Today, I have the great pleasure to announce the latest release of Blend. In this release cycle, our big focus has been Windows 8: Blend now supports UX authoring not just for store apps written in XAML, but also for those written in HTML.
We want to make it really easy for you to create great apps for Windows 8. Therefore, we are now including Blend with Visual Studio 2012, including the free Express for Windows 8 version for authoring Win 8 store apps. With one fast download and install you get VS for your coding-centric tasks and Blend for visual authoring.
Visual Studio 2012 and Blend can be downloaded from MSDN today if you’re an MSDN Subscriber. You can also download the free Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8, which includes Blend, or free trial versions of Visual Studio 2012 with Blend today.
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 supports XAML store apps with great support for Win 8 features such as app bars, Grid view, and view states. Blend also adds native C++ app development to its repertoire. Also, with the release of VS 2012, the XAML design surface in VS is now built on the same code base as Blend, improving workflow and interoperability.
Completely new in Blend is visual authoring for HTML and CSS, especially for Windows 8 store apps.
Blend is a unique, innovative and exciting authoring tool with rich visual tools. It gives you great tools to create, edit and diagnose CSS, supporting some of the latest CSS standards, including CSS Grid, Gradients, Transitions, and media queries. Blend creates clean and standard-conformant markup.
In summary, Blend for HTML makes visual authoring of HTML, CSS and WinJS productive, fast, and fun again.
As said above, this release is focused on store apps for Windows 8. We are also working on support for WPF, Silverlight and SketchFlow compatible with VS 2012. A preview is available for download. Please keep in mind that it is intended for evaluation and feedback only.
For production work, please use the following releases:
Blend for Production
|Windows 8 Store (XAML and HTML)||Blend for Visual Studio 2012
(included in VS Express for Windows 8 and in VS 2012 Pro/Premium/Ultimate)
|SketchFlow Project||Blend 4|
|Silverlight 4 and earlier||Blend 4|
|Silverlight 5||Blend Preview for Silverlight 5|
|Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.0||Windows Phone SDK 7.1 (includes Blend for Windows Phone)|
Blend for Visual Studio is a great visual authoring tool for Windows store apps in XAML and HTML. It is the most accessible version of Blend ever, available with the free Windows 8 development tools, as well as all other packages of Visual Studio 2012.
There is a lot to explore. Please download it and give it a try. We are eagerly looking forward to your feedback.