7 Reasons Why I Choose Fireworks Over Photoshop

My name is Russell McGovern and I use Fireworks to design websites. There, I said it. I could be wrong, but it feels like I’m in a small minority; among web designers, the application of choice seems to be Photoshop.

Agencies send me PSD files at work and ask for them in return; design blogs are full of Photoshop tips, tutorials and templates; other designers request the Photoshop files that they assume I must have used to build elements.

It’s almost like being a second-class citizen. It’s like the only tool a truly professional designer would dream of using is Photoshop—the software equivalent of choosing a Mac over a PC.

Yet Photoshop is not the only option. I’ve used Fireworks for many years now and find it to be by far the easiest and fastest way to get ideas out of my head and into pixels on the screen.

Let me be clear: I am in no way dismissing Photoshop or those who choose to use it. I use it for plenty of tasks. Personal preference is the most important factor when selecting your tools, and if your preference is Photoshop, then that’s what you should use.

Photoshop is a wonderful program, but its tool set is vast—it is used for a huge range of applications, from photo manipulation and illustration to 3-D modeling.

For most web design tasks, you would have no need for the majority of Photoshop’s features—indeed you might never know they exist. Fireworks, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up to deal with the visual side of web design, and all its tools and workflows were built with this in mind.

The following are some of my favorite things and reasons why Fireworks is my primary design tool:


1. Pixel-Perfect Control

Pixel perfect control

As far as I’m concerned, this is Fireworks’ killer feature. Want a 300 x 100 pixel rectangle? Just type in the values, and there it is—no messing with rulers, guides or measuring tools. Want to move it? Just click and drag, regardless of the layer you have selected—no hunting through nested layers and groups to find the right one.

Best yet, to give a rectangle rounded corners, just stick another value in a box, and boom: sorted! This may sound like an insignificant feature, and I know Photoshop does rounded rectangles, too, but in Fireworks you can specify the exact radius of the corners in pixels or a percentage and change these values whenever you like. If you resize the rectangle, then the corners maintain their proportions instead of stretching or compressing.

Fireworks is essentially object-based, which makes manipulating the elements in a design easy. You can see the pixel dimensions of an object or group of objects just by selecting them. Everything can be changed on the fly with absolute accuracy, so if something’s not quite right, you can tweak it until it is. This is so unlike the guessworkneeded  by Photoshop (“Let’s try this… No, that’s not right… Undo and try again.”).

In web design, where a single pixel error can ruin a layout, Fireworks provides a level of precision that makes setting up a design in certain dimensions and moving elements within it around as easy as possible.


2. The Web Layer

The web layer

The web layer combines image slicing, output file-type selection and optimization in a coherent and intuitive way. In fact, it might be the only contact that a lot of designers have with Fireworks; it’s an alternative to Photoshop’s slicing and export options or—from the pre-CS3 days—ImageReady.

There’s more to it than slicing, though. You can also set up links and roll-overs, and then output functional HTML straight from Fireworks; it’s not the cleanest code in the world, and you probably wouldn’t use it in a finished project, but for rapid prototyping or setting up a working mock-up, it’s a dream. By using the web layer in tandem with the Pages panel, you can create a working mock-up of an entire website without using any other applications.


3. Gradients


Everyone loves a nice gradient. Even for the strong-willed, these are something of a fiddle in Photoshop—but they are incredibly simple to apply and edit in Fireworks.

Control handles let you pull a gradient around inside an object, and you can manipulate gradients in more ways than Photoshop allows. This is a great example of something that Photoshop can do but that Fireworks makes faster, simpler and more intuitive.


4. The Learning Curve

The learning curve

For a newcomer to online design, Photoshop has to be one of the more daunting programs they will encounter.

Finding your way around and working out how to do something relatively simple can be difficult. While Fireworks is by no means a doddle, it is a lot easier to grasp.

Its tool set focuses on tasks specific to web design, and new users will find themselves creating usable work a lot sooner than they would in Photoshop.


5. Vector Tools

Vector tools

Fireworks has a comprehensive set of tools for editing vector graphics, which it allows you to do quite well alongside bitmap images. For most tasks, there’s no need to fire up Illustrator or whatever vector editor you use, thus saving time and effort.

Fireworks also offers a range of vector-based smart objects for ordinary shapes, polygons and stars, as well as things like cubes, cogwheels, flow charts and speech bubbles—each with various control handles that let you fiddle to your heart’s content.

Fireworks is fundamentally a web design tool, though, so everything is rendered in 72 DPI, including vectors (which normally disregard resolution). What you see on the document canvas is exactly what is exported, so you have absolute control over the final appearance of web graphics produced from vector sources—right down to the anti-aliasing on edges.


6. Pages, Symbols and Styles

Pages, Symbols and Styles

Fireworks’ Pages let you set up multiple layouts in the same document in a far more effective way than Photoshop’s layers. One Fireworks document can contain several pages, each of which contains its own set of layers. This allows you to mock up various page layouts in just one document and keep all related assets together (instead of spread out over a bunch of PSDs).

Symbols allow you to build a library of commonly used assets that can be dropped into a document when needed: company logos, buttons—any design element that you use repeatedly and need easy access to. Edit a symbol, and the changes are reflected wherever that symbol appears in your design—much like symbols in Flash.

Styles let you make universal changes across pages in a document. It’s basically CSS for Fireworks: make a change to a style, and all elements with that style will update accordingly (stroke and fill colors, fonts, effects, whatever). It’s great for trying out different color palettes or implementing those inevitable last-minute changes to a design.

When combined, these three features massively streamline and simplify the design process.


7. Price


It’s way cheaper than Photoshop!



I’m not saying that Fireworks does it all; there are many tasks for which you are better off using Photoshop or a dedicated vector editor. Similarly, I’m sure I could get better at using Photoshop as a web design tool; then I might not find it quite so annoying.

I don’t use Fireworks exclusively—I switch back and forth as needed—but it’s definitely my main tool.

Ultimately, there’s nothing that Fireworks can do that Photoshop can’t, but it can do a lot of things more efficiently, and it allows me to design websites faster and more easily.

As I said, it all boils down to personal preference, but if that little yellow “Fw” icon is sitting in your Start menu or dock, unclicked and unloved, I encourage you to give it a try and experiment a little. You might find that you like it.

Written by Russell McGovern, a web designer from London. You can follow him on Twitter.

Is anyone else out there a Fireworks devotee? Are there any Photoshop users who might want to give its little brother a go? Or should I just pack it up and put in more practice time with Photoshop?

  • http://www.jonwallacedesign.com Jon Wallace

    I was once in the same mindset as you on this one… but FW is just no reliable enough to competed with PSD – Your comments about being on the pixel are not true… FW has a horrid habit of pixel jumping small symbols when you double click to edit them on stage, repeat the process a few times and you are 10px away from where you were… The FW mice have moved your symbol for you!

    Both have PROS and CONS – neither is better than the other as they are different tools is the conclusion I have come to over the years! Pick the best one for the task you are working on!

    • m slaughter

      Fireworks IS faster, simpler and more efficient at mocking up a website than photoshop.
      90% of the features in Photoshop you never use for laying out a website or editing the images.
      Thankfully Adobe are adding more features to Fireworks aimed at making it THE tool for the WEB DESIGNER.
      Photoshop was designed as a PHOTO editing tool, and as such is brilliant. But for WEB design work it’s bloated and over rated. In fact Webdesignerdepot should have a comp to put together a web page using both tools…I know which one my money would be on

  • Paul Ehrenreich

    I am going to making the switch back to Fireworks for web work. Granted Photoshop is extremely powerful and I have seen people create some amazing work with it. But compared to Firework’s workflow, I just want to smash my head into the desk.

  • Paul

    As a developer, I actually think the save for Web is worse in Fireworks than Photoshop. If you have one slice on top of another, you have to delete the other slices or Fireworks tries to add it to the mix – even if it’s turned off. Seems to defeat the purpose of having web “layers”. Also does some weird things when you name a slice – you have to click somewhere else on the document for it to remember.

    Image Ready was the best, but as soon as Adobe took over Macromedia, development seems to be going backwards on both Photoshop and Fireworks.

    Anyway, I can see pluses for Fireworks as a designer now! So good article…

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

      @Paul, You do not have to delete the top slice. Simply move the top slice below the bottom slice and you’re good to go.

    • http://www.davidmcdonald.org David McDonald

      I have also noticed that in Fireworks, when you create a slice name, you need to click somewhere else in the document for the slice name to apply – is there a way around this or is this intentional?

      • squidz

        Yep…tab to the next field with your pinky. Though, I’ve never noticed slice name not taking. So maybe I do this automatically.

  • http://www.graphicrating.com/ Andy Gongea

    Even though this is an article that will start a comments debate, I will not comment all your points except for one – learning curve.

