Blend 3 RC Available

10Jul09

Today Microsoft shipped the Release Candidate (RC) of Expression Blend 3.  You can download it from here.  It also includes Sketchflow, whatever that may be.

If you’ve been waiting for Intellisense and Team Foundation Server source control integration in Blend, this is a must for you.  I’ve been able to try them out, and it works great.  For TFS integration, you’ll also need a Team Foundation Explorer patch from http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/KB967483.

Improvements from ScottGu’s blog:

    • Sketchflow: SketchFlow makes it significantly easier to create prototypes, experiment with dynamic user experiences, and incorporate feedback from customers.  If you haven’t seen or tried it yet – you must.  It really is a game changing new way to create great user centric applications.
    • Intellisense: Blend 3 includes C#, VB and XAML intellisense support.  You can now write code and event handlers within Blend without having to switch to VS. 
    • Behaviors: Blend 3 includes behavior support which can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable components that can be directly applied to a control within the design surface.  This enables designers to quickly add functionality and behavior to applications without having to write code.
    • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Import: Blend 3 now has built-in support for importing Photoshop and Illustrator files.  As part of the import process you can view and pick individual Photoshop layers to import, customize and regroup layers, and have Photoshop/Illustrator elements retain their original formats within XAML: including layer positions, editable text and font settings, and vector element conversion to XAML.
    • Sample Data: Blend 3 adds design-time sample data support which makes it easy to mock up data-connected applications and see what they look like without requiring access to live data.  You can generate sample data or import sample data from an XML file and it is available to controls on the artboard at design-time. You can customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run-time.
    • TFS: Blend 3 now includes Team Foundation Server (TFS) support – allowing you to use source control and enlist within projects.  Blend shares the same project and solution format as Visual Studio – allowing both VS and Blend to work simultaneously on the same projects and enabling seamless editing between them.
    • Other Improvements: Additional enhancements including improved animation and easing function support, 3D transform support, visual effects support, and an improved visual state manager designer.

The Intellisense is good (faster than I’ve experienced in VS2008) and the general speed of the XAML editor seems much better.  It’s a rather timely release, too, considering Blend 2 just started locking up on me, today.

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