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Expression Review

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Expression Web by Microsoft is a feature-rich HTML editor with features seldom included in HTML editors, including full, integrated versions of Expression Encoder and Expression Design. Expression Encoder allows you to customize videos; add cuts to clips, titles, and captions; and create computer-screen training videos. In addition, your media can be delivered in Silverlight.

Expression Design, the visual HTML editor in the program, allows you to create vector graphics that combine easily with Adobe Photoshop and have full layer support. You can apply live effects to vector or bitmapped images.

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The flexibility of this HTML editor is its biggest feature, although it's more of a benefit. The program's ability to integrate with several companion platforms makes it a developer's ideal HTML editor. The ability to switch between live previews and the editing screen with a simple click gives you absolute control over website design.

Like many programs, Expression Web is easy to install. The flexibility of the workspace is fantastic, allowing you to add or remove any panel. However, while advanced and intermediate developers may enjoy Expression Web, beginners may find that it has a steep learning curve.

Like most Microsoft programs, Expression Web seems to have been built for a dedicated purpose – for developers by developers. As a beginning website creator, you'll need time to learn the program, how to use its functions and how the navigation works.

In terms of help and support, Microsoft has gone all out for Expression Web. An in-program manual and printed manual give you the basics of how to use the program and a little insight into various coding languages and other how-to's. An Expression newsletter shares information and updates about the program. Community forums are provided for program and design help.

Online and phone support are also provided, but users may get the most out of Microsoft's product training videos.

Although beginners to web design may find Expression Web a little too much to handle, intermediate and advanced developers will enjoy the flexibility, functionality and sleek layout. Beginners won't need to know HTML or coding, but they will need to take the time to learn the program; it's not made for out-of-the-box use.

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