    In order to put learning curve on the table you must also explain that Photoshop comes with a lot more features and tools making it harder to digest for some persons. Even so, Photoshop has a wider adoption compared to any other graphic software including Fireworks.


  • http://www.nicolebauer.com Nicole Bauer

    Wow, actually that’s pretty impressive. I have Fireworks, but I never really used it, because I wasn’t sure what it should be good for. The features you showcased are defintely things I miss in Photoshop. I will go and try out Fireworks now. :) Thanks a lot!

    • http://www.bobbyadamson.com/ BobbyAdamson

      I’m with Nicole on this one. No one has ever encouraged me to even open Fireworks. While I’ve accidentally started it up a few times, I haven’t actually played around in it, but I think you’ve given me a reason to. I’ve become so comfortable with Photoshop that I may not switch permanently, but for rapid prototyping you’ve made a great argument!

    • http://desaindigital.com Jeprie

      I’m with you. I use Photoshop a lot for almost everything.
      The problem is I’m already familiar with Photoshop and learning another software is taking more time. I think I’ll just stick with Photoshop.

  • http://cloudpollen.com Neil

    Purely for the pixel perfect factor I choose fireworks, it’s quicker, lighter and far less hungry than PS.

  • http://www.simianstudios.com Kris Noble

    Well said! I’m a Fireworks user too, I find it much easier to use than Photoshop and consequently faster to get my ideas down. A lot of my design work happens in-browser nowadays but Fireworks is great for laying down the starting stages like the base grid and the main layout.

  • Ricardo Verhaeg

    Okay, fireworks has a lot of features that beats photoshop, but i miss (didn’t check the latest versions) some filter of photoshop. All I could create with fireworks were some plain websites without much realism or details that lead to that. Like using a brush to burn or lighten a color for my header or something.
    If they acomplished that I wouldn’t mind changing to fireworks.. (but would still use photoshop for some minor details XD)

    • http://www.ensowebdesign.com Ryan

      Richard, from my understanding Fireworks CS5 has implemented full support for Photoshop brushes. I have CS5, I just have not gotten around to trying out Fireworks yet. I read this in a different “Why Fireworks is Better” kind of article. :)

      • http://www.communitymx.com Jim Babbage

        Fireworks does NOT support Photoshop Brushes. They are not part of the application, but I’m sure they’ll import fine as graphics.

  • http://www.mediadog.co.uk Bren


    I’ve always known about these handy features of Firefox but seeing them in a list has made me realise Fireworks would suit my way of working better than Photoshop (which I’ve been using to design websites for over 10 years). Might take a bit of getting used to, but I reckon I could cut some serious design-time by using Fireworks… the Object Orientated nature of it makes so much more sense than PS – I’m forever having to copy & paste the same style to a load of layers and I always think ‘Why can’t I just name a style and change that and it applys across all the objects?’

    Many thanks for this article!!!!

  • Anriëtte Combrink

    I think I’m giving Fireworks a try in my next web banner. It might just surprise me, the easy editing of rounded corner rectangles won me over. I never gave Fireworks even a second glance after first opening it in CS and then deciding it looked like a watered down version of Photoshop.

    Thanks for the article, it really made me think about Fireworks in another way.

  • http://www.designsinflux.com John Vermaes

    I’m actually inclined to agree with you, so I must be in the minority as well. Whilst I will be the first to admit that I’m not a proper Graphic Designer by any stretch of the imagination, I do spend my fair share of time in graphics-related applications (Illustrator, Photoshop, and yes … Fireworks).

    I probably spend the majority of my time in Illustrator and Photoshop; however, I have found myself in Fireworks more and more when it comes to those “pixel-perfect” tweaks. I personally think that Fireworks is quite an acceptable alternative to Photoshop, due mostly to the reasons you outlined.

    I actually fully intend to start messing around with Fireworks a lot more often to see how far its limits can be pushed. On that note, I would definitely like to see more Fireworks-centric how-to guides and tutorials pop up in the wild in the future. Who knows … perhaps I can help with that.

  • http://www.suborganik.com Conor

    Nice article dude, cheers! I started out with Fireworks and completely avoided Photoshop at first because it’s a completely different animal, and it felt backwards to Fireworks. But now I only ever use Photoshop! :)

    With regard to “Want to move it? Just click and drag, regardless of the layer you have selected—no hunting through nested layers and groups to find the right one.”

    – If you want to turn this on in Photoshop, check the “Auto-Select” checkbox at the top left when you have the pointer tool selected. Now you can click and drag all you like. Also handy for selecting layers without having to hunt for em!

  • BSchildt

    I use FW almost exclusively for webdesign. Exactly for all of the reasons above (Except price, as my boss owns this computer… :-) ).

    I actually hate doing web layouts in PS. The whole thing is just so much harder. I love being able to know what the size of any element is just by clicking it. One click.

    I’m starting a new job next week and if they don’t have Fireworks I will have to try and convince them… :-) (About 300 Euros buys them at least an hour of productivity a day)

    Fireworks has kind of been Photoshop’s stepchild since Adobe bought Macromedia, but this latest version looks pretty good.

    PS: Ironically all the “related posts” are Photoshop this and Photoshop that….

  • Pascal Geronimi

    Thanks for spreading the word: FW is so much easier than PS to create interfaces for the web.

    Let’s use the right tool for the right job, not automatically PS because it’s the industry standard.

  • Chris Timberlake

    I feel the same way, I normally use Fireworks for all my rapid prototyping or by exporting designs. I find the slice features, and the per pixel modifications to be much easier and faster then Photoshop.

    Maybe someone should start a group for those who prefer Fireworks?

  • http://www.timo-ernst.net Timo

    Hey, that’s a great tip!

    I never touched Fireworks since I usually use Illustrator for my web design needs, which I often find to complicated to use.

    I’ll give Fireworks a try, I guess :-)

  • A-train

    Couldn’t agree more.. Fireworks is far superior for web/screen design. Macromedia forever! Adobe.. Meh!

    • http://www.jacovox.com jacobo villegas

      are you trolling? :p

      Adobe Photoshop
      Adobe Fireworks

      same father

      • http://pmjohnson.com Patrick Johnson

        Fireworks is adopted into the Adobe family, along with Dreamweaver and many others. So different parents.

        Fireworks and Dreamweaver will call Adobe; Adobe. Whereas Photoshop will call Adobe; daddy.

  • http://heinrich.posterous.com Heinrich

    Nice article.

    I have to admit I’ve tried using Fireworks and always tend to go back to Photoshop. I started out with Paintshop pro, when Jasc used to make it, and found it was not letting me do things Photoshop could. It was very daunting when I switched over to Photoshop because, as you rightly mentioned, the interface is a little intimidating. After using it for over 10 years now I simply couldn’t do without it.

    I suppose it does really boil down to personal preference , in most aspects, it’s really a case of how you have your app setup. I could probably work just as quickly as you can in FW if we sat side-by-side doing the same task. It’s knowing your keyboard shortcuts and how the app works, which in my opinion, makes you work slower or faster.


  • http://digimojo.net Martin Luff

    Absolutely agree… I was a longtime user of both PS and FW but always favoured FW for Web work. Such a great combination of vector and raster image editing features. I’d add my own reasons: great export fine tuning and comparison JPEG/PNG/GIF etc. plus can use pretty much most Photoshop plugins as live effects on vector or bitmap objects – including editable text and so forth.

  • http://www.eastdevonit.co.uk Dan

    This is in interesting piece

    I do often (or even most of the time!) feel that Photoshop is overly bloated for most tasks, other than very high end design…

    I’ve never considered Fireworks as an alternative though

    But after reading this I think I might give it a try

    But, can it import and export to psd files, so that we can interact with those who are married to Photoshop!!

    • http://blogs.adobe.com/sarthak Sarthak Singhal

      Fireworks can read and write psd files with greater control than ever before in CS5 version. Goto the Preferences dialog with PSD options to fine tune the import operation. Export option is controlled during the export operation “Options” dialog.

    • http://www.pxpush.com Stephen

      “But, can it import and export to psd files, so that we can interact with those who are married to Photoshop!!”

      Fireworks imports and exports .pdf files just fine. True story.

  • harveylimsponytail

    What a pleasure to come across this post. I have been a Fireworks user since Abobe 8, purely as the learning curve for creating a website design was so much quicker than in Photoshop.

    I’m not a designer, but a front-end developer and find myself using the PSD supplied to me from the creative teams, opening with Photoshop, switching relevant layers on and off, and then using the web layer in Fireworks as you highlighted in your article to get the precise image/dimensions I need for the CSS!

    There are a few tutorials around for creating images and things in Fireworks, but haven’t actually come across and useful/decent ones yet!

