Microsoft Expression Web

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Microsoft Expression Web
Initial releaseDecember 4, 2006; 17 years ago (2006-12-04)
Final release
4 (4.0.1460.0) / December 20, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-12-20)
Operating systemWindows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8[1]
PlatformIA-32;[1] DirectX, .NET Framework 4.0, Silverlight v4[1]
Available inEnglish, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish[2]
TypeHTML editor

Microsoft Expression Web is a discontinued HTML editor and general web design software product by Microsoft. It was discontinued on December 20, 2012, and subsequently made available free of charge from Microsoft. It was a component of the also discontinued Expression Studio.

Expression Web can design and develop web pages using HTML5, CSS 3, ASP.NET, PHP, JavaScript, XML+XSLT and XHTML. Expression Web 4 requires .NET Framework 4.0 and Silverlight 4.0 to install and run.[1] Expression Web uses its own standards-based rendering engine which is different from Internet Explorer's Trident engine.[3]

Version history[edit]

Legend: Old version, not maintained Older version, still maintained Current stable version Latest preview version Future release
Developer Major version Release date Minor updates Release date Notes
Microsoft Old version, no longer maintained: 1.0 (12.0.4518.1014) December 2006 SP1 (12.0.6211.1000) December 2007 Included in Microsoft Expression Studio
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0 (12.0.4518.1084) May 2008 Update (12.0.6329.5000) December 2008 Included in Microsoft Expression Studio 2
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0 (3.0.1762.0) July 2009 SP1 (3.0.3813.0) November 2009 Included in Microsoft Expression Studio 3
SP2 (3.0.3816.0) April 2010
SP3 October 2011
Current stable version: 4.0 (4.0.1165.0) July 2010 SP1 (4.0.1241.0) March 2011 Included in Microsoft Expression Studio 4
SP2 (4.0.1303.0) July 2011
SP2a (4.0.1460.0) December 2012

On May 14, 2006, Microsoft released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) version of Expression Web, code-named Quartz. On September 5, 2006, Microsoft released Beta 1. Beta 1 removed most of the FrontPage-proprietary (non-standard) features such as bots (use of FPSE features for server-side scripting), parts, functions, themes, automatic generation of navigation buttons, FrontPage forms, navigation pane to build a web site's hierarchy, and other non-standard features available in CTP 1. The Release To Manufacturing version was made available on December 4, 2006. The first and only service pack was published in December 2007.[4] Expression Web does not have the form validation controls for HTML fields like FrontPage, but supports validator controls for ASP.NET.[5]

Microsoft Expression Web 2 was released in 2008.[6] Expression Web 2 offers native support for PHP and Silverlight. No service packs were released for version 2, but in December 2008 it received an update that fixed a problem that prevented macros from running on Windows Vista-based client computers.

Microsoft Expression Web 3 was released in 2009.[7] Until version 2, Expression Web was the only application in the Expression Studio suite based on Microsoft Office code and dependencies.[8] With version 3, Expression Web was rewritten in Windows Presentation Foundation, in line with the rest of the Expression Suite, without Microsoft Office dependencies. A result of this was features like customizable toolbars and menus, standard Windows color scheme, spell check, DLL addins, file menu export feature, drag-and-drop between remote sites, comparing sites by timestamp, automatic language tagging, basic macro support were removed in this version.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Other features like Undo do not work reliably.[15][16] Version 3 introduced Expression Web 3 SuperPreview tool for comparing and rendering webpage in various browsers. Also noted was the lack of support for root relative links, links that start with a "/" to refer to the root of a web server. This feature was added with Expression Web 3 Service Pack 1, released in November 2009.[17] Service Pack 2 for Expression Web 3 was released in April 2010.[18] Service Pack 3 for Expression Web 3 was released in October 2011 and includes general product, stability, performance, and security fixes.[19]

Microsoft Expression Web 4 was released on June 7, 2010.[20] It added the option of HTML add-ins, and access to a web-based SuperPreview functionality, for testing pages on browsers that cannot be installed on the user's system (such as Mac OS X or Linux browsers). Microsoft Expression Web 4 also provides an SEO Checker which analyzes produced web site against the best practices for getting the highest possible search-engine rankings.[21] Version 4 does not bring back all the features removed in Version 3.[22] Expression Web 4 Service Pack 1 was released in March 2011 and added support for IntelliSense for the HTML5 and CSS3 draft specifications in the Code editor, HTML5 and CSS3 support in the CSS Properties palette, selected CSS3 properties in the Style dialogs, semantic HTML5 tags in Design View and new PHP 5.3 functions.[23][24] Expression Web 4 SP2 was released in July 2011, and fixed a number of issues and introduced new features such as jQuery IntelliSense support, a panel for managing snippets, Interactive Snapshot Panel, comment/uncomment functionality in Code View, and workspace and toolbar customization.[25] Expression Web 4 SP2a, an hotfix released in October 2011, fixes an issue caused by corruption in the license store.[26]


