Since it's introduction in 1998, Macromedia Fireworks
has been the leading edge in web graphics design. It was the first
application to be dedicated to web graphics, providing tools for
creation, optimization, and exporting all in one program. The new
version is no exception, and adds even more enhancements to the
design process. It's close integration with Dreamweaver has made
it even more so. Add seamless vector and bitmap integration, including
photo editing tools and built-in effects that rival third party
plugin quality, and Fireworks is a superior tool.
Macromedia has worked to perfect adding popup menus, navbars,
and rollovers, and in Fireworks MX 2004 adding them is as easy
as clicking a mouse, without having to know any java script All
images for navbars and buttons are automatically generated, along
with the java script needed to run them, and the files can be
edited in Dreamweaver. Roundtripping with Dreamweaver is better
and more reliable than ever, so you don't waste time fixing broken
code when working between the two programs.
Tighter integration with not only Dreamweaver MX 2004 but also
with Freehand MX and Flash MX 2004 expand your choices for design.
New bitmap and vector tools also make Fireworks more robust.
By utilizing the same Check In-Check Out functions as Dreamweaver
and Flash, you don't have to worry about overwriting colleagues'
changes, or them overwriting yours. Roundtripping is better than
before, now handling server-side code as well as nested tables.
Let's look at some of the new features and see why I like this
upgrade, and why I think you will too.
FWMX 2004 has a new start page like the one in Dreamweaver.
This new version of Fireworks has been newly engineered to be
faster than ever, and can handle large images much easier than
before, making tasks like scaling and using brushes much faster
You will also save time with new intuitive innovations, like
automatically saving files in their original format. Choosing
textures, fills and brushes in the Property Inspector is easier
with new graphical previews.
Customizing workspace is easy. The panels can be docked. moved,
floated, grouped, and ungrouped to meet your needs, and by using
Panel Layout Sets in the Command menu you can save the panel
layouts to load again later. Panels can be easily hidden or shown
with a keyboard shortcut (Tab or F4) or by View > Hide Panels
giving you more space to work whenever you need it. In Windows,
you have the option to show and hide toolbars from the Windows > Toolbars
Keyboard shortcuts can also be customized from Edit > Keyboard
Shortcuts, giving you nearly complete control over the way you
A new Fit Canvas button on the Canvas properties makes sizing
the canvas easier than using the Modify menu (which is still
there if you prefer it).
Graphical previews in the property inspector make choosing the
right brush, texture, or pattern much easier.
Exporting made fast and easy
One click exports make sending your images, menus or java script
directly to Dreamweaver, Freehand, Flash, Director or even third
party applications a breeze. The Export to button on the top
right of every image window lets you choose where to export the
files to: choose not only Macromedia applications, but third
party applications as well, or preview in your choice of browser.
Add more realism to your vector objects with contour
gradients, first introduced in Freehand. With contour gradients,
the gradient colors follow the outline of your shape. Be aware
that these are extremely processor intensive and are rather slow
to apply compared to other fill options.
Dashed strokes are now an option in Fireworks just
like in FreeHand and Flash.
Using the new Smart Shapes tool, you can create preset shapes
and edit them using the vector tools.
Smart shapes can be quickly added by dragging and dropping from
the new Shapes panel to any FWMX 2004 document, and edited using
the vector tools, or you can even apply styles.