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Centigrade enlisted in the Microsoft® Agency Partner Program

June 2nd, 2009

Centigrade Icon Design SampleCentigrade announces that the company is enlisted in the Microsoft Agency Partner Program and has been added as such to the official German Microsoft Expression website.
As partner, Centigrade provides WPF and Silverlight design and development services to its customers.

Thomas Immich, Managing Director of Centigrade: “Since we always strive towards providing our clients with state of the art and tailor made services, it was only consequent to include the Microsoft Expression product line in our user interface design toolbox. By doing so, we can react flexibly to our clients’ requests.”

Microsoft Expression Studio enables a better collaboration between visual GUI designers and developers thanks to the fact that design artifacts such as component styles, colors, fonts and layout information are authored and described in one single well-concerted tool family. Design artifacts are described in XML, more precisely in a Microsoft proprietary dialect called XAML, which makes it very convenient for developers to use them for further programmatic usage (e.g. for adding presentation logic). Designers on the other hand do not need to understand the technical details of creating XML descriptions – they can use tools such as Expression Design or Expression Blend™ to create design artifacts easily with a direct manipulation GUI which they are accustomed to while the according XML representation is created automatically in the background.

A key factor, however, for a successful practical usage in an everyday GUI creation process is the possibility of round-trip collaboration: changes of visual artifacts (conducted by a designer) directly affect the XML representation used by a developer while changes of the XML (conducted by a developer) are immediately reflected in the visual designer’s artifacts. This allows software development companies with little or no GUI development resources to economically transfer GUI design work to external user interface design service providers such as Centigrade with minimal communication overhead.

“With Microsoft Expression Blend, we can reduce the documentation effort on the design side while at the same time shortening implementation effort and avoiding unintended interpretations of our design proposals on the developer side.” Thomas Immich states.

Microsoft just recently announced that a preview of Expression 3 is waiting in the wings. The upcoming version promises improved prototyping capabilities to facilitate iterative designs as they are common in user-centered design processes. “We are pleased to see that Microsoft has recognized user-centered design as a state-of-the-art process. Expression 3 is going to align user-centered design with classical software development in an unprecedented way.”

A preview on Expression 3 is available for download on the official Microsoft website.

Microsoft, Expression, Expression Blend, Expression Design, Windows and Silverlight are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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