Expression Web 4 Add-Ins

Posted by: Minal Agarwal , on 7/4/2010, in Category Expression Web
Views: 144076
Abstract: Expression Web 4 add-ins is a new feature of Expression Web 4 wherein installation of add-ins is made easy plus you can create your own add-ins. This article is an overview of Expression Web 4 Add-Ins.
Expression Web ‘Add-ins’ are supplemental programs that enhance and extend the capabilities of Microsoft Expression Web by adding custom commands and specialized features. Though Add-Ins or add-ons is not a new concept to Expression Web 4, creating your add-ins within Expression Web and super easy installation is definitely something you will experience for the first time.
An add-in can have toolbar buttons, menu items, dialogs, buttons and panels. So with add-ins you can transform your website to have something within few seconds which could otherwise take days or sometimes weeks to generate.
There have been Add-ins earlier, what’s new in Expression Web 4 Add-Ins?
 
Though ‘add-ins’ have been there in earlier versions of Expression Web, with version 4, as I mentioned earlier, developers can write their own add-ins using HTML, JavaScript and CSS Standards they already know. What then used to take plenty of time and required in-depth knowledge of ‘.NET code’ can be done in very little time now and can do without much .NET knowledge. Expression Web 4 provides simple integration of add-ins into Expression Web’s panels and menus using XML. The process is further simplified with an add-in called ‘Add-in Builder’ which makes it effortless to create an add-in. We will learn more about the Add-in Builder and how to create add-ins using the builder, in our next article.
Older add-ins required an installer to install the add-in. So you were required to download the installer and run it. To remove the add-in, the installer was required again. Add-ins were also managed outside Expression Web. Now with Expression Web 4, you can write your add-ins in Expression Web and so managing them from the improved Manage Add-Ins dialog box is much easier. The same dialog box can be used to manage legacy and JavaScript add-ins like you used to do in earlier versions.
How do I configure an Expression Web 4 Add-in in Expression Web 4?
 
1.    Download the Expression Web 4 Add-in (.xadd) and save it onto your machine.
2.    In Expression Web 4, go to Tools > Add-Ins…
Tools menu
This launches the Manage Add-ins dialog box as shown below:
Manage Add-ins dialog box
3.    If you are installing an add-in for the first time, the dialog box will be empty. Click on the Install… button, browse to the add-in file. The Expression Web 4 add-in file has a ‘.xadd’ extension. This type of add-in file is to be installed directly in Expression Web, without any installer.
4.    Click on Open, to open it. A dialog box showing the details of the add-in will be prompted as shown below:
Add-in Install Complete window
5.    Click ‘Yes’ to install. The add-in now appears in the Manage-Add-ins dialog box.
Manage Add-ins
6.    Click OK and is now ready to use.
7.    To use this add-in, go to Panels > Add-In > Payment Buttons for Paypal.
NOTE: The add-in I installed in the above example is ‘Payment Buttons for Paypal’ by WebAssist. You can download the add-in from Microsoft Expression Gallery or from the WebAssist Add-Ins page.
Some Expression Web 4 Add-Ins:
 
Here are some Expression Web add-ins you can use:
Insert Bing Map Add-in by Mike Calvo (read his overview of this add-in)
Expression Web 4 Add-Ins by fellow MVP Ian Haynes
Other Add-Ins
Conclusion
 
I hope the article was useful to you. We will learn about how to create your own add-ins in our next article.

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Author
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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