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Microsoft Expression Web Gives Dreamweaver A Run For Its Money

It's often said that Microsoft doesn't perfect its major software apps until they reach version 3.0. In building an HTML editor, the developer appears to have needed even more versions than that.


Microsoft Expression Web


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Expression Web is a new site-development tool, now in public beta, that Microsoft is promoting as a replacement for its under-appreciated FrontPage application. If you count upwards from Vermeer FrontPage 1.0 -- the original HTML editor that Microsoft acquired in 1996 and turned into FrontPage 97, 98, 2000, 2002, and 2003 -- Expression Web must count as something like version 7.0.

The new application looks very much like FP03 when it's first started up. A user of the older application will find many familiar-looking (or even identical) menus and dialog boxes to put together Web pages.

But even bleeding-edge XHTML 1.1 developers will notice that Expression Web is a grown-up coding environment.

In fact, in conversations with coders who've used both products, I found a surprising level of respect for the maturity of Expression Web, even among people with years invested in the market-leading Macromedia Dreamweaver. (Macromedia is now a division of Adobe Systems after a late 2005 acquisition.)

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