Silverlight 3 Released
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by Scott Guthrie
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Expression Studio 3

Today we are also shipping a release candidate (RC) of Expression Blend 3 (including Sketchflow) that enables rich editing of Silverlight 3 applications and projects. 

You can download the Expression Blend 3 + Sketchflow RC here

Expression Blend 3 is a major update and enables dramatically richer tooling support.  Some of its improvements include:

Sketchflow: SketchFlow makes it significantly easier to create prototypes, experiment with dynamic user experiences, and incorporate feedback from customers.  If you haven’t seen or tried it yet - you must.  It really is a game changing new way to create great user centric applications.

Intellisense: Blend 3 includes C#, VB and XAML intellisense support.  You can now write code and event handlers within Blend without having to switch to VS. 

Behaviors: Blend 3 includes behavior support which can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable components that can be directly applied to a control within the design surface.  This enables designers to quickly add functionality and behavior to applications without having to write code.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Import: Blend 3 now has built-in support for importing Photoshop and Illustrator files.  As part of the import process you can view and pick individual Photoshop layers to import, customize and regroup layers, and have Photoshop/Illustrator elements retain their original formats within XAML: including layer positions, editable text and font settings, and vector element conversion to XAML.

Sample Data: Blend 3 adds design-time sample data support which makes it easy to mock up data-connected applications and see what they look like without requiring access to live data.  You can generate sample data or import sample data from an XML file and it is available to controls on the artboard at design-time. You can customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run-time.

TFS: Blend 3 now includes Team Foundation Server (TFS) support – allowing you to use source control and enlist within projects.  Blend shares the same project and solution format as Visual Studio – allowing both VS and Blend to work simultaneously on the same projects and enabling seamless editing between them.

Other Improvements: Additional enhancements including improved animation and easing function support, 3D transform support, visual effects support, and an improved visual state manager designer.

Christian Schormann has a great blog post that describes Expression Blend 3 in more detail. 

The final release of Expression Studio 3 (which includes the Blend + Sketchflow, Web, Encoder and Design products) will ship within the next 30 days.  Expression Studio 3 will be included as part of the MSDN Premium and higher subscriptions (meaning MSDN Premium customers don’t have to pay anything extra to get all of the Expression Studio products).  Expression Studio 3 will also be available for standalone purchase for $599 (with discounts available for upgrades from previous versions of Expression and/or competitive products).


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