Do I need a license for Microsoft Blend for visual studio if I already have the license for visual studio? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've got the license for vs2015, can I use blend as part of it or do i need to buy blend also?
    Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:32 PM

All replies

  • This is a case of product naming confusion Expression Blend is different from Microsoft Blend.  Expression Blend is a discontinued product (since 2011).  As far as I know Microsoft Blend that goes with Visual Studio is a free product. 
    Friday, March 16, 2018 12:28 PM
  • Very, very small nit to pick on that—it is a free product for those versions of Visual Studio that are free (e.g. Community, Express, etc.), but would logically have to be considered a paid product for those versions of Visual Studio which are paid versions (e.g. Professional, Enterprise, etc.).

    Basically, it is an included product, no matter which version of Visual Studio you're using, and does not require separate licensing, regardless of the licensing model of VS Studio under discussion.  ;-)

    It should be noted that if you can get your hands on the full version of Expression Blend + Sketchflow you will have a number of additional capabilities and ease of use features that do not exist in the version included with Visual Studio, especially in regard to UI development. For example, from the User Guide:

    You can import Adobe Photoshop (.psd) and Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files directly into an open document in your Microsoft Expression Blend project. Expression Blend imports Photoshop and Illustrator features in the following ways:

    • Layers   Expression Blend preserves layer names, importing the layers as individual objects and layout containers to make them easy to work with. When importing Photoshop files, you can view layers, rename layers, and select which layers to import

    • Layer effects   If a layer effect has been applied to a layer, the Layer effect icon Transition effect iconappears next to the layer in the Import Adobe Photoshop File dialog box. A layer effect can be imported either by selecting the Flattened bitmap import option or by merging the layer with other layers.

    • Adjustment layers   When you are importing Photoshop files, adjustment layers can be imported by merging them with any layers underneath them to preserve the appearance of your art.

    • Text   When you are importing Photoshop files, text can be imported as editable text objects or as flat bitmap images.

    • Vectors   Vector art can be imported as editable path objects or as flattened images.

    • Blend modes   When you are importing Photoshop files, layers that contain blend modes can be merged to preserve the appearance of your art.

    • Gradients   Linear and radial gradients remain editable after they are imported. Other kinds of fills are rasterized. Color stops are imported as gradient brushes to the Fill property of the resulting object in Expression Blend, and opacity stops are imported as gradient brushes to the OpacityMask property.

    • Patterns   Patterns are imported as images.

    Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that this feature (and the ability to work with Adobe Illustrator ".ai" files) is missing from the Visual Studio version, and is quite handy during UI development. There are many other features as well, and that's not even mentioning the ability to completely prototype an application using Sketchflow....

    Anyway, Expression Studio 4 Ultimate is still available if you're interested in buying it. 'Taint cheap, but then, if you anticipate doing a great deal of work with Blend projects, it could be worth its cost to you. How much time (and hassle) could it save you? And if you declare business expenses, it can be expensed and the cost comes right off the top of revenue, reducing its cost by the amount of your marginal tax rate on that cost. For the example above, if your marginal rate is 25%, then your net cost is $355 - 25% ($88.75) =  $266.25. Still not cheap, but much cheaper than buying Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate, which do include the full Blend + Sketchflow (no longer "Expression" branded). Think about it...  ;-)


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    • Edited by paladyn Friday, March 16, 2018 7:46 PM
    Friday, March 16, 2018 7:33 PM