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Microsoft Expression Web 2

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Microsoft Expression Web 2

Microsoft Expression Web 2

Image courtesy Microsoft

The Bottom Line

Expression Web 2 is a great addition to the editor market. It is a fully functional professional-level editor at a slightly lower price than other comparable editors. It is very focused on Microsoft software such as ActiveX, ASP.Net, and Silverlight, so if you do a lot of development with those, you should consider using Expression Web.
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  • Standards based design by default - XHTML 1.0 Transitional
  • Does the basics well, easy for beginners to learn, but powerful for advanced users
  • Slightly less expensive than Dreamweaver
  • Very strong ASP.Net support
  • Accessibility checker built-in


  • CSS validator doesn't display errors in the report view
  • Steep learning curve to do any of the less basic tasks
  • Not available natively for the Macintosh platform
  • Image editing is limited to format change and resizing
  • No support for code snippets


  • HTML and CSS validator to validate your code right in the editor. Plus a full link checker.
  • WYSIWYG editor for designers and text editor with color coding and tag completion for developers.
  • The site manager includes a global search and replace as well as file transfer capability.
  • While you can't do extensive image editing, it does have connections to graphics software, including Photoshop.
  • Wizards for many of the functions you do all the time.
  • Database connectivity as well as support for ASP.Net, PHP, ActiveX, and JavaScript.
  • Standards-based Web pages, written in XHTML 1.0 transitional by default.
  • Lots of pre-built scripts and templates to use.
  • There is a built-in accessibility validator to tell you if your pages are accessible.

Guide Review - Microsoft Expression Web 2

Expression Web 2 is a nice improvement on the first version. It adds in CSS validation and stronger visualization of CSS pages to make it a more effective professional design tool. It also adds in extensive ASP.Net support which is perfect for ASP designers.

One of my favorite features is the accessibility validator. Designers who use Expression Web no longer need to worry if their pages are accessible. They just run the accessibility report and find out. Then it's easy to fix problems that are found right in the editor.

Like other top-of-the-line HTML editors, Expression Web 2 offers support for XML data and database access. This makes it easy to edit dynamic, data-driven pages right in the editor. There is PHP support, but Expression Web really shines in ASP.Net support, with support for custom controls, ASP.Net Ajax, and ASP.Net 3.5 support built-in.

If you're a professional designer who works primarily with Microsoft websites this is a good tool to buy. It is slightly cheaper than Dreamweaver and offers most of the same features.

Score: 381.5
Reviewed: 26 September 2008

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