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HTML 5 and CSS 3 Support for Expression Web

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Microsoft has released an update to Expression Web 4 to support HTML 5 and CSS 3 development. This update, part of Service Pack 1, is only a partial solution; it offers IntelliSense and error-checking support but with only partial preview support. This update also includes expanded support for PHP IntelliSense.

Expression Web 4 is Microsoft’s attempt to compete with products such as Adobe Dreamweaver. Both products are mainly targeted at web designers but also have support for development platforms. Dreamweaver focuses on Adobe technologies such as CodeFusion and ActionScript while Expression Web offers ASP.NET. Both products are also courting the large PHP market.

When editing HTML 5 in code view, designers get the typical Microsoft IDE experience with features such as code completion for everything but SVG entities. In design view the canvas and svg elements are non-functional. This will make using the canvas for crucial design elements somewhat annoying.

With CSS 3 the story is far worse. While you can turn on “CSS 3 draft” mode, this only gives you code view support. Currently there are 40 different modules in CSS 3 and Microsoft was not clear on which are included. There is no CSS 3 support in design mode, which isn’t surprising considering that IE 9 doesn’t support it either.

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