Marching towards the Blend 3 Beta

The last few weeks (or months) have been really hectic! We finally finished all the features that we wanted to add to Blend 3, and are now actively fixing all the feedback (read bugs and crashes :)) that you have been reporting to us, as well as making performance tweaks to the product to make things work really well end-to-end. Please keep the feedback coming - we really appreciate it.

Here is a (random, off the top of my head) sneak peak into some of the new features we are adding to Blend 3 in the upcoming release, since the last Blend 3 Preview:

  • A completely re-designed Asset Library: This is by far the biggest addition to Blend, and I am sure you will love it - after all, its dockable! More information on this later.
  • The sample data system now allows you to specify custom objects (like Brushes and your business objects), that just completely opens up the Blend sample data system for developers to better enable designers. I will post a sample of this shortly. In addition to this, we also added support for TreeView and binding to recursive collections.
  • Project pane search - you can easily find the files in your project, similar to what you would do for properties.
  • Find in Files - this allows you to search for information across files.
  • Better paste functionality - we now allow you to paste images from the clipboard.
  • You no longer need to build your projects to preview changes to UserControls.
  • Marquee selection of keyframes that allows you to select multiple keyframes easily in the animation window.
  • A lot more functionality to make Behaviors even more easy to create and use like an easier way to pick elements, re-use the element, storyboard and state pickers, etc. This is addition to newer set of Behaviors and Actions that will be available out-of-the-box.
  • State editing experience - we now allow you to view previews of transitions on the design surface as you switch between states.
  • FluidLayout is a new feature that we a adding that allows you to design animated, dynamic layout experiences.
  • Support for out-of-browser Silverlight applications.
  • A much improved, highly performant, XAML editing experience that is robust to the typing experience (i.e. a design surface does not throw exceptions or blanks out as you type in the XAML, and one that allows you to work with an element even when an exception is thrown so you could correct your errors in the UI).
  • A Blend SDK that allows for Blend created projects to be portable between designers and developers without actually requiring a Blend install.

In addition, we also spent a significant amount of time polishing up the Blend UI. Just simple things that required attention to detail and will make your overall experience with the product enjoyable - hope you will like them.

Watch out Christian's blog for the SketchFlow additions - I think SketchFlow is clearly the crown jewel of Blend 3. We also spent a significant amount of time polishing up the Blend UI, and hope you will like the improvments.

Really looking forward to June and your feedback!