Expression show-stopper… bummer

I’ve always been extremely interested in what goes on in the Web Design tools space.  I remember when Adobe came out with PageMill back in the mid-90’s, making great waves in that direction.  I then became a fan of FrontPage when they released their ’97 and ’98 versions.  However, FrontPage fell out of favor rather quickly when it became a crutch for people who had no business designing web sites, as well as generating it’s Extension-needed, non-standard, we’ll-wipe-out-your-code behavior.  I quickly switched over to Dreamweaver and didn’t look back… until a few months ago.

I became intrigued with the work Microsoft has been doing in the Expression Web space, and was delighted when they made it part of their MSDN Subscription tools.  It’s not that I’ve grown tired of Dreamweaver, but more of that “grass is greener” interest.  However, my interest abruptly halted when I realized that Expression – for all of it’s touting of standards and non-mucking of code (being the anti-Frontpage) –  still doesn’t support one of the most basic features: specifying a virtual path to root in links & references (like a stylesheet or menu).  Basically this removes any of the WYSIWYG and interactive functionality, which leads to the question: why would I want to be using this program again?

I can appreciate not trying to duplicate every competitor function, but when other market leaders like DreamWeaver & GoLive both support this function, how have you been ignoring this for so long?  This is the second-highest rated bug in their “Connect” feedback site, used to log bugs.  What’s disappointing is that MS came out with the beta of Expression 2, but that feature is still nowhere to be found.  Moreover, there’s an acknowledgement that it’s not really on their roadmap just being “considered” for a “future version”.

It’s unfortunate to see an application with so much potential be plagued by their inability to incorporate the most essential features to be competitive.  It’s too bad, designers may have liked this tool.