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Software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Microsoft Expression Web

£260 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Microsoft's Expression Web places CSS (cascading style sheets), XML, and other industry standards at the core of its site design and management strategy.

Microsoft's Expression Web places CSS (cascading style sheets), XML, and other industry standards at the core of its site design and management strategy. While some vestiges of the former FrontPage web-design application remain, the program is as close as can be to a new product.

Expression Web feels more grown-up than FrontPage. While the program still shields web designers from much of the code underlying their pages, the resulting sites should meet all web-design and accessibility standards. The trade-off for the added functionality is the hours of training the program requires for non-coders, even with its many built-in guides.

The benefits of CSS for web-design are undeniable: separating content from navigation, colour schemes, and other elements makes updating the site fast and simple. While you could develop and publish a site the old-fashioned way, CSS is the default for every webpage you create.

Expression Web goes to great pains to make CSS approachable. For example, when you choose a style, you see possible style attributes in a drop-down menu. IntelliSense lets you type just a letter or two to select options, and you can drag small pieces of code from a palette directly on to your page to add navigation elements, form fields, or other components. Nevertheless, switching to CSS takes quite a bit of training.

Theoretically, Expression Web will work alongside other members of the Expression Studio suite when they become available later this year. However, despite being over £100 cheaper than Dreamweaver, Expression can't match its integration with other applications in Adobe's Creative Suite for team development.

Microsoft Expression Web 2 Expert Verdict »

700MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
Windows XP/Vista
512MB of RAM
1.5GB of hard disk space
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 7 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Despite a few lingering traces of old FrontPage features, Expression Web is a giant step up and an appealing upgrade for those who wish to use CSS and XML.

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