Microsoft Expression Web 4 (EW4) is the new version from Microsoft. EW4 is a text editor for web developers. This also allows you to do many other jobs other than just text editing. EW4 has three big new features that makes EW so much more than just an editor. These key features are an extensibility model, SEO checker and more improvements on the debugging in Super Preview.
The user interface has not really changed since the third version. In my opinion that was a good idea, as I believe that this was a very good design. Also since this version only came out less than a year since the last one, people probably would get annoyed. However, with one of the new features of EW4 the user interface could be changed or improved because of the new extensibility model.
EASILY CREATE AN ADD-IN FOR EXPRESSION WEB 4 WITH THE ADD-IN BUILDER
SIMPLIFY YOUR ADD-IN DEVELOPMENT WITH THE EXTENSIBILITY TESTER ADD-IN
I have not yet created an add-in yet but I think when I do it will be to add more code blocks in the PHP section of the program. As you can see from this picture there is not that much. The ones that are there I find very annoying and useless as they always add the PHP tags around them and most of the time I have them already because I will be adding this into existing code. They also seem not to have a lot in them like the IF statement just has “if”. Which to be honest is a bit useless if you are using this to save time as I think if would be quicker to type “if” than to go through the menus to get to “if”. So What I would do is create one that has a lot more options and that is a lot more useful.
The next function which I think is very good but could probably see a lot more improvements is the SEO checker or SEO reports. What this does is that it will scan through your code and find ways of improving it so that you can increase your rank in the search engines. It can be very useful as it will tell you if you have problems or ways to improve like meta tags etc.It also adds a code in a “Help Topic” column, if you were to click it this will open up a new window with more information on why the checker has come up with this improvement. It gives you an explanation, some details and example of what you can do. The guys that made this went around to lots of different developers doing different surveys to find the best practices and then put them all together. What I think is that they should make this into a little eBook and distribute it with the program so that you can read it and learn.
This guide has a lot in it and not just on SEO so it is a great chance to learn more about the program and some tips.
The last set of improvements that made a major impact was with the program Super Preview. Here is where I believe they have done the most work and they have done a great job. They have improved the debugging of the program so that you can improve your sites to work with multiple browsers. Another big feature that they added to this was the safari cloud. You can now sign up free (well I have been able to) and view your site as it would look in safari on the Mac. This is very good as it means if your like me you are now able to code your site to work on the Mac.
You can also now import PSD’s and you can compare your sites with this. I think this is very good if you are doing a PSD to HTML conversion and you want to make sure that they match.
They keep saying that this helps you to make your site work on multiple browsers through its debugging but the only browsers that you can use are the IE, Firefox and Mac Safari and the FF one will only work if you have it installed. What I want to be able to do is have Google Chrome, Opera and PC Safari on there. That way I can view my site IN multiple browsers.
Although there doesn’t seem to be many improvements I am sure that there are lots but I would say this does seem to be better than EW3 and with the new add-ins I’m sure soon a marketplace will open up with lots of them will become available.
The only major problem I had with this was that it kept failing to start when I first installed it. I soon found out that this was a problem with Kaspersky stopping illegal scripts working in Internet Explorer and this was causing the program to not work. After switching this setting of in my Kaspersky’s settings it soon worked. I have also heard people with Norton are experiencing a similar problem. Hopefully soon they will release a patch to fix this. If anyone is having that problem this thread on the expression forums has the solution.
Here is the link to the video of two of the guys explaining the features that I have talked about at the top and I have also included the link so that you can view on their site and their other videos. I will soon be reviewing the rest of the suite when I get a chance to use them so stay tuned.