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Early look at Microsoft Web design tool

A free community technology preview of Expression Web Designer, a tool for building standards-based Web sites, is available.

Microsoft released on Monday a free early version, or "community technology preview," of its Microsoft Expression Web Designer, used for building Web sites. It released early editions of the other two products in the Expression suite earlier this year. All three are expected to be completed early in 2007.

Microsoft is in the process of moving from one Web design tool, FrontPage, to two programs based on that technology--Expression Web Designer and Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. With the Expression line, it hopes to appeal to designers and illustrators with tools meant to make it easier for them to work with developers of back-end applications. Expression Web Designer will allow developers to build standards-based Web sites, and it will have close integration with Microsoft's ASP.NET 2.0 server software, Microsoft said.