Had no time to blog – work really takes all my time nowadays (and “nowanights” too :)…
Microsoft has finally released a newer version of Expression Blend. Now it is called Expression Blend 2 SP1 Preview or Expression Blend 2 SP1 RC Preview, depending on where on Microsoft’s site you are reading it, hinting that we will likely get the final release version rather sooner than later (in a month or two, who knows?). This is the version that marks the end of Expression Blend 2.5 CTP – Microsoft will not release newer versions of 2.5 CTP anymore; instead, all 2.5 features migrated to Blend 2 SP1, which is not bad IMHO.
I had not much time to play with it so far, but what I have seen looks really promising. For example, Blend finally stopped crashing all the time in case there were errors in XAMLs (or rather in code-behind); now it is displaying meaningful error messages about these problems, so you finally get a chance to fix it. Of course, there are still many problems which Microsoft most likely will not fix in this release anymore. For example, the Resources pane really sucks big time: if you have many resource files (and you have them if you are skinning your app), it is virtually impossible to navigate in them – they are sorted in weird order known only to Microsoft itself (or, maybe, it is just random?), and there is no way to do anything about it, e.g. sort them in alpha order.
In any case, it is really big step in the right direction. I would recommend to move to 2.0 SP1 ASAP in case you are using 2.5 CTP and developing WPF applications (cannot say about Silverlight/Silverlight 2 as I am not using those).