Forest Key and S. Somasegar announced today that Expression Web and Expression Blend will be made available to all MSDN premium subscribers. This means that if you have an MSDN Premium Subscription (with Visual Studio Pro or any of the Visual Studio Team System Products) that you will be able to use these products as part of your development. As an added bonus to the people that have the Visual Studio Team Suite with the MSDN Premium content, they get access to the entire Expression Suite (Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Media and Expression Design). The best part is this is not just an announcement, Expression Web is already up on MSDN! I started downloading it before I created this post.
I think this is great news and it was the right decision for the product teams to make. I have been talking to a lot of customers that are starting to explore the use of these Expression tools as part of their development cycle. Everyone of them told me that they wanted to see these tools as part of their MSDN subscriptions. Evidentially I was not the only one hearing this message!
I had an MSDN subscription for more than 5 years before I joined Microsoft and it was always of great value to me to have access to the Microsoft development products (It does not contain all the Microsoft products - you can’t get Office for the Mac, Microsoft Money or XBOX Games). I used the subscription to perform proof of concepts, check against future releases of operating systems and development tools and even some production troubleshooting (Hey the guy is reporting the bug on Windows ME, I wonder if it is something specific to the OS). This announcement shows that Microsoft is very willing to listen to our customers and that the design tools are taking their rightful place as a part of the application development lifecycle.