As of December, 2012, Microsoft has announced that Expression Studio will no longer be a stand-alone product.[27] Expression Blend is being integrated into Visual Studio, while Expression Web and Expression Design will now be free products. Technical support is available for customers who purchased Expression Web or Expression Design following their published support lifetime guides, while no support will be offered to free downloaders. No new versions of Expression Web or Design are planned.[28]


Microsoft Expression Web received positive reviews. PC Pro awarded Expression Web 2 five stars out of six. "It largely succeeded by concentrating on providing standards-compliant support for the web's core markup languages, (X)HTML and CSS," Tom Arah concluded.[29]

PC Magazine also rated Expression Web 2 with 4 stars out of 5 and labeled it as a more cost-effective option compared to the main competitor, Adobe Dreamweaver. "Even if money is no object, Expression Web 2 might be your better choice," editor Edward Mendelson wrote.[30] However, PC Magazine criticized a lack of "Secure FTP in its Web-publishing functions" and "the ability to create browser-based (as opposed to server-based) scripting of dynamic pages that works in all browsers, including Safari". On the other hand, PC Magazine noted that "most designers won't care about their absence".[30] However, Microsoft Expression 3 later added support for SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) (otherwise known as Secure FTP) as well as FTP over SSL (FTPS).[31]

Expression Web 4, like the previous versions, also received positive reviews[32] with PC Magazine calling it an "efficient website editor with full support for current standards," and praising its "clear interface" and "flexible preview functions."[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Microsoft Expression Web 4". Download Center. Microsoft. December 20, 2012.
  2. ^ Localization and What Goes on Behind the Scenes
  3. ^ Mauceri, Rob (April 16, 2007). "Office Live and SharePoint". Microsoft SharePoint Designer Team Blog. Microsoft corporation. Retrieved August 23, 2010. SharePoint Designer doesn't use Trident. SharePoint Designer, Expression Web, and the next version of Visual Studio's Visual Web Designer (code name Orcas) all use the same standards-based web design component. This component was developed jointly by the three product teams for high fidelity rendering of web standards like CSS, XHTML, as well as
  4. ^ "Microsoft Expression Web Service Pack 1 (SP1)". December 8, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Use ASP.NET Validation Controls in Expression Web". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ Kyrnin, Jennifer (September 26, 2008). "Microsoft Expression Web 2 Review". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  7. ^ James, Justin (September 1, 2009). "Review: Microsoft Expression Web 3 HTML editor". TechRepublic. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "How to customize Toolbar Icons in Expression Web 3". Archived from the original on December 31, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "Expression Web 3 File Export Function Missing?". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "Why I can't copy files between two sites on Expression Web 3?". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  11. ^ "Using timestamps to compare if remote website has changed (EW 3)". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "Has Expression Web a future?". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  13. ^ "Using Microsoft Expression Web for Non-English Sites". May 11, 2011. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  14. ^ "Cannot figure out how to create macros in Expression Web". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  15. ^ "Expression web 4 undo is broke. When will it be fixed?". Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  16. ^ "Buggy Undo still present in EW4". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  17. ^ Moscinski, Todd (April 26, 2010). "Different types of hyperlinks". Microsoft Expression Web team blog. Microsoft corporation. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  18. ^ "Microsoft Expression Web 3 Service Pack 2 (SP2)". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  19. ^ "Microsoft Expression Web 3 Service Pack 3 (SP3)". October 24, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Wilson, Jeffrey L. (June 8, 2010). "Microsoft Launches Expression Studio 4". PC Magazine ( Ziff Davis Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  21. ^ "What's new in Expression Web". Microsoft Expression Web product page. Microsoft corporation. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  22. ^ "No ability to customize toolbox in Expression Web 4?". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  23. ^ "HTML5, CSS3, and More with Expression Web 4 SP1". Chris Bowen. March 24, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  24. ^ Description of Expression Web 4 Service Pack 1
  25. ^ Description of Expression Web 4 Service Pack 2
  26. ^ "FIX: Product key is not accepted when you install or activate Expression Web 4". Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  27. ^ Rand-Hendriksen, Morten, "Microsoft Abandons Expression Web and Front End Web Development," 20 Dec 2012 Archived December 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Microsoft® Expression®". Microsoft. Archived from the original on April 13, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  29. ^ Arah, Tom (May 16, 2008). "Microsoft Expression Web 2 review". PC Pro. Dennis Publishing Limited. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  30. ^ a b Mendelson, Edward (August 11, 2008). "Microsoft Expression Web 2 Review & Rating". PC Magazine ( Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  31. ^ Leeds, Chris (July 2009). "Expression Web 3 FTP Publishing". Microsoft Expression Newsletter. No. July 2009. Microsoft corporation. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  32. ^ "Microsoft Expression Web review". TrustedReviews. February 5, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  33. ^ Mendelson, Edward (May 3, 2012). "Microsoft Expression Web 4 Review & Rating". PC Magazine ( Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.

External links[edit]