What's new in Microsoft Expression Web 4?

Posted by: Minal Agarwal , on 6/12/2010, in Category Expression Web
Views: 108565
Abstract: In this article we will explore the new features available in Expression Web 4.
Microsoft Expression Studio 4 was released on 7th June 2010. Expression Studio 4 is a collection of professional design tools to create standards based websites, rich desktop applications also enabling designers and developers to create dynamic applications. The Expression Studio 4 Ultimate includes:
·         Expression Web + SuperPreview
·         Expression Blend
·         SketchFlow
·         Expression Encoder Pro
·         Expression Design
Expression Studio 4 Web Professional includes three design and development tools for creating standards-based websites, web graphics and streaming video (as quoted by Microsoft). It includes:
·         Expression Web 4 + SuperPreview
·         Expression Encoder
·         Expression Design
So what’s new in Expression Web 4?
Apart from some bug fixes from earlier versions of Expression Web, Expression Web 4 has few new features, which I guess many of you were waiting for. These are some of the prominent features which I have explored since its release.
Microsoft Expression Web 4 SuperPreview
SuperPreview simplifies the process of testing and debugging the layout issues across different browsers and platforms. Use SuperPreview to preview your pages in multiple browsers simultaneously and compare how the page appears in each of them. SuperPreview works directly with the browsers installed on your machine, unlike the other browser comparison services where you have to publish your page and then provide the URL to these sites. Since the rendering is done on remote servers the results delivered are slow and are sometimes are even dropped before they reach you. While SuperPreview available with Expression Web 3 did the same, what is new in Expression Web 4?
It’s the Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview online. SuperPreview online is a beta service that extends the capability of SuperPreview to include support for additional browsers and OS. So now you can preview your pages in Safari without requiring a MAC. Plus Expression Web 4 SP supports IE and Firefox on local client.
To enable the remote browser preview, do either of the following:
1.    Click on SignUp to sign up.
2.    Choose Choose in the toolbar on the top of the SuperPreview window.
NOTE: We will explore Expression Web 4 SuperPreview in detail, in a separate article.
SEO Tools
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is improving your site’s ranking in various prominent search engines like Bing, Google, Yahoo and such other. And thereby attract a volume of quality visitors to your site. Expression Web 4 has tools that help you boost up your site’s search engine ranking.
The Expression Web SEO Checker analyses your site with the techniques similar to those used by search engines. The Expression Web SEO Checker report then reports a list of SEO messages which guide you to help apply the best practices for search engine ranking and improve your site’s ranking.
The SEO Panel looks like this:
We will take a look at this panel in detail in another article.
Creating Add-ins
Most of us know that ‘add-ins’ are additional programs that extend the functionalities of Expression Web. Now with Expression Web 4, developers can create Add-ins for Expression Web by using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. The version also simplifies integration of your add-ins into Expression Web’s panel and menus using XML. ‘Add-in Builder’ helps you create add-ins in an easy way. Learn more about how to create Add-ins using the Add-in Builder in this article by Anna Ullrich – Easily Create an Add-In for Expression Web 4 with the Add-In Builder.
Professional Design Surface
The Interface of Expression Web 4 is similar to what we had in Expression Web 3, except for some changes in the menu options. Anyhow you will be able to create professional, modern CSS layouts and pages with this state-of-the-art design surface (as quoted by Microsoft). The Design surface gives you an easy way of accessing all your page elements are modify them easily and quickly. Like the size, margins, padding and position.
Improved Publishing Options
There have been changes in the publishing options in Expression Web 4. In Expression Web 3 we had only two options for publishing in the Site menu – Publishing and Publishing Settings…
Along with the above options, Expression Web 4 offers new menu items like ‘Publish Current file…’, ‘Publish Changed files…’ and ‘Publish All Files…’ with their shortcuts.
How should I get Expression Web 4?
If you have a retail copy of Expression Web 3 e.g. from the Microsoft store, a retail box copy or from DigitalRiver, installed on your computer, then you can upgrade your Expression Web to version 4 for free. You can download the trial version here and install it. The Expression Web 4 version setup will retrieve the license from the Windows license store.
But if you have any other version/copy then you are not eligible for the free upgrade.
How will I know which version I have?
To check if your copy of Expression Web 3 is eligible for a free upgrade, In Expression Web 3 go to Help > About Microsoft Expression Web and see the product id. The format of the id is a five digit number – three digit number – etc. If the three digit number is ‘617’ then you can upgrade for free. Else, you cannot.
After installing and activating Expression Web 4, go to Help > About Microsoft Expression Web, you should see ‘This is a fully licensed copy’.  For more details on licensing of Expression Web 4, read the article - Expression Web 4.0 written by fellow MVP Patricia Geary.
Few other features are still to be explored. We will learn more about them in our forthcoming articles.

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Minal Agarwal, Expression Web MVP, MCDST, works as a freelance web designer (SaffronStroke) working on Expression Web, Photoshop and other Graphical tools. As a hobby, she also runs a famous Food site called Foodatarian.com. Follow her on twitter @ saffronstroke

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