Microsoft Expression 4 tools, minus WP7 support, start shipping

On June 7, Microsoft has began rolling out its Expression Studio 4 suite to existing Expression customers, its volume licensees and MSDN/TechNet subscribers. Other customers interested in the design-tool suite will be able to get the latest suite over the next couple of weeks, the Softies said.

On June 7, Microsoft has began rolling out its Expression Studio 4 suite to existing Expression customers, its volume licensees and MSDN/TechNet subscribers. Other customers interested in the design-tool suite will be able to get the latest suite over the next couple of weeks, the Softies said.

The new tool suite curently does not support Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft is in the midst of evanglizing to developers. That support will be added to a future release of Expression, officials said, declining to provide a delivery timetable. Microsoft has been touting Expression Studio, alongside Silverlight and XNA, as its primary development tools/platforms for Windows Phone 7, the first new versions of which are due to ship this holiday season.

Update: My mistake. Microsoft is providing a timeline for when it will add Windows Phone 7 support to Expression Studio 4. Here's a statement from a spokesperson:

"We will ship a service pack for Expression Studio 4 within the next few weeks that will include Windows Phone 7 support. Developers can now get a beta of the design tools targeted at development for Windows Phone 7, which include a free version of Expression Blend as part of the Windows Phone 7 SDK. The final version of the Windows Phone 7 SDK will be made available to developers well before the general availability of Windows Phone 7 devices in market, to ensure adequate time for development."

So what is in the version 4 release? The Blend tool gets Silverlight 4, .Net Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 support. It also gets enhanced Adobe Photoshop import. In Expression 4 Web, Microsoft is adding SEO reporting from inside the application, as well as the ability to create add-ins with HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Microsoft is making Expression Studio 4 available in three main versions, going forward:

  • Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Ultimate: For professional Web designers and organizations. IncludesExpression  Blend with SketchFlow, Expression Web with SuperPreview, Expression Encoder Pro and Expression Design.
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Premium: Includes Expression Blend, Expression Web with SuperPreview, Expression Encoder and Expression Design.
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional: For Web design professionals. Expression Web with SuperPreview, Expression Encoder and Expression Design.

Microsoft is making Expression Studio 4 available for free for existing Expression Studio 3 or Expression Web 3 customers who want the comparable new versions.