Expression Launch – Chicago Style

Expression Studio Launch - Chicago Expression Studio Launch - Chicago Expression Studio Launch - Chicago Expression Studio Launch - Chicago Expression Studio Launch - Chicago Expression Studio Launch - Chicago

Expression Studio has now launched! Or at least part of it has… but the party to celebrate the launch was nice. Expression Web has RTM’d, and the rest of the suit should RTM within the next couple of months. It was great meeting so many people that cared *a lot* about design, usability and over all UX. I got to see Chris Bernard and Dave Bost (some old friends from when I worked at Microsoft). Dave does a much better job covering the launch than I am.

 

One crazy cool thing that happened at the launch was when I first arrived: When I first arrived at the launch event I saw Eric Meyer walking in right in front of me… you know THE Eric Meyer… he like wrote the book on CSS and is practically the father of web design as we know it today! Anyways, I met Eric early last year at the WebmaterJamSession in Dallas. I got to hang out for 3 days with all of the presenters… it was a great time. Even though I chatted with Eric several times back then, I figure he talks to so many people a year that no way would he remember me. So I walk in behind Eric and say hi, and then remind him where we met… and he’s like… “yeah, Caleb, How are you? Hey, I heard a rumor that you aren’t with Microsoft anymore…” OK, just stop.

 

I’m playing it cool, but inside I’m all weirded out. Think about it… exactly under what scenario is Eric Meyer… you know THE Eric Meyer. Having a conversation somewhere, anywhere, and MY employment status comes up… I’m at a loss. I got nothing.

 

Anyways, Eric was very cool. We talked about the Expression Suit and recorded a quick CommunityCast.tv interview. Since he was key noting at the end of the day, I asked how he liked the tools, he mentioned that he doesn’t use them *cough* he writes his CSS by hand. He also said that what he has seen of the tools he really likes. He was, after all, there to talk about CSS Standards and why it was such a good thing for Microsoft to make this investment in web standards and CSS support. Later, I got to see first hand some of the Expression Web support for CSS. I have to admit, I think the team nailed that one. Expression Web can do some very advanced CSS driven layout with ease… I’m looking forward to using it after I get my new laptop!

 

One more interesting thing that happened at the launch event was a conversation that I overheard between one of the Microsoft Expression product guys and one of the designers from thirteen23. Thirteen23 is an interactive design firm from Austin, TX. A couple of their designers were on hand at the expression launch for a discussion panel. Check out their site, they have created some of the best examples of what a person can do with the Expression tool set and WPF.

 

The thirteen23 designer had just shown the Expression (Microsoft) guy a new WPF application that he was working on and the Expression guy asked the thirteen23 guy how he liked the product (referring Expression Blend) and the designer from thirteen23 responded with something like, “I don’t know, you’re the customer. Do you like it?” I thought it was an interesting interchange between someone that is working on a tool for people to use, (and wanting feedback) and someone that is using that tool to create their own product (and wanting feedback)… Wow. That was pretty wordy for a conversation that happened in a couple of seconds. Do any of these last two paragraphs make sense?

 

Anyways – it was a great event! I can’t wait for the final Expression Studio bits to arrive!

About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Solera as a Director of Software Development. An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, DevelopingUX.com and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email