Or so Microsoft says. When I read on ActiveWin that Microsoft wasn't going to be including Expression Web on MSDN, I was shocked. Microsoft is notoriously in-tune with its developers, and is usually very good to them. So I pinged my friend Brian Goldfarb, who is in charge of product marketing for DevDiv. He had this to say:
Until now, Microsoft did not have a tool aimed at the professional designer and now FrontPage has been superseded by both Expression Web and SharePoint Designer, we now have a comprehensive offering of Visual Studio 2005 (including Visual Web Developer) for developers, Expression Web for designers and SharePoint Designer aimed at IT Professionals who work with SharePoint sites. MSDN is a subscription model aimed at developers, therefore Microsoft has taken the decision not to include it’s designer tools in the Microsoft Expression range in that model. However because Microsoft includes Office products in MSDN, SharePoint Designer as part of the Office 2007 System is available through MSDN and it offers the same high fidelity design surface as Expression Web.
I'm sorry, Brian is a great guy, and I LOVE the DevDiv, but this is a load of crap. Because the assumption that web developers don't also have to be web designers is totally false, and SharePoint Designer is NOT as good as Expression Web. Otherwise there would be one product and not two.
The fact that there is a ton of horrible web design out there means that coders are writing web UI every day. Just because Microsoft doesn't have a tool out there doesn't mean that the industry hasn't had tools to do good UI work. And Microsoft would be stupid to think that just because they DO come out with a tool, that suddenly coders and corporations are going to see the errors of their ways, and start separating their duties.
Coders are still going to be doing UI, and VS2005 sucks at CSS. I guess Microsoft is tired of shelling out free stuff to developers.
Oh, well. Guess I'll be using the beta version until it expires.