  • http://www.njwebdesign.co.za Nicole

    Finally somebody after my own heart, I love Fireworks and it takes far fewer steps to create the same thing as it does in Photoshop and you get the same results if not better, as well as having great compression when exporting images without losing quality.

    Great to hear that I am not alone in the use of Fireworks when conceptualising my websites. :)

  • Mitch

    Finally! Someone actually admitted it! Me too! I’ve used Fireworks almost exclusively for 6 years now, so much that I actually fear using Photoshop when I have to. FW is a brilliant program, and I can churn out the same high-end quality web work that PS users do. So happy to see this article.

  • http://blog.designing.cz Petr Stehlík

    Great article and reasons why web designers should switch on FW. I will switch soon.

  • http://www.igorsbrezinskis.com Igors Brezinskis

    I didn’t find Firework useful.
    I better prefer Photoshop.
    Thanks for post.

  • Guido

    Generally I also prefer the concept of Fireworks over Photoshop for webdesign tasks. But some versions (e.g. MX 2004 and CS4) had so many serious bugs, that it was nearly impossible to work with fireworks as a professional designer.

  • http://www.blazewebstudio.co.za/marketing_guide Geoffrey Gordon

    Amen Brother, I have started using fireworks a lot to design websites and agree with you totally, where would you suggest someone hone their skills in fireworks, like a tuts or tutorials area?

  • http://www.webdesignblog.com.br Adriano Trenahi

    Great Article, you really show us why fireworks it’s here.
    I prefer photoshop, but in ocasions i use fireworks too, i like make bottoms in fireworks, its so easy, simple and beaty.
    Thanks, for sharing.


  • Adam Jessop

    Great Post, I have always been a fireworks fan and found it much easier to progress from quick site mockups to full site designs.
    I have taken the time to learn aspects of photoshop purely because of industry and community pressure, but its not my tool of choice.

  • http://mkjones.co.uk mkjones

    Designer friend of mine swears FW is a + over PS for web design. I actually moved from FW to PS for web-work once they added the new vector, slicing and save-to-web features because back then FW was lacking in some key manipulation tools.

    Maybe I will take a look back. The pixel-perfect control looks like something that currently frustrates me in PS :)

    FYI – the twitter link is wrong: “http://http//www.twitter.com/russellmcgovern” too many http’s ;)

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

      Thanks fixed ;)

  • http://sumanshrestha.net suman

    nice article.
    i use both fireworks and photoshop for designing but fireworks definitely is my best tool, its very easy and effective; pixel perfect designing is what i love the most.

    though very low resources are available on the web about fireworks, its worth a try!

  • Nigel Upton

    I have been building web sites for 10 years and fireworks is the one tool i could not do without.

    Working in a company that also produces a large amount of print i often am greeted with looks of stupefied incredulity when i dare to suggest that Photoshop is not lord and master of all. But it isn’t.

    Nice article.

  • http://virtua-gallery.com kjpweb

    Interesting. Haven’t looked into Fireworks for years. From what you write it sure seems worth to give it a try.

  • http://www.itsolutions.co.za Donovan

    I completely agree. Not being a trained graphic designer when entering the web design industry, I have never had any formal training on Photoshop or Fireworks. When I started using Fireworks back in the Macromedia days, I immediately found it easier than Photoshop to get things done faster and without much of the hassle Photoshop has. I’ve never left…

  • Steve Lamb

    Great post. Ever since CS4 I too have been impressed with Adobe Fireworks. It feels like it was made for most of my web design task and a lot simpler to use. However, I keep firing up Photoshop because the majority of cool design tutorials are all demonstrated using Photoshop.

    I hope more users in the future, will create Fireworks based tuts.

  • http://fernandomarcosdesign.com Fernando Marcos

    I’ve been using Fireworks ever since someone forced me to open a Freehand proprietary file, and I’ve never looked back to use Photoshop for the initial prototyping.
    Of course i’d never dismiss Photoshop, those brushes come in handy once in a while, but being able to just click and drag any object and see what you’re actually messing with… is a time saver.

  • http://www.webturd.com Brow

    Finally someone else admits to it! I feel the same way as you do and mostly use Fireworks…have been for several years.

    I tend to leave the photo tweaking and print layout design up to photoshop when I need it.

  • http://trentrichardson.com trent

    I use Fw primarily too. I find it far easier for web related work. I wish it had just a few more features for exporting.. Far too often I’m asked to send over a .eps file and just doesn’t seem possible

  • http://www.designme.sk Marek

    I use Fireworks CS5 (using it since version MX) for all of my web design work. I can’t imagine using Photoshop for web design again. Feels so wrong. And the workflow in FW is just so much faster. Let’s hope more and more people will start using FW, because it is a great piece of SW.

  • http://www.creativeindividual.co.uk Laura

    Thanks for this post Russell. You know, I never understood what Fireworks was for… now I know better!

    As shocking as it might be, I actually use Illustrator when designing web layouts (I’m a freak I know!) – my very reasoning being that its very easy to make small changes to the layout, unlike Photoshop.

    However, now that you’ve pointed out that that’s one of the advantages of Fireworks, I’ll have to give it a go. Which means I’ll finally be using the right tool for the job, and be happy about it too! =D

    Great read, thanks

  • http://www.marcvonbrockdorff.com Marc von Brockdorff

    I agree completely – I started using it lately just because of that border issue (which is so annoying in PS) and have discovered several cool features. In fact, having used it, I’m surprised that almost all web designers I know of still use PS when FW was made just for web designers.

  • http://blog.kamarkecil.com Arif R.

    i’m agree with you…

  • http://ronlipke.com Ron L.

    Great article, Russell! As a beginner in web deisgn, I defaulted to using Photoshop since the majority of tutorials and tips online deal with it exclusively. But like many others, I found myself spending more time learning how to perform basic tasks than actually being productive.
    I’m going to try Fireworks and hope it has less friction. Thanks!

  • Damien

    Hi Russell,

    Thanks a lot for this article which shows many things I didn’t knew about FireWorks, things that are pretty neat.

    I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time and in fact it’s quite hard to train yourself when you start, but nothing is simple when you’re a beginner.

    I would like to give my opinion about the first point (even if my FireWorks knowledge is somewhat limited).

    In Photoshop you can do the same thing, creating at the pixel size the box you want and even the rounded corner size, you just need to add “px” after giving the size, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m not on my desktop so I can’t figure if I’m saying something dumb).

    The main concern is, when you’re done you can’t change the corner radius, that’s quite problematic.

    Just my little grain of salt in the engine…

    PS : By the way, I’m French, I hope I didn’t make too much mistakes.

  • http://3dpixel.net Simon Stevens

    I’ve been thinking about trying out Fireworks for a while yet for exactly the reasons why you prefer it over Photoshop. Unfortunately what’s holding me back is the learning curve at the moment, I simply don’t have the time to get to grips with it.

    I’d love to see a video article that shows a relatively complicated website being made in Fireworks, I imagine that would make the transition much easier for anyone like myself.

    Great article, many thanks

  • http://timgummerdesign.com Tim Gummer

    Heck, if you feel like a mutant for using Fireworks.. what does that make me?

    I agree that vector focus of FW (amongst other salient merits) makes this app vastly more suited to Web design than PS, but on the same basis, it’s dear old Freehand that is still my design tool of choice.

    I’d love to be able to get jiggy in FW, but Freehand’s top of the line vector tools, and wonderfully freely expandable artboard area allows me to be creative in a delightfully messy way. A way I can’t in Fireworks. I make a trade-off to accept imperfect rendering (limited basic shadowing, embossing etc) for greater freedom with vectors, the capability to throw stuff around a wider workspace, and the ability to work across both web and print (when necessary). Logically I should be able to do the same thing in illustrator – as since CS4 adobe finally allowed multiple ‘artboards’. Unfortunately illy still, in so many ways (that so many others have more eloquently detailed)..sucks.

    FWIW – yes I do still use FW – and thankfully Freehand files still migrate reasonably well into both FW and AI for a better quality rendered output – but Freehand is still the creative environment of choice.

    A great post though – thanks.

  • http://www.arminder.co.uk Arminder Dahul

    I have and will continue to use Fireworks, but the thing is I want to learn and move over to Photoshop. I feel I have to otherwise my designs won’t be so well received. For example the larger web backgrounds which have fancy brushes and effects aren’t possible in Fireworks.

    As you’ve pointed out learning Photoshop is a struggle, Fireworks is easier for the simple things.

  • http://www.bunac.org James

    I’ve been using Fireworks since Macromedia released version 1 – I love how simple it is to use, and how it quickly handles vectors and bitmaps.

    I think Photoshop is amazing, but I only ever use it for photo editing, never for website layouts! I really don’t know what I’d do if Adobe ever stopped developing Fireworks!!

