• Price When Reviewed: 154 . 51 . 359

  • Pros: IntelliSense makes coding more accurate and streamlines the process; full Photoshop file support; Silverlight, Flash, QuickTime, PHP and AJAX support.

  • Cons: Technologies such as PHP, .NET 3.5 Framework; some caveats with Photoshop file import; Windows-only.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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Expression Web 2 continues the design-led approach of Blend, offering a well-sized Design view for working with images and text. Full Photoshop support is a welcome addition, though imported PSD files must meet some criteria first.

Only 8-bits per channel colour images can be used, the image size must be under 200MB and the PSD file had to be saved with Maximize Compatibility turned on. That said, Web 2 can generate a PNG, GIF, or JPEG file from the PSD file and allows you to pick the Photoshop layers you want to include or exclude from the image, though adjustment layers didn’t seem to translate.

Expression Web 2 lets you insert Flash SWF and Windows Media files into your pages, edit their properties, and preview your Flash files in Design view. You can also insert and run any other type of ActiveX control, such as QuickTime or RealPlayer. Web 2 can be used to either modify the HTML file that was generated by a Silverlight-authoring application like Blend, or insert a Silverlight-based application into a Web page.

There is lots of control over margins and spatial padding, and while you manipulate page elements in Design view, Web is automatically writing the CSS code. This underlying structure can be accessed through a fairly sophisticated Code view, while in Split view you can see both views at once, with live updating from one to the other. The optimized Code view window benefits from coloured text that indicates different components, as well as IntelliSense (above), an auto-complete tool that automatically inserts code as you edit. For example, if you type a start tag, such as

<p> then IntelliSense will automatically insert an end tag </p> for you.