“One of the most notable advances in these Windows and Visual Studio releases is the ability to create consumer-focused, Windows Metro style apps using HTML. Visual Studio 11 provides end-to-end support for these efforts, spanning the development, debugging, and deployment lifecycle.”
Investments developers have made in learning XAML move forward to Windows 8, where Metro style apps can be written using XAML along with C#, Visual Basic, and C++. Windows 8 also supports running existing XAML-based applications with the Windows desktop, and such applications further benefit from underlying feature and performance improvements made in these releases.
Blend for HTML provides a rich toolset for authoring HTML and CSS-based user experiences, helping you to create, layout, and style visually on a high-fidelity design surface. In particular, Blend for HTML makes working with CSS a lot more enjoyable: you can focus on concepts rather than on syntax, and you get immediate visual feedback on anything you do.
Expression Blend and Visual Studio share the same project files, and they can be used simultaneously by a single person or across a team of people with specialized skills.
Here are a few highlights of the first preview of Blend for HTML:
- A powerful visual CSS editing environment, with predictable and efficient CSS and HTML5 markup generation. CSS3 adds a range of new layout techniques that are much more appropriate for resizable, dynamic application scenarios. Blend for HTML provides a rich visual environment for the new CSS Grid and Flexbox layout modules.
- Styling of complex dynamic application states. Interactive apps invariably have complex states that modify the user interface of the app (a simple example would be a dynamically generated fly-out triggered by an event handler). Such states usually cannot be expressed in static markup, making them inaccessible to most visual authoring tools. Blend for HTML solves this problem with Interactive Mode, enabling users to interact with the app on the design surface, and freeze any state reached for subsequent editing.
- Visual editing for Windows 8-specific features such as controls and views. Most notably, Blend for HTML lets you preview and edit in full, portrait, fill, and snap views, making it easy to design user interfaces that shine regardless of how and where they’re presented.