  • Jason

    Yes! I believe I’m the other web developer that uses Fireworks. I’ve tried for many years to shift to Photoshop in order to be “more compatible” with colleagues, but I end up running back to FW for all the reasons you’ve listed here. I think many people are just unaware of the killer features which is why I appreciate your post. Hell, FW can even use PS filters!


    • http://blogs.adobe.com/sarthak Sarthak Singhal

      There is an option in Fireworks where a user can map the Ps effects to Fireworks effects. An advantage of using this scenario is freedom in changing the order in which the filters are applied.

  • http://empulsion.net Cosmin Negoita

    You made me buy Fireworks. It’s not so expensive :D

  • Paul

    I think you have a severe lack of understanding of the tools available in Photoshop.

    • http://www.pressthebigredbutton.co.uk Russ

      That may well be the case, I’m sure Photoshop can do everything Fw can and more – it’s just a heck of a lot simpler and more efficient for me to do these thing in Fireworks as it’s a purpose-built web graphics program rather than an all-encompassing image manipulator.

  • http://www.woony.be woony

    Finally someone that agrees with me :)
    I have been a fireworks devotee since mx2004 or something. It’s so much easier than photoshop as you say. I am no full-on designer as I am webdeveloper. But I do make the occasional basic website mockup.

    Another thing you didn’t really mention what I love about it, is like you say most of the times designers will deliver in .psd. And if you are not fond of complex apps like photoshop you can easily open .psd’s in fireworks and use the weblayer to do your slicing. So it is no problem getting a .psd from your designer and slicing it up in fireworks or change a few ‘pixel’-problems before you do in fireworks since adobe bought the whole macromediapack.

    It is just a superbly efficient application I couldn’t live without.

  • http://taprootstudios.com cielo

    Thanks for this. I’ve never really been able to work Fireworks into my workflow, because I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around when to use Fw over P-shop or illustrator. This gives me a much clearer vision! I’ll have to devote some time with Lynda. Just upgraded to CS5 so the timing is good.

  • Steven Gardner

    I just recently started using Fireworks at my new job (admittedly MX) but I can’t believe I haven’t used it before. Its so much more streamlined. I reckon I have cut my development time by 20-30% just by switching to fireworks. It makes designing web pages more enjoyable.
    I wish I had read this post years ago!
    Still have to use Photoshop in my own time and always notice the vast difference in development time and enjoyment.

    Photoshop is good for web comps! Fireworks is Great…

  • http://fireworks.abeall.com Aaron

    I’m a long-time Fireworks fan as well (evidenced by plenty of free FW extensions at my website!)

    The first time I used Fireworks I was just thrilled I could click on an object to select it! Live filters also was a big deal.

    Using Fireworks used to be sort of a dirty secret and I’d send people PSDs even though I authored it in Fireworks. Not anymore, though, most people are pretty curious about Fireworks, and I often tell people up front I will be working in Fireworks. I can use Photoshop, it’s just that once you do the same thing in half the time in Fireworks, it’s hard to go back. :)

  • http://www.webdevtuts.net/ Marcell Purham | Webdevtuts

    I think fireworks id fine but using it to create website I would think of it as another dreamweaver. I like photoshop because the site is just an image that you can later convert to an actual site. I also would not like for my links and stuff to be click able when designing so I think I will always use photoshop though if fireworks is your thing then go for it

  • http://stope32.deviantart.com stope

    And what about exstensive photo enhancement possibilities using Ps? What if I don’t restrict myself only to simple sites with vector design parts?

    • http://www.pressthebigredbutton.co.uk Russ

      Oh totally – always use the right tool for the job, and if you want to work with photographs or complex textures and brushes then Photoshop is your man. But I’ll always then import those elements into fireworks to incorporate them into the overall design.

  • http://www.bigredradish.com/ David Radford

    Thanks! This might just be the push I needed to start using Fireworks!

  • http://nvision-that.com nvisiondesigns

    You’ve just inspired me to give it a try…. hunting through my Applications folder right now (I removed it from my dock loooong ago). :)

  • http://www.optimiced.com Michel

    Excellent article!

    I could add almost nothing to this excellent write-up of the best features in Fireworks (except that I could perhaps shamelessly point to my own article on Fireworks, which discusses what’s new and what’s cool in version CS5).

    I am a web designer and I’ve been using Fireworks for many years now — for web and screen design, I can confirm that Fireworks is better than Photoshop: it’s faster and much more intuitive, it has superior vector tools, excellent (and easy to use) gradients, Pages/Layers/States, direct output to HTML/CSS/images (for interactive mockup purposes), excellent support for .ai/.psd files, and overall, much better learning curve. This is a versatile tool for screen/web design, and I’m glad that nowadays, a lot more designers become aware of the power in Adobe Fireworks! :)

  • http://www.evelt.com joel k

    to be honest, i spent so much time on photoshop that i do not like to here on any sort-comings of it :)

  • http://blog.echoenduring.com/ Matt Ward

    There seems to be a lot of Photoshop vs. Fireworks discussion out there these days. I’ve always used Photoshop, probably mostly because when I first got CS2, the package I had didn’t come with FireWorks, so I just did everything in Photoshop and Illustrator by default.

    Now, however, I do have FireWorks, and this post has convinced me to give it a try. The next site I design, I will endeavor to do as much of it as possible in FireWorks.

  • http://www.tonygil.com Tony Gil

    Great breakdown. It’s hard breaking away from what you’re used to, in this case Photoshop. But what you explained is true. Fireworks is better for layout. If folks forced themselves to use it to learn it, they would stay with it. I’m trying that now.

  • Felix

    Fireworks Rock!

    We can do it too :D

  • http://www.tylertermini.com Tyler Termini


    Well first I must say, I would love to use Fireworks. In my experience with it, it has proven to be the ultimate layout tool. BUT!

    But, I encountered problems with it, that after a while, really annoyed me.

    One, would be the color picker. It could not beat Photoshop’s more intuitive color selection tool. Fireworks either used the Windows color picker, or the General “Web Colors” swatch palette.

    Vectors are great with Fireworks, but better with Illustrator. I found the ease of use with vectors in Fireworks very nice, but nothing too special. Illustrator was definitely made for vectors, and every time I use it, I don’t come upon any weird glitches.

    Which brings me to my last reason: Photoshop (more than Illustrator) has been around longer, so it has had more time to be refined. I know this sounds silly, but while I used Fireworks, I encountered small bugs and glitches that Photoshop didn’t and never had. For example, In Fireworks, when I picked a color for the background of a layout, and didn’t like it, I decided to change the color slightly. Using the color picker native to Windows + FW, I chose a slightly lighter hue. I saved it as a swatch and applied it, and to my surprise it was the same exact color as before. I realized how much of a problem this was later on, as it did it continuously. I have no idea what this behavior is caused by, but I know that things ALWAYS worked the way they should in Photoshop.

    My 2 cents.

  • http://www.sanchezysanchez.net angel

    the only problem with fw is the known as “everybody use that”, so painfully, everybody uses psd to designing web layouts… i love psd too but…

  • Tuomas

    Nice article, makes me want to give Fireworks a shot. Hmm… glad I started following on Twitter, would have probably missed this one.

  • http://www.innerclick.com Jeff

    Great article of Photoshop vs Fireworks I have been designing for 17 years it took 10 years to start working with Fireworks. It took a hit in the head to get me to do it. but I did and I have never looked back.But photoshop is still one of my best tools for mock up on photos.and fireworks in gradients still problems but Fireworks in Dreamweiver that’s it.

  • http://www.aceeightofspades.com Justin Seidl

    I have to agree. I use Fireworks everyday to mock-up web designs. The main thing I like about Fireworks is the fact I don’t have to switch back and fourth between layers to change or move something. Just select and edit. Nice article.

  • http://twitter.com/jitendravyas jitendra vyas

    Which version of Fireworks and Photoshop you are comparing?

    As you mentioned

    “Photoshop is a wonderful program, but its tool set is vast—it is used for a huge range of applications, from photo manipulation and illustration to 3-D modeling.”

    If we don’t need illustration to 3-D modeling functions of photoshop then we can use older versions of photoshop.

    Although Your Article is good.

  • http://www.b5designs.com Brian Cody

    Couldn’t agree more! Long live Fireworks!

  • http://andrewziola.com Andrew Ziola

    Amen brother.

  • http://www.theresasheridan.com Theresa Sheridan

    You are my hero today! I don’t even OWN Photoshop (well, yet. I’m enrolled in college and I understand that’s my next class). Because of the incredible price difference, I started using Corel Graphics Suite a decade ago, along with Fireworks, and I can do everything that Photoshoppers can do. You’re right though, I try not to disclose this to very many people, because I usually am scolded for not having Photoshop.
    Don’t pack it in, stick to your guns cowboy, cuz I’m right there with ya!

