Expressive Sculptor

Published 9 years, 11 months ago

For those of you using Microsoft Expression Web, a free pre-release trial version of CSS Sculptor for Expression Web was announced by the WebAssist folks on Wednesday at MIX08.  So now you don’t have to put up with those snooty Dreamweaver users throwing you the mëtäl hörns every chance they get—throw ’em right back!  Røck!

If you’re curious about CSS Sculptor, I posted in some detail about it when it was first released in August 2007, and there’s of course plenty of enthusiastic copy about it on the WebAssist site.

One thing that’s different about the Expression version as compared to the Dreamweaver version is that it doesn’t have an “Apply” button to apply the input CSS ito the preview window.  Instead, changes are instantly reflected in the little preview.  It’ll be interesting to see how users react to that, since it could mean that the previewed design shatters as the CSS is updated, and then snaps back together upon further changes.  Is that good or bad tool usability?  Hard to say; it could scare people into undoing the shatter-change and never pushing forward, but it could also help users more quickly gain a deeper understanding of CSS by seeing how things come apart and then go back together.  I guess we’ll find out!


  1. There are times when live CSS update would be nice but others when you would want to turn it off, especially when working with gross layout settings. If an option is to be provided at all, it will probably be one of the “CHECK to turn OFF this feature” settings helpfully buried among the typical “CHECK to turn ON this feature” settings.

  2. Insta-preview is how HTML Kit does it. I don’t know how many people are still using it (years without an update kinda sucked) but I know for a while it was popular and people did not seem to be too terribly confused.

  3. Will this tool be available in any open-source applications?

    Microsoft and Adobe products are far too clunky for my taste … it would be nice to see your contribution to CSS added to tools like BlueFish, or OpenOffice.org.

  4. Or NVU, or Zend!!

  5. There is a bug in the CSS Sculptor for Expression Web.

    The two axis positions for a background image give you these option;

    Horizontal: [empty], left, center, right, (value)
    Verticial: [empty], left, center, right, (value)

    Was hoping to get a “Top left”, or “left top”, but the CSS is:

    background-position: left left;

    I have only used this for 5 minutes and I found a bug – has this thing been vetted?

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