We reported a few days ago that the release candidate of Silverlight 5 was available for download but without any Expression Blend support. This has now been rectified and you can download Expression Blend Preview for Silverlight 5.
It provides support for creating Silverlight 5 projects, including Silverlight 5 SketchFlow projects and it installs side-by-side with Expression Blend 4. This is a good thing as the new version only works with Silverlight 5 projects.
Although Visual Studio is usually thought of as the main development tool for .NET and Silverlight in particular, Expression Blend is rapidly becoming much more than just a design package. There are many things that you can do in Expression Blend that take a lot more effort in Visual Studio. It is also likely that in the new world of Windows 8, Expression Blend will be the main design tool for application development using XAML as markup in a wider context Perhaps what Blend will develop into is something that acts as a translator for XAML into other markup languages, such as HTML5, as part of the new approach to UI construction in Windows 8.
It has to be admitted that much of this is speculation based on a careful reading of what little information has been made available from Microsoft. However, the Build conference is just a week away (starting September 13) and things should be clearer after this. It is probably no accident that both Silverlight 5 (see the video below) and now Expression Blend 5 have been released before the conference.
You can download the Silverlight 5 version of Expression Blend from:
Microsoft Expression Blend Preview for Silverlight 5
Silverlight 5 arrives for developers
Silverlight better than HTML5?
Silverlight 5 beta download
Silverlight 5 beta announced
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