha/beta/RTM versions and in the versions I see all of the evangelists using, by chance, or am I missing something? If this sort of "ommision" thing is the future for Microsoft products, I’ll consider instead doing my prototyping using Adobe Flash and/or this new "HTML 5" thing I hear Apple talking about instead of in Silverlight.

  • Anonymous

    "Jon" – Unless you have MSDN Ultimate, you no longer have Sketchflow. You had it with Expression 3, but with Expression 4 the thousands you’ve spent on MSDN Premium isn’t enough. Microsoft’s Developer Division wants you to spend hundreds more on an Expression "Ultimate" license or (even better) thousands more on an MSDN Ultimate subscription. As Simon (above you said), Microsoft likely dealt Silverlight adoption among developers a blow with this move… Sketchflow had the potential to be a game-changer for getting Flash/desktop developers to move into Silverlight. Surprisingly, the move shafts MVPs (who get a Premium subscription and are the most likely evangelists for a new tool like this) and Certified Partners (who must also pay a separate upgrade fee).

  • Anonymous

    Add my team to the list of unhappy developers. We don’t get Sketchflow with our MSDN Subscription as a Microsoft Certified Partner. We pay a lot of money to develop Microsoft products, which only add more value to the Microsoft platform. Including SketchFlow only with the more expensive and non-included Ultimate Edition is a bad business decision.
    But then again, bad business decisions are typical of Microsoft. They continue to have success only because of their lucky start with IBM and their developers who made the Windows platform valuable.
    Remember that Microsoft. It is your developers who make your platform valuable. Give us the tools, we’ll all benefit.
    But if not, we’ll all focus on iPhone and Android, as mobiles are the PCs of the future. And from the looks of it, you’re losing that race badly. Why? Because of the value-added applications … which are written by DEVELOPERS.
    Enabling developers with great tools was the key to your original success. Don’t blow it as everything is moving to the cloud and mobile devices, and PC OSes become more and more irrelevant.

  • Anonymous

    I have to add my voice to RJ and ohter’s quams. I have just this morning logged on to MSDN to get the released version of Expression 4 and I agree – Microsoft, don’t do this. This is not a good move.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to add my dismay at not being able to gain access to Expression Blend 4 without having to spend yet more money. You have Jessie Liberty blogging "Why Developers Should, Must, Do Care About The New Expression Blend" and then you make the tool inaccessible to a vast number of developers. Why broadly evangelize a tool set and then lock it away in an MSDN Ultimate subscription? If you want Silverlight to be widely adopted, the tools should be free.

  • Anonymous

    I am also incredibly upset that SketchFlow is no longer included in the Premium SKUs available to the vast majority of MSDN subscribers. I feel hoodwinked, having started to develop a proficiency with the tool that is now all but useless to me. Do you really think it is a great idea to extoll the virtues of this awesome product that you obviously took great pains to limit to corporate / enterprise customers who aren’t even the most likely customers of SketchFlow? I think you guys are shooting yourselves in the foot only to limit the quality of experience your "valued" developers can add to your still nascent platforms. Seriously what are you guys thinking?
    Please fix this so we can continue to push adoption of your platform or don’t and see developer buy in plummet like a huge unlicensed rock.

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