Thanks to Jan Tielens blog i came across a very important Q&A from Microsoft: “Microsoft unveils next generation of web authoring and design tools”. In this Q&A we are introduced to the new tools for web authoring (Sharepoint Designer 2007) and design (Expression Web Designer).
“REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 15, 2006 – As the Internet becomes an increasingly valuable environment for individuals and organizations to share information, collaborate and carry out tasks, the people tasked with building Web sites to support these activities need increasingly powerful and versatile tools to accomplish their goals.
Having adopted technologies such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 to help create, manage and build collaborative Web sites, many organizations are discovering that their current Web-authoring tools lack support for the latest standards and capabilities that SharePoint products and technologies makes possible – such as ready access to data coming from multiple outside sources and the capacity to build no-code, powerful applications and automated workflows. Professional Web site designers also are feeling the pressure to deliver more dynamic and interactive user experiences, and to create sites more rapidly and cost-efficiently.
In response to these diverse demands, Microsoft is introducing a new tool, Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, for building SharePoint applications and designing SharePoint sites. This new product – part of the full 2007 Microsoft Office lineup announced today – will join Microsoft Expression Web Designer, the next-generation tool for designing dynamic, standard-based Web sites, to deliver a complete set of tools for Web design and development. Both products are currently in initial beta testing. Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer is scheduled for release in the second half of this year at a suggested retail price of US$299 through retail and Microsoft Volume Licensing channels. Pricing and availability details for Microsoft Expression Web Designer will be announced in the near future.”
About Sharepoint Designer 2007:
“SharePoint Designer 2007 is specifically designed to help people create and customize Web sites and workflows built with SharePoint Products and Technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. It provides all the tools that IT professionals and solution creators need to develop SharePoint-based applications and workflow solutions that enhance organizational agility and business process automation. Coupled with the other SharePoint-enabled applications in the 2007 release of the Microsoft Office System, SharePoint Designer 2007 will help make it easier than ever for individuals and teams to collaborate effectively.
With SharePoint Designer 2007, users can design SharePoint workflows and applications without having to use traditional procedural coding languages or techniques. Instead, SharePoint Designer 2007 provides easy-to-use tools that can enable Web design professionals to build conditional views and forms with validation as well as the capability to read, write and present data from a variety of data sources – such as eXxtensible Markup Language (XML) files, SQL databases such as Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and Web services. SharePoint Designer 2007 also enables them to compile data from multiple sources to create flexible, customized views and reports, and build Web part pages and connect Web parts to create sophisticated business applications.
In addition, SharePoint Designer 2007 makes it easy to create and modify rules-based workflow applications using drop-down lists and checkboxes. The software also provides an intuitive environment for quickly creating and customizing SharePoint sites and applications using the power of ASP.NET, the eXxtensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), and industry-standard cascading style sheets (CSS). Plus, Microsoft IntelliSense technologies help eliminate errors when working with CSS, ASP.NET and XHTML tags.
Lastly, it allows site administrators and IT managers to control exactly how information workers interact with the SharePoint site and applications, ensuring that they do so in a way that complies with IT policies and procedures. This includes defining what kinds of content they can add, change, or delete; where they can make such changes; whether they can make changes to master pages and CSS; whether they can access the code view; and more.”
About Expression Web Designer:
“Microsoft Expression Web Designer provides a professional tool for producing high-quality, standard-based Web sites in precisely the ways that designers today want to work. It enables the user to dynamically design, develop, and maintain exceptional standards-based Web sites.
The software features a flexible workspace that provides easy access to professional Web designers’ most heavily used task panes, toolbars and controls. Expression Web Designer is designed to give users precise control over style editing and design commands, such as direct manipulation of positioning, sizing and padding within CSS page layouts. Designers can readily incorporate standard XML data to make their Web pages more usable and expressive. They gain full support for ASP.NET 2.0, no-code data binding, Master Pages, and an array of server and user controls in a single tool for integrating dynamic applications into their Web sites. Built-in compatibility and accessibility checkers also help ensure that a site created in Expression Web Designer will render properly in any browser.
With the product’s deep support for ASP.NET, which is Microsoft’s platform for building Web applications, site designers can create highly sophisticated and interactive sites that typically have required the server coding expertise of a Web developer. In addition, this ASP.NET support makes it much easier for developers and design professionals to work side by side on these types of projects, where the developer is working in Visual Studio and the designer is working in Expression Web Designer.”