Prerequisites for Using Microsoft Expression Web

Microsoft Expression Web is a professional Web design tool that is designed for creating standards-based Web sites. In order for Web designers to be productive with Expression Web, the capabilities of the product must be understood and specific skills must be acquired.

For those of you who are moving from FrontPage to using Expression Web this is a MUST READ article from Microsoft. If you are just thinking about moving to using Expression Web or have just started new with the program this is a MUST READ article.

Prerequisites for Using Microsoft Expression Web answers the following questions:

  • Is Expression Web a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) tool?
  • Is Expression Web the same as Microsoft FrontPage? Is it a replacement for FrontPage?
  • Can I use FrontPage Server Extensions and still get point-and-click design elements without learning new design technologies?
  • What skills do I need in order to use Expression Web? Do I need to be a professional Web designer?
  • How can I acquire the skills I need to use Expression Web?

Pay particular attention to the resources listed as the answer to the last question. They will say you a world of frustration in trying to work with the program.  Read Prerequisites for Using Microsoft Expression Web.

Additional HTML Resources:

Additional CSS Resources:

Additional Expression Web Resources:

Review: Expression Web 4 LiveLessons by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

I’ve just spent a part of the last three days watching Morten Rand-Henriksen’s latest offering on Expression Web 4, his LiveLessons Video Training. The video is shipped on one DVD with over six hours of materials. I preordered  Microsoft Expression Web 4 LiveLessons (Video Training) when it was first offered. The price then and now (on sale) is $20.00 and is well worth every penny.

Morten presents each section and lesson so that it is clear and understandable. There is sample code included for some of the lessons. He does not cover setting up the program before you start to use Expression Web 4 so you may wish to download Tina Clarke’s FREE Setting Up Expression Web 4 EBook for instructions on how to do that first.

NOTE: You can easily pause the video and go back and repeat something if you do not understand it the first time around. I would encourage you to watch the entire series of lessons before you start working on your site.

The beginning of each part gives an overview of the Learning Objectives and then proceeds to a series of Lessons.

Part One: Microsoft Expression Web 4 Basics consists of six separate lessons and covers the layout and customization of the program itself, panel and toolbars, using the folder list and site view as well as how Expression Web interacts with the “outside world.” Morten takes you on a brief tour of the final project he will be using in the lessons and show you some of the other sites he has built in Expression Web. He discusses the five browsers you MUST have installed on your computer to thoroughly test your site before making it available for the entire world to see and how to download those browsers and get them working with Expression Web. Next he covers how to create a new site and how Expression Web handles site management and the whys and wherefores of working inside Expression Web versus working in Windows. Finally you will create and preview your first web page(s). You will learn how to work with text in Design View, how to style and format the text, and how to import text from MS Word and other sources. Pay particular attention here as Word can add quite a bit of unnecessary code to your web pages. Next you will learn how to import pages into your site, how to work with hyperlinks bother within your site and the outside world. The last lesson in Part One covers Page Properties and Meta Tags which you will use on all of your pages. Remember, if you do not understand something, you can rewind and watch that section again.

Part 2: Working with Images in Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of three separate lessons and will teach you how to import your images into Expression Web the correct way, how to place the images on your page and how to use the Picture Properties tool bar. While I normally work with images using a graphic editor so they are ready to use on my pages, Morten gives some good tips for you to use. Throughout the tutorials, also he gives some good tips on best practices on working with and organizing your site. You will also learn how to work with external images – those not actually located within your website. Also covered is how to use the Pictures Toolbar, creating thumbnails and adding image hotspots. Hotspots are not s feature I have really worked with but I want to give it a try on a couple of my sites.

Part 3: HTML and Code View in Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of two lessons and covers the basics of HTML code – HTML tags and syntax and how Expression Web can help you learn HTML by working in Split View. His explanation was easy to understand but is not an in-depth discussion of HTML code. For this you will need to do some research on your own using the resources available And finally, you will learn how to use the Code View Toolbar which is one tool I have not done much with but will certainly be doing more with it in the future after the tricks Morten shows you. And lastly, understanding the Quick Tag Selector, Intellisense, and a brief look at the Tag Properties panel.

Part 4: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Basics in Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of four lessons and is just the beginning of Morten’s discussion and tutorials on CSS. Here you will get an introduction to using CSS as part of your website and some tips on best practices you can follow. He also covers using the CSS tools within Expression Web and gives you practical examples for using CSS. One lesson is an excellent discussion of the CSS Reset, what it is and how to use it. Wish I had this when I first started. Another lesson is an excellent discussion on the CSS box model including padding, margins, borders and floats. You really need to understand this to work with CSS. The last lesson in this section allows you to work with practical examples to style your project.

Part 5: Advanced Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of three lessons and covers creating actual layouts using the boxes model and then adding the styling for the layouts. Morten also covers positioning and CSS inheritance in this series of lessons. You really need to understand these concepts to create your layouts.

Part 6: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Menus in Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of three lessons and covers adding menus to your layouts, both vertical, horizontal, and horizontal with dropdowns. He also touches on using some of the enhancements offered with CSS3 but allows them to gracefully degrade for older browsers. For both the horizontal menus he demonstrates, he uses absolute positioning which to me is more advanced and if not understood, can break the menu.

Part 7: Dynamic Web Templates and Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of two lessons and covers the creation and use of Dynamic Web Templates. He also discusses using a DWT for site management. When I watched this section fo the video, I thought he had left something out which he did and I even fired off an email to tell him so. Alas, as I watched the final part of the video series, I realized why it was not included. You will see to if you watch the series.

Part 8: Beyond the Basics of Microsoft Expression Web 4 consists of four lessons and covers inserting Flash and other media content into your pages. He also answered my question on why I could not get me pages to validate when using Flash so that I will no longer worry so much about it. He cover browser testing your site and using both Snapshot and SuperPreview. Finally, he covers using the Search Engine Optimization features of Expression Web 4 and publishing your site to the Web. I picked up some good tips here.

All in all I found it an excellent resource in learning Expression Web even though I had been using the program from when it was first released as a Beta product. I would highly recommend Microsoft Expression Web 4 LiveLessons (Video Training). I just checked (12-07-2010) and it is still available for $20. with free shipping.

Great job Morten!!

Last Chance – Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web Ebook on Sale

Monday, November 2nd will bring an end to our Summer Sale of the Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook priced at only $22. Regular price for the EBook is $29. Purchasing the book entitles you to F REE upgrades when the book is revised. You can receive the notifications by signing up for the Yahoo group which notifies all EBook owners (who register) that the newest revision has been posted.

Tina and I are in the process of revising the EBook to include more information on how to do things with the newly released Expression Web 3.0. Purchasing the EBook also gives you access to the F REE template packages. The newest template package, Misty Morn, includes not one but three separate layouts which make use of the maximum width property AND the javascript file that allows Internet Explorer 6 and below to recognize the property. The package also includes a working form, based on James Huggins’ Email Form Script that you can customize with your own information.

Take advantage of this sale to obtain your copy of the Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook priced at only $22 AND the F REE revision coming out Monday.

Remember, the SALE ENDS Monday, November 2nd so hurry over now and get your copy of Migrating from FrontPage to Expression Web EBook for the low price of $22.