  • SteamboatWillie

    I prefer hot skinny chicks over fat ones myself. Not saying fat girls don’t have their place too, but there is nothing like the fireworks of a hot skinny chick…

  • http://teresasdesk.com Teresa

    I just scanned through the article. I’ll go back and read it more closely later. It looks like it might be just what I need. Well, what I want. Just wanted to say I love your header! Fantastic colors and eye-catching details. Love it!

  • Pedro Agrelos

    My thoughts exactly!!!

    I tried several image programs before working with Fireworks, and I must say that the learning curve was a breeze for me :).

    The ability to work with vector based objects, adjust gradients anytime amongst other things makes your workflow very smooth.

    My honest opinion is that a web designer should use both: Photoshop is THE application for image manipulation/composition, but for building web layouts Fireworks fits like a glove!

    Stay well and keep spreading the fireworks!

  • http://www.eversonjp.com.br EversonJP

    Russell, I know exactly how you feel.
    I’m in the same place as you. I also work 100% with FW, since version 3.

    I think it’s the best software to work with design for websites. It’s fast, easy and a very powerful tool. Sadly, FW has a bad reputation with other designers.

    Like you said in the article, these points are some of the reasons why FW it’s better then PS. Thanks for that. It’s hard to find others who thought like you in this area.

  • http://www.eriktdesign.com Erik Teichmann

    I switched to Fireworks about a year ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It certainly has its foibles, but it makes much more sense from a practical standpoint. Now if we can just get Adobe to treat it like a first class project, we’ll be set!

  • http://jamescacchione.net James

    Nicely written article and while I agree with a lot of what you’ve written; most of the points are also aspects that I once thought were “difficult” or too “clumsy” in Photoshop. After a lot of frustration, a bit of practice and trial & error, I now find these tasks fairly simple and since CS4, in my opinion, the web design elements of Photoshop have vastly improved.

    The only thing that makes me fire up Fireworks instead of Photoshop is when I have some really arbitrary task to perform on a single image; like resizing it by a pixel or two… Fireworks trump on load time so gets the credit for that sort of routine only ;]

    Oh btw… you say “This allows you to mock up various page layouts in just one document and keep all related assets together (instead of spread out over a bunch of PSDs).” In Photoshop these are called groups; no need for multiple PSD’s. Just select the layers you need as a ‘Page’ and hit CTRL+G to group them; rename it… Viola’ =]

  • http://www.gregoryhughdavidson.com Gregory Davidson

    3 Cheers for Fireworks! Love it for web design. Pixel perfect with ease!

  • http://waynepelletier.com wayne

    I heart Fireworks and for me it’s all about the interface. Interacting with your work in Photoshop revolves around the layers palette and feels very mechanical. Fireworks is more Illustrator like in that you work primarily on the canvas itself. It just feels more natural and creative.

  • http://www.vivoocreative.co.uk Web Design Nottingham

    Interesting read but I <3 Photoshop too much still !!

  • http://twitter.com/adrianpopescu Adrian Popescu

    +1 for Fireworks. I’ve been using it for about 5 years, mostly for web design stuff and never felt the need to go to Photoshop.

    You can add one more thing to your list: Fireworks opens up .psd, .ai, .eps & so on, but Photoshop can’t handle layered .png. :)

  • http://aevumincorruptus.com AevumDesign

    I have to say, this is a very interesting argument… (or opinion)… and I like it! I have never even touched Fireworks, but now I’m seriously considering buying it. I have a macbook I’ll be using in my office at home, and I have yet to purchase the Creative Suite… though I am beginning to believe that I may only need Fireworks. I really like the benefit of doing bitmap and vector editing in the same program!

    Thank you for this information!

  • http://www.Amanatullah.com Ahmed Amanatullah

    Nice article. Will give Fireworks a try which I was hoping for quite a while.

  • Andy King

    Thank you for sharing! You have given me the courage to come out of the web design closet myself. Yes, I admit it, I too like Fireworks!
    No more hiding out in dark corners of the bars, my leather jacket hiding the laptop screen where I am manipulating Fw gradients in the shadows.
    No more secret handshakes or code phrases like “Do you know Fred Webber?” to identify one another on the street. We can come right out and wear our orange FW lapel pin. Loud and proud, brother!
    Fireworks rocks!

  • http://www.sabordesigns.com Michael Murdock

    what about those of us who lay stuff out in Illustrator THEN bring it into Photoshop?

    • http://www.creativeindividual.co.uk Laura

      Yep I’m one of those folks…

      I thought I was a bit of a weirdo doing that, but going through the comments now I see a lot of people seem to do that… So I wonder why all the web-design tutorials out there are in Photoshop???

      I guess when it comes down to it, you should use the tool you are most comfortable with, as this is the best way to create a professional website.

  • http://www.iberianmedia.com pseudo:class

    I’ve been using Fireworks for a long time as well for site mockups and comps. I use PS in combination with FW as well to cover any things that FW can’t do, or can’t do very well. The great thing is that when your comps have been approved, breaking out the graphic assets you will need in production is a snap, and saving all of the export presets in each file saves alot of time. But by far the biggest time saver is direct selection of objects and not having to keep constant track or what layer holds what element.

  • http://oskarsmith.com Oskar Smith

    Just dropping a comment to second the use of Fireworks for web design – I’m also a user; you’re not alone. I do also use Photoshop, but only for, er, well, photos. I’m still on CS3 though – CS4 seemed very buggy and I’ve not heard enough feedback on CS5 yet…

    • http://blogs.adobe.com/sarthak Sarthak Singhal

      @Oskar, You could just download the trial version of Fireworks CS5 and give it a shot.

  • http://www.addictivefonts.com Taimur Asghar

    i think i will still stick with photoshop :)

  • http://www.communitymx.com Jim Babbage

    A great article, Russell. You’ve done a great job of crystallizing the benefits of Fireworks for screen-based design.

  • http://trickydesigning.com/wordpress/ Mohit Dhiman

    Great peace of information, my graphic designer and i am fond of keeping myself updated with photoshop. Keep posting new things please.

  • Lisa

    Hi Russell,

    Thank you for your article. I am not a professional web designer, but I use Illustrator to create my mock-ups. I agree that Photoshop is daunting and seems unnecessary if you are not manipulating pixels. I have never tried Fireworks. Is there a reason that Fireworks is superior to Illustrator? I do not create a webpage from my mock-ups, (I use it to design the look of the page and then write the html/css by hand) but I know Illustrator will save as html. Is there is a good reason for me to switch to from Illustrator to Fireworks? Thanks again for the article.

    • http://www.pressthebigredbutton.co.uk Russ

      There’s certainly no reason Fireworks is superior to Illustrator, and if you’re doing a lot of vector artwork work you really need a dedicated vector tool. But in terms of laying out websites Fireworks is probably more fully featured than Illustrator, and it offers a full suite of bitmap editing tools as well. Really it just comes down to what you prefer, but you might like to give Fireworks a go and see how you get on – you can download a free trial from Adobe’s website.

  • http://www.krstatzar.com/ krstatzar

    Totally agree with you, for every design for screen there is no better tool than firewoks.
    I have tried almost every design tool out there but the way fireworks makes gradients that is really cool. BTW many improvements we see in Illustrator today are taken from fireworks.
    Photoshop is best for photo manipulation and has better tools for removing background and such.
    I miss the feature redo that illustrator has and rotate anchor.

    • http://www.optimiced.com Michel

      From the History panel in Fireworks, you can redo any step or even set of steps just like in Ai! :)

  • http://blog.pittsburgh.com.br Alexandre Giesbrecht

    I’m also a proud Fireworks user — for the right tasks. The article above pretty much summarizes my opinion on the subject. I also usually have them both fired up at the same time, and often resort to Photoshop for treating pictures and getting effects that are hard or impossible to do on Fireworks. And, of course, if I’m working on a print design, Fireworks gets a rest.

  • http://pixelesaldesnudo.com salvadoresc

    fireworks optimization for JPG and GIF is better than photoshop.

    but PNG optimization is better on photoshop.

  • http://campolar.me campolar

    I’m a fireworks user, and lover! Compared to photoshop, fireworks is extremely easy to use, and the UI is way better than photoshop!

    Go Fireworks!

  • http://illustratedmemories.blogspot.com/ Fotinos

    I havent used it yet but after this post I plan to.

  • http://patriciomas.cl Pato

    I totally agree with you Russell!! I’ve also felt like the weird-kid-at-school as a designer using Fireworks instead of Photoshop and PC instead of Mac. But the difference in productivity and price is so obvious that I don’t mind being the nerd. I’ve seen how designers struggle with simple things like borders in Photoshop, but for some reason they won’t give it up!

