By Michael Burns | on June 26, 2008
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.
New in version 2 is the ability to preview PHP dynamic pages in a Web browser without installing a separate development server or having to upload your Web site to a server. Common PHP code snippets can also be directly inserted into either Design view or Code view. When you want to reuse content on multiple PHP pages – such as for a header or navigation menu – you can use a PHP include and preview it in Design view, complete with formatting marks to identify the PHP script and enable you to modify it. You’ll need to have PHP installed and configured on your computer first though.
You’ll also need to install the .NET 3.5 Framework to work with Expression Web 2’s new ASP.NET AJAX server controls. These include the UpdatePanel, Timer, UpdateProgress, ScriptManager, and ScriptManagerProxy controls, which enable you to create Web pages that are more responsive to user interaction.
Expression Web 2 is an effective tool, allowing you to build sites that comply with XHTML, CSS, XML, and XSLT standards; its support for ASP.NET 3.5 allows the drag-and-drop use of assets such as Silverlight applications. This, the full support for Photoshop files and PHP pages, and the ability to insert Flash SWF and Windows Media files, make this probably the most valuable part of Expression Studio for the widest range of users.