Microsoft Blend for Visual Studio is a free add-in to Microsoft Expression Blend and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. It allows developers to design and create applications using both Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight technologies in an integrated, end-to-end environment.


Microsoft Blend for Visual Studio is a powerful interactive, WYSIWYG front-end for designing XAML-based interfaces for Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight, and UWP applications at their core. It's a tool that helps you create XAML-based Windows and web applications. It has the same basic XAML design capabilities as Visual Studio, but it also includes visual designers for more complicated activities such as animations. Blend allows you to create a UI by dragging and dropping visual elements onto the design surface. Utilizing IntelliSense, Blend will attempt to guess what you're doing and offer appropriate controls based on your actions. It also offers full support for Microsoft Visual Studio solutions and projects, so it can integrate into an existing development process just as seamlessly as Visual Studio does.


The blend is similar to Visual Studio, but with a focus on design and prototyping rather than development. It can be used as a standalone application or as an add-on for Visual Studio 2008 and 2010. While Blend's visual interface and tools may seem comparable to those found in Adobe Fireworks, it also features XAML IntelliSense and debugging.


How do I use Microsoft Blend?

 

You can download Microsoft Blend from the Windows Dev Center. It requires either Microsoft Expression Blend or Visual Studio 2008 to run.


System Requirements for Microsoft Blend:


- Microsoft Windows 7, Vista SP2, XP SP3, Server 2008 - 32 bit (x86) and 64 bit (x64) editions - Visual Studio 2008 Professional or better with Service Pack 1 or 2, Visual Studio 2010 Professional or better with Service Pack 1 installed and one of the following: * Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2008 * Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2010 * Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 To create WPF and UWP applications using the XAML designer in Microsoft Blend 4.0, you will also need to install the free Update for Universal C Runtime in Windows.

 

Microsoft Blend 4.0 for Visual Studio 2012 is a powerful interactive, WYSIWYG front-end for designing XAML-based interfaces for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) projects at their core. It's a tool that helps you create XAML-based Windows applications using visual tools to drag/drop controls onto the design surface. Blends' most powerful feature is its ability to preview controls within the context of your entire application layout as it is being designed, allowing developers to instantly see how changes affect an application's overall look and feel. Microsoft Blend has full support for Visual Studio solutions and projects so that designers can seamlessly integrate into existing development processes just as easily as Visual Studio does.


Advantages of Microsoft Blend

 

  • Enhanced XAML IntelliSense - Designers can see how application changes affect the layout
  • Dragging controls onto the design surface will automatically generate the necessary XAML
    Disadvantages of Microsoft Blend
  • - It currently does not support Windows 7 or 64-bit applications - Not compatible with Visual Studio 2012
    Microsoft Blend 4.0 is an integrated, end-to-end environment for designing Silverlight and WPF applications at their core. It's a tool that helps you create Silverlight, WPF, Windows Store apps using visual tools to drag/drop controls onto the design surface. Blends' most powerful feature is its ability to preview controls within the context of your entire application layout as it is being designed, allowing developers to instantly see how changes affect an application's overall look and feel. Microsoft Blend has full support for Visual Studio solutions and projects so that designers can seamlessly integrate into existing development processes just as easily as Visual Studio does.

Conclusion


Microsoft Blend 4.0 is a powerful tool for designing Silverlight and WPF applications using visual tools to drag/drop controls onto the design surface while being able to instantly see how changes affect an application's overall look and feel. Microsoft Blend has full support for Visual Studio solutions and projects so that designers can seamlessly integrate into existing development processes just as easily as Visual Studio does.