  • http://blog.rethink-design.com Daniel Winnard

    Great article.

    I agree with you that Fireworks is easier, cheaper and simpler to use for the web than Photoshop. That being said I still tend to use Photoshop more. Just through habit I suppose.

  • maria

    I think the same. Obviously for photograph i prefer photoshop but for desing web I like fireworks. As you say, it allows me to design websites faster and more easily.

  • http://www.daledavies.co.uk Dale Davies

    Nice post, I agree entirely! I’ve used Fireworks since I started making websites, I’ve never even used PhotoShop in fact. Somehow I feel like I’m the only one, its good to hear from someone else who uses it too :)

  • toho

    Excellent article! I manage a web design department and have had little success in converting those on the team to Fireworks. From a manager’s perspective, It’s just so much easier to walk through multiple concepts using pages or frames in Fireworks than to watch a designer frantically click layers on and off to walk me through more than one concept in Photoshop.

    Fireworks still has some rough edges, but it is an absolute time saver in my mind.

  • http://www.zindustry.com Dustin

    Hey, no Fireworks is awesome, I switched from Photoshop to Fireworks about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. I find it much more accurate for the web and interface design than Photoshop. Photoshop was made to edit photos, we designers just used it because it’s all we had and it’s just got bloated now. If I do any print design or major photo editing then I will use Photoshop, but when it comes to interface design I strictly stick to Fireworks, anyway your not alone :)

  • http://www.pscyhed.be/wordpress Darkened Soul

    I guess it also is a matter of how much control you have over illustrator or photoshop, if u have all your short-keys memorised, have a great workflow when designing, … u can do anything u want as fast with photoshop as you would with fireworks, even though perhaps by doing more steps… but of course, the features mentioned here do have their impact on how people might want to use their creative suite.

  • Jansen Tolle

    I’ve always been interested in using Fireworks but have found that I’m just set in my ways.. Everything I have created in FW just has a “cheap” unrefined feel to it. I just can’t get used to it on a level that allows me to create great work like I can in Photoshop.

    It does seem to have a lot of advantages over Photoshop for web design but the whole approach it takes is just very foreign to me.

  • http://www.alexanderramadan.com Alex

    You know, I have had Fireworks on my computer for so long and never really used it. I think I might now, it seems like a less bloated PS which is exactly why I use Inkscape.

    • deepnoir

      I agree with you Alex… i think Inkscape is so much understimated for webdesign. Personally i feel very comfortable drawing layouts with Inkascape, than exporting to png bitmap and slicing pefectly by using guides and ghigliottine in Gimp.
      Of course is not the case if you’re WYSIWYG addicted…

  • http://isuriato.com/blog Imelda Suriato

    Great post, Russell. I have been a big proponent of Fireworks over Photoshop since 1999. Yup, you saw that right. It’s been 11 years that I’ve forsaken Photoshop when it comes to designing web interfaces and I’ve converted many designers who happened to be under my tutelage to be ardent Fireworks users.

    You forgot to mention the ability to share layers between frames/states and pages, which is a big plus when designing websites and application interfaces. I’ve also used the simple Frames/States to Files export options to quickly create production graphics. How can it be manageable on Photoshop to make production graphics for e-commerce sites with large quantities of items is beyond me.

    For web interface design, Fireworks is definitely more streamlined, geared toward faster work pace and production, and I’m enjoying the much smaller in file size.

    Thanks for writing this up. I lost count of how many times I have to argue the case. Now, I can send them a link to your post.


  • oliverastro


    further that many times the file weighs much less fireworks

  • http://thunemedia.no Torstein

    I always use Fireworks for website prototyping, I’ve actually used it since the Macromedia days. I’ve even used it to make the odd logo (I’m really not a logo designer though).

  • Peder

    I’m a Fireworks user since the old Macromedia day and it is absolutely the best tool for designing websites. Fast and easy.

  • http://www.truenorthe.com Courtney

    Hmmm. This is an interesting article. I’d like to explore FireWorks a little more, but I don’t have it in my bundle of CS3 (yes, I’ve not upgraded in a while).

  • http://www.sethlilly.com Seth Lilly

    I use Fireworks exclusively for Web and UI design. Once in a while, I’ll open Illustrator for some finer vector control, but never Photoshop.

  • http://erichessdesign.com/ Eric Hess

    I don’t normally comment on blogs and whatnot, but this really has me thinking. A few weeks ago a coworker mentioned he does use Fireworks for a lot of the web design work he does and it got me thinking.

    You may have a convert on your hands now! Excellent article, I might just have to go and click that little yellow Fw box now…

  • http://www.fernandovaz.com.br Fernando Vaz

    Couldn’t agree more with you!

    The reason why most people use Photoshop for web is because EVERYBODY USES IT. But shouldn’t we (designers) look beyond of what everybody does?

    I always thought that, as a designer, our minds should think different, see different and especially ACT different than others.

    Open mind. That’s the key to professional enhancement.

  • http://www.ensowebdesign.com Ryan

    That’s a great article. I’ve always been interested in Fireworks. I did make a website with it once and it seemed so much cooler and efficient than Photoshop and the graphics tended to look better in the browser. I guess the only main reason I find myself continuing to go back to Photoshop is because of (a) it’s the ‘industry standard’ and (b) I’m more comfortable with it, because it’s the ‘industry standard’ and I’ve been forced to use it so much on jobs. I wish there were more Fireworks CS4/5 tutorials aimed at this kind of stuff. Great job :)

  • http://by-expression.com Cheryl D Wise

    Fireworks has been my web graphics editor of choice since 2000. I’d get 200 layer PSD files from clients and open them in Fireworks instead of Photoshop to process for the web. Its optimizer was far better than ImageReady.

    Yes, I have Photoshop and use it when I’m working on photographs or doing something for print but for the web Fireworks has and always will rule for me.

  • http://www.designflairbyalyssa.com/ Alyssa

    I am a fan of vector editing….

    I currently use Illustrator for the majority of my design work (I don’t have FW, though I will be purchasing the CS5 within the month). What does that say about me? I’m a freelance designer and would love to hear from more experienced designers about the best way to work / industry standards.

    I know should learn to use photoshop to layout my websites, but it is just faster to work with the status quo at the moment and use it for photo editing and image optimization.

    What is the opinion of a graphic/web designer who mainly uses Illustrator?

    • http://www.sabordesigns.com Michael Murdock

      I am right there with you on Illustrator.

  • http://www.hpiink.com Larry R Martin

    Great help to my better understanding of Fireworks! Mysteries are revealed at last!!
    Thanks! Give me more anytime!

  • http://www.julianowebpages.com Bret Juliano

    I have to agree with you, Fireworks is great for fast website prototyping. I tend to use Photoshop for my graphic design modifications and photo manipulation, and fireworks for the directly web-related projects. Another nice thing about Fireworks is how, their default format, .png files are being implemented on the web; considering that now they are becoming more common like .jpgs and .gifs.

  • http://switchworks.com Jason Jones

    Once I figured out how to properly open a PSD in Fireworks so it no longer exploded the layers everywhere, I barely open Photoshop anymore. You’re totally right — it just seems to do things with a lot more ease, especially combining images properly on web layouts. And the ability to just click and move is the kicker.

    Great article!

  • http://www.suborganik.com Conor

    There’s a reason Photoshop is the industry standard :)

  • http://www.novacore.de Phil

    Thanks for the article,

    I’m using Photoshop since many years, tried to start out with FW for almost the same time and never really did. I know my ways around Photoshop and I own it, so for me it’s 2 points less in favor of FW (4 and 7). But especially Point 1, the pixel perfection, is what i’m missing from Photoshop sometimes. So I think I’ll give fireworks another shot.

    Just one thing thats really confusing me here.
    Many people are complaining about searching trough Layers in PS to find the right element. .. I don’t get it. The standard selection tool as a checkbox which, when checked, allows you to select any element on the screen by just clicking on it.

    And another little clarification: Photoshop can’t be used for 3D-Modeling. It can be used to paint textures and to add 3D models to your composition but modeling is not in the feature set, trust me on that one ;)

    Just clearing that up cause i did learn modeling for years and it’s not quite that simple, that it can just be packed into PS or anything alike.


  • Chris Brown

    I fully agree with the author. I use Fireworks daily and its one of my primary tools for web design and development. There are occasions where I have to revert to Photoshop but realistically for web design that is a fairly limited endeavor. Photoshop, for me, is really about image correction and enhancement. So as a web application developer, Fireworks is better suited to my work of designing interfaces and prototyping while images in a site are usually already Photoshopped by a graphic designer.

