Saw a tweet yesterday from my buddy, Microsoft’s Doug Olson, that said, “Getting ready for a very exciting day tomorrow — the culmination of why I am working at Microsoft.” He was either finally getting a free Zune, he’d completed that Redmond, WA to White Bear Lake, MN fun run, or his group was going to ship a major release. I suspected the latter so pinged him right away and he emailed me a bit ago since he’s in the midst of launching now.
Doug is the Product Unit GM of the Expression group (who recently put in place a Microsoft engineering office in St. Paul), is today launching Silverlight and Expression 3 at a press event in San Francisco. It’s a big day for his main product, Expression Blend 3, which finally gets to the point where is it very competitive with Flash & Flex. Not only that, but Microsoft is including a major innovation with it called SketchFlow (here is a good overview of it) which is getting tons of buzz and changing the way folks think about conceptual design (prototyping).
One other note: SketchFlow, and another big-deal feature (fully enabled Photoshop file format support, apparently done better than even Adobe’s Flash CS4 does it) have both come out of the team based right here in St. Paul lead by Bob Pappas and Rick Keeney.