A question that keeps coming up is whether or not Blend should be integrated into Visual Studio. The current thought is that it is still better to have separate tools, one focused on UI design tasks and one focused on application development. But that doesn’t mean both can’t be improved.
New details about Blend for Visual Studio 2015 provide a glimpse of what users can expect in the new release. However, a couple of key features have been removed in an effort tighten the product's focus.
Microsoft has announced the new Blend for Visual Studio 2012, a tool to design user interfaces for HTML and XAML applications in Windows Store 8. All versions of Visual Studio 2012 come with Blend, including Express.
There are many ways to handle design-time data in view-models. While some people use complex dependency injection frameworks or inversion of control containers, the simplest method is to just check the DesignerProperties.IsInDesignTool flag. Unfortunately this has the side effect of embedding the design-time data into one’s application. Jeremy Likness offers a couple ways of working around this.
Expression Blend 4 SP 1 can read Adobe FXG files, enabling Expression developers to use Flash UI components in their applications.