    Fireworks is a fantastic product. I have been a big fan even since back in the Macromedia days. And its even better now.

  • http://www.creotronic.net Luzifer

    Great article – I am one of those people that use Photoshop for all the web design related stuff while Fireworks sits on my harddrive unused. I’ll give it a try now, thanks to your article :)

  • http://www.designtank.ws ChrisR

    I’m a big FW fan and have used it for making clickable prototype wireframes that are so easy to do w/o all the overhead of Photoshop. The snag for me is the developers I work with don’t know FW or use it, so if they ever need to take over the design-code work, such as I am on vacation, they would not be able to do so (unless they could open a FW layered file in PS and go from there, but that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen).

    I have started using PS’s smart objects and psbs to sort of “fake” having repeated elements, like headers and footers, in the same Layer Comps, as written about by Viget Labs [http://www.viget.com/inspire/smart-ways-to-use-adobe-photoshops-smart-objects/], but that creates huge PS files, with all the issues of hanging on Save for Web, etc.

  • http://greg-j.com Greg Johnson

    Great post.

    I would love to give Fireworks a shot, but it comes down to workflow. To me, every one of these points are moot. I do think that if I were just starting out though, I would likely give Fireworks a shot based on this article.


  • http://tomdancer.com Tom

    Amen to this article.

    Been using Fireworks since Macromedia’s MX 2004 Studio release… in fact, I mostly still use that version since the stability on the versions I’ve tried up to CS4 has plummeted, sadly. Adobe could do well to fix up and speed up their bloated implementation of FW and promote it for what it’s good at, which is almost anything to do with *WEB* design.

  • http://www.mjswebsolutions.com Michael Swartz

    I may have to revisit Fireworks. I love it for wireframing.

  • http://www.bestgamespc.net Samuel Trindade

    The best Fireworks!

  • http://www.jc-designs.net/blog Jeremy Carlson

    Good points…buuuuut I’m still going with Photoshop. I do like the gradient manipulation you show though. Plus the symbols and styles seems really cool. OK! Jeez, I’ll have to open it up again and scout around.

  • Mark

    I dunno…maybe people struggle with Photoshop? I never have. I use it for more than web design. And hopping back and forth to edit one thing in Photoshop, then set up a web page in Fireworks, return to Photoshop to edit a graphic…doesn’t sound like improved workflow. Doing everything in Photoshop works fine for me.

    Nobody (or I missed it) commented on the error in the first first of the seven reasons. Or maybe people just don’t know Photoshop that well? You can create a pixel-perfect shape by constraining proportions on the shapes dialog that pops up on the task bar when you select the shape tool. Want a 300 x 100 pixel rectangle? Type in fixed size: 300 x 100. It’s not something new in CS5. It’s been a part of what I do in Photoshop so long I can’t remember if it was always there since I started with PS6 or not.

    I think people need to practice their craft more, and rely less on the computer to improve their skills for them.

    • steve

      I had to scroll 138 comments to find someone with a sense great than superficial. Thank you for hitting on about every point I could have made about this article and the general reception about the abilities of either tool, including their mind.

  • http://blog.geminilearning.com David Jumeau

    I happen to use Fireworks since its days at Macromedia. Afterward, when I had purchased Production Studio CS4, it did not have Fireworks on it. I thought I could live without it for a moment. But once I needed to get work done for my company on creating a standard html website, I missed it so much and so I downloaded Fireworks CS4. Photoshop to me was overkill as I am mostly a developer. I happen to agree that each tool has its place and we should choose the one that helps us to be the most efficient.

    Thanks for the article to confirm my suspicions.


  • http://dev.rhe.cl Gonzalo Henriquez

    I’m not a graphic artist but a programmer… when ever I need to use graphics I do use fireworks. It’s simple and easy to work with.

    I have to agree, Photoshop is more powerful, but when it comes to creating fast tailored made apps, it’s just too much for me.

    Fireworks gets the job done.

    BTW, great article.

  • http://www.hisnet.com Daniel Evans

    I’ve used Fireworks almost exclusively for 8 years or so. Photoshop is for what I like to call design-designers. Those who see their work as a form of art. For me, it’s about output, ease-of-use, and speed. I’m not looking for highly advanced tools and lighting effects. Clean and crisp is easy in Fireworks.

  • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

    The Shape tools in Fireworks are better than ANY of the Creative Suite tools. Period!
    The donut tool, smart poloygon tool, star tool, rounded rectangle all amazing and EASY TO USE.

    These tools make it breeze to design some cool VECTOR based logos and designs.

    SLICING is EASIER & FASTER in Fireworks.

    On day everyone will be using Fireworks for web design. The smart web designers already are.

  • http://webjac.net Jaime Creixems

    Great Post, I love Fireworks too, I’ve always defended every point that you mention and also there’s a great Plus. No other app can handle both vector and bitmaps so effectively together as fireworks.

  • http://amartinolich.com Andy Martinolich

    Photoshop will always have a place for me, but as Fireworks expands its capability I will spend less and less time with it. Give it a few more iterations, and those who use Photoshop exclusively will be the minority.

    Can’t beat PS for digital painting though.

  • DeeDee

    I’ve used Fireworks for 8 or 9 years, and it is awesome for 99% of web work. You don’t need a bunch of the features that Photoshop or Illustrator has most of the time when you’re designing a web layout or the like. You can open Fireworks quickly, do what you need to do and be done. I love the pixel perfect layout…I like being able to put something at a specific x,y point in the document. I like being able to draw a shape that’s visually proportional, then being able to go and see what the size of that element is quickly and easily. If you use Dreamweaver, you can pick up Fireworks fairly fast.

    Photoshop is superior when it comes to photo manipulation (such as clipping masks and color correction…and pasting people’s heads onto other people’s bodies and giving them mohawks and junk. ;) ) and for creating more complex artistic graphics. It’s also better with typography than Fireworks to a degree.

  • http://albert-augustin-gestaltung.de Albert Augustin

    Thanks for this artikle. I Never used fw before and gave it a try. What i missed was the smart-objects! With smart-objects you could design webpages very well with photoshop. Its like having styles. You also could load SO in different Layouts! Five this a try!! ;-)

  • http://leaveinspired.com Jason Cho

    I have to say that Fireworks is the most efficient program to use for web design.
    Even if I have to use Photoshop for advanced filters, I would always use Fireworks as the foundation for its compatibility and efficiency.

    My productivity increases by twice with Fireworks :)

  • http://pocedulic.com Tomislav Pocedulic

    I use Fireworks since I started with designing back in the highschool, I was never thinking of switching to PS. I just love Fireworks

  • http://headspacedesign.ca Kyle Racki

    I love Fireworks for all the reasons you mentioned. I started using it about 4-5 years ago and never looked back. Photoshop is great for digital images, retouches, etc. but it sure wasn’t made to design user interfaces.

    Fireworks is the right tool for the job.

  • http://www.johnwaddy.com John Waddy

    I forgot all about Fireworks after the merger, maybe Fireworks decreasing popularity has something to do with change in ownership. Is Fw suppose to be the enhanced ImageReady, nowdays?

  • http://hermitbiker.stumbleupon.com/ Hermitbiker

    …. what a novel concept in website design…. fireworks !!

  • http://www.bebop-cafe.com BebopDesigner

    I couldn’t possibly agree any more!!! Some people really want to use Ps for absolutely everything… can’t blame them, it’s a bit pricy. But seriously, Fw, Ai, Dw exist for a good reason.
    Thanks for posting

  • http://www.antylope.com.ar aNTYLOPE

    I don’t get it. Why would you use photoshop for web designing? I know this question probably has no sense for you but I just don’t get it. Unless it’s a web full of textures, merging images and all that kind of heavy .jpegs and .pngs (maybe for that I use photoshop)I use Illustrator for the rest; can’t think a easier soft for mocking a website and design it.

    Maybe I’m missing something big not using photoshop so I would like to know.


    • Johan

      I feel the same. To me Photoshop is great for editing images, especially photographs. I’ve never designed a site with photoshop, and I don’t know why I should have. To me it would be like creating a paper with Photoshop.

      Makes me think about the hammer and nails.

      I’ve used Illustrator before, but now I use Fireworks. Fireworks is much faster to work with, in my opinion. Sometimes I use Illustrator though, if I’m creating more complicated shapes.

      But Fireworks is awfully buggy…

  • Liam

    Fireworks is the best tool for UI design in my opinion, I’ve been using Fireworks for more than 9 years and its just amazing, and I truly love working with it. Photoshop on the other hand, just gives me headaches, but just because I hate been unable to use it as easily as Fireworks.

  • http://www.masroorkk.com Masroor KK

    I use fireworks for designing the site but there are so many point where you don’t have options but Photoshop. I will say use fireworks but don’t leave Photoshop!

  • http://www.dtx.in/ DTX

    Till now I used photoshop only. Your post made me to try fireworks and I found it to be good.

  • http://webdesignervimal.com/teaser Vimal

    I prefer Fireworks over Photoshop. For the past 4 years, I’ve been using Fireworks, but unfortunately my current company uses Photoshop. My request for Fireworks has been denied many times. :(

  • http://mchaov.net Martin Chaov

    You are not wrong but nevertheless nor right. Both softwares have their purposes. It is up to the user hot they are used. I am far better and faster with photoshop than fireworks.

  • http://www.ravi.uxdsign.com Ravikumar V.

    What is Fireworks ?? I am a Photoshop Geek….

  • http://www.deviation.nl Tom

    I have the same habit. I like fireworks more for webdesign, but all graphic designers deliver psd files. Therefor I have to use both. But Fireworks is better, in my opinion.

  • http://lkdigi.com Jay Mavani

    Very interesting article! Thanks for the read.

  • Mario

    The best thing about FW is the Pages/States panel. Its perfect for designing web aplications. In PS you can get lost with hundreds of layers, turning them on an off constantly. The color management is also a lot easier in FW.

  • http://www.novo-online.de Chriz

    I prefer FW also. It’s fast and easy :-)
    The only Thing i hate … it’s more unstable than PS. There are too many crashes at version CS4 and sometimes i’m getting crazy.

    Is FW CS5 more stable?

  • http://www.wombatmedia.se Markus Thiel

    Well I can only agree with you!

    I do think that PS is a great tool.. but I only use it for “image retouching” and not layout design…

    FW is a way better (and much faster, lighter) tool and I would promote it any time! :)

  • http://1000dpi.com Shaunyk

    Good article and well said, and it needed to be said.

    I am originally a print designer who relatively recently got in to web stuff, and I’m glad that someone has said what I’ve been thinking for ages. Despite my Photoshop skills being much better than my Fireworks ones, I am amazed that Photoshop still lacks the functionality of drawing and aligning to exact measurements. For me, that is a good enough reason alone to opt for Fireworks over Photoshop.

    I must admit, I use both and I think that as a designer you have to have both, so I would say that most of the other arguments are not applicable to me, but for anything to do with re-sizing, alignment or geometry I choose Fireworks.

    Glad to see I’m not the only one!

  • digital_havoc

    Nice to see someone talking positively about alternatives to the ‘assumed normal’ design applications. I’m a big fan of Open Source software and while Inkscape and GIMP may not have the full feature set necessary for sophisticated print jobs, I do believe they provide everything I need to create competent and attractive imagery for web usage.

    It’s not just the cost factor, either. I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator extensively but I’m uncomfortable with the way I always feel like I’m confined to make graphics ‘the Adobe way’ with them.

    At the end of the day, if you’re comfortable using it and you feel what you’re making is of a high enough standard, there’s nothing wrong with taking a different approach. More power to you!

  • http://www.creatuswebdesign.nl/ Gert van den Brink

    It’s been a long time since I last worked with Fireworks, but after this article I really think I’m going to give it a new try, some of the function you named are really very usefull and time saving.

  • http://gunturaf.com GunturAF

    whoah! before read this article I just using Photoshop for all my design projects, and after I read this, I think I will use Fireworks too, thanks for the info :)

  • Jeff Kirkwold

    My 2cents…If you learn how to use Photoshop and most of it’s features…you will be hesitant to use Fireworks as a main staple. I do admire slicing and some dynamic corner adjustments of FW, but that is not enough to compensate for nested PSDs (reducing layers and helping stay uber-organized), nearly unlimited effects and adjustment layers, boundless plugins for PS, layer comps, and so much more. Vector creativity in FW? Come on man…learn Illustrator and unleash the real creative in you.

    The notion that both tools are equal is silly. The tools are different and FW is better at some things and PS is better at others. But PS is still the king of the standards. Big time agency look and feel comes from PS, usually. Exceptions always exist. Cheaper? Who cares, we are professionals. The work is king. Easier to learn? Double who cares…again, we are professionals and lazy is NOT in our dictionary. We are old world craftsmen in a digital age.

    If our clients want basic vanilla creativity…by all means, use what is easy. My clients deserve the best of the best and PS (With Illustrator) gives me more tools for that end.

    Isn’t it interesting that FW is being pitched more and more as a Rapid Prototyping tool? But we already should be using dedicated wire framing tools like Axure Pro. Adobe is never going to let FW fully replace Illustrator and PS. It’s not in their best interest to create such a revenue killing monster. FW will always be the bastard child of Adobe until they can make it something that truly stands alone and is unique. Remember, Adobe just bought the product line from Macromedia for Flash…the rest was just a customer base of users they will exploit as long as they can. Ever hear much from FreeHand anymore?

    • Johan

      And I believe you should use Fireworks to quickly communicate you ideas. Then realize it using HTML/Javascript/CSS. Leave Photoshop and Illustrator and only use them for special parts you can’t realize using graphics from Fireworks or via HTML/Javascript/CSS.

      Nested PSDs? Why not use pages instead? Like you can in Fireworks.

      • http://www.truimage.net Dave Bergschneider

        I agree Johan, it does sound like a very attractive idea because it would translate to html, css better and its hard to be being able to mockup the entire site from a single document incluing the style that allows quick change document wide.

  • Aaron

    Granted Fireworks has some really great features as you mentioned, but what it does badly is, for me, more than enough reason to banish it forver. Which is sad, ’cause what it does well really is great. I think FW needs to move it’s interface, etc…, up to the quality level of PS, then it will be a truly brilliant program.

    What kills FW for me top 3:
    #1. The type tool. Amature hour. I don’t need to say more.

    #2. The effects pallet. Way better in Photoshop. Better options, better control.

    #3. General Interface. As with all Macro M. products, compared to the Adobe UI, it’s a bit mickey mouse. e.g. The colour picker.

    Of course I haven’t seen FW CS4 or 5 so perhaps my comments no longer stand?

  • superYMS


    Personally i use and prefer Fireworks for web, for the same reasons in this article.
    Sure that Fireworks good be perfectible again !

    1,2,3 viva Fireworks.


  • http://www.saiko-sama.fr saiko_sama

    Nice article 

    For me fireworks was just an icon on the desktop, was, because I did not install in when I switched to CS5. Why ? Well like many of people, I just did never quite know what it was used for. So thanx for this article, it will make me give a try to fireworks on my next project.
    I’m part of the even small part “freaks” who design with illustrator, sounds crazy hein ? Well first I have to clarify the context: I’m currently working on lots of webplatforms, and make lot of UI design. UI design is usually more based on vectors than great photos. Therefore illustrator is quite useful. I especially love the library, the possibility to save my icons, to drag and drop them on the page whenever I need them, to save an entire style (rounded corner blue 1px gradiant etc) and then to drag and drop it on the button I need. Of course you can achieve this in photoshop using “effect”, but to copy-past the effect on every button in quite annoying ^^ In the end, finish by importing my littles “pieces” of application/website into photoshop, to be able to arrange theme in groups (pages of the application/website), export for the web and add stuff I can’t do in illustrator . Using 2 tools, my workflow is currently pretty long, and your article made me wonder I fireworks was not the solution to combine them. Worth giving a try.
    Like most of the comments, I agree on the fact that photoshop is a great powerful tool for photo manipulation and great aesthetic websites.
    The perfect balance would be a soft mixing photoshop effects, brushes and photo treatments with the possibility of dealing with vector objects and the ability to display it in different pages, slicing it to make it easy to code. Wanna send a mail to adobe with me? Just kidding ^^

  • http://www.trevlig.se Jakob B

    Excellent article. Fireworks is so much better for web designers!

  • http://www.ospreye.com/blog Rhett

    I owned Macromedia’s suite of web design tools long before they became a part of Adobe. That was also back when I was working independently. Since I started working for another company I started using Photoshop because, well, I had always wanted to, and there are some great things you can do with it.

    Only problem is I forgot about Fireworks, and ended up working solely in Photoshop. Thanks for the memory jolt. Hopefully I won’t get caught up in using a single tool for all my design work. I had started to use Illustrator, but having already used Fireworks, and knowing how easy and suited it is for web work, I’m going to keep this shortcut on my desktop.

  • http://niccolofavari.com Niccolo Favari

    These are some of the reasons why I switched to Fireworks indeed. The article inspired me to write about my switch (http://www.niccolofavari.com/serious-about-web-design-start-using-the-right-tool-fireworks-cs5).

    Hope people will start to realize why using the right tool for the job is important. And I hope that Adobe will, eventually, start showing some love and respect for this product and its users.

  • Johnny A

    Fireworks RULES! I’ve used it since 4 and