‘Simple’ Hello World in Microsoft Expression Web Beta 1

A recent look at Expression Web Beta 1 has left me with more grey hairs than I had before.

After installing the app and firing it up for the first time, the interface looks nice and invites you to start playing.  The split pane view between Design and ‘code’ view is nice, the fact that there is synchronisation between the two panes is great, non designer peeps will get a better Idea what goes on ‘under the hood’.

The real pain starts when someone like me, who is used to developing in Visual Studio, comes along and wants to try something a bit more adventurous than slapping a photo on a page and typing some text.  how about a bit of Hello World… the basic entry point for every developer in any language.

So, I drag an ASP.Net button onto the page, follow that up with a label.  Double click the button to get my OnClick Event… i said: double click the button to get the OnClick event!… Okay…. click the button once, go set the event through the events panel… erm… where the heck is the events panel?  how do I add an event to my button?

After trawling through the not a big ‘help’ and every menu and tab, I eventually called for some input from fellow developers in the same room… Thankfully one of them is still stuck in the stone-age and he remembered that you can add a C# <script> block to run script on a page.  So eventually this is the resulting ‘code’ from the page that eventually gets you an event.:

public void Test(object sender, EventArgs e)
Label1.Text = "Hello World";

This needs to be wrapped in: <script runat=”server” type=”text/c#”></script>  The runat=”server” bit needs to be there to get the C# code to fire and you’ll notice it’s not going to come up in the intellisense. 

I dunno! It seems like a real pain to me, ASP.Net pages are not going to be easy to put together in Expression Web as the Visual Studio 2005 Environments. Now that kinda makes perfect sense ASP.Net is a server development technology and Visual Studio 2005 is a development Environment. But why bother putting ASP.Net into Expression Web and spinning us all the marketing Yarn that you can develop ASP.Net pages with the same power as Visual Studio when you clearly can’t!
Another fine example of the Microsoft Marketing engine going into overdrive i guess…

It is of course perfectly possible I have completely overlooked the obvious and missed out something in my 1.5 hour ‘play’ with Expression Web, if so, feel free to put the record straight.


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