Yes it's true Microsoft's Expression Suite 2.0 has released. Expression Suite 2.0 actually launched last Thursday, 1st May 2008, and to be honest I almost missed the fact if I hadn't seen it in The Coffee House forum on Channel 9! I have been waiting with baited breath for the next release of the Expression Suite of tools – Expression Blend, Expression Web, Expression Design, Expression Media and Expression Encoder, primarily to see if the true developer and designer working together successfully dream that Microsoft has been feeding us for the last two years really was about to come true! I currently work in an organisation where we are trying to use Microsoft's Team Foundation Server for source control and are trying very hard to get our team of designers to use source control, like a lot of other organisations I would imagine. As soon as I heard that the suite had been released I immediately went to download a trial version of Expression Web 2.0 to see if there were any major differences between the release version and the beta version I'd downloaded a few weeks beforehand.
I digress a little, what I was really looking to find out was whether or not Source Control integration had finally made it into the final release of the Expression suite of products. And do you know the answer? Yep it's a big fat NO! This is really annoying and is a deal breaker for myself and a lot of other people I've spoken too about this problem. Apparently the Expression Teams are well aware of the need for Source Control integration but it did was not felt that it was a priority for this release, taking Expression Web 2.0 for example, the priorities were deemed to be SilverLight and PHP support into the IDE and closer integration with the Adobe Toolset. Excuse me, Microsoft, but how about some closer integration with your own toolset – i.e. TFS and SourceSafe for example. How can we preach to designers that they should be using the Expression Suite when we still need to install, for example, Visual Studio with TFS Explorer to allow them to check out files seperately from their workflow and then work on them in Expression Design. This story is no different to what they already have to do to work with Dreamweaver and other Web Design IDEs, To find there is no Source Control integration across the entire suite is crazy and a massive oversight by Microsoft. I believe they are discounting existing customers in preference for gaining new customer base – i.e. PHP users in the case of Expression Web as opposed to listening to elements which were identified as major issues in Expression Suite 1.
This major and glaring omission is a deal breaker for myself and others. Also this is not making the integration of the great Designers and Developers working together seamlessly with Visual Studio and Expression, be it Blend, Web or whatever other part of the suite. Until there is clear integration with at a minimum Microsoft's own Source Control Products how can this vision be a reality. At present the indications are that we'll have to wait for version 3 for this massive feature, which I'm guessing will be released sometime after the Mix Conference next year!!! Another year we'll have to wait!!
For the record – I've calmed down a bit since last Friday when I was first going to write this post :o. As soon as I hear any responses on this issue – I will blog them and hopefully we'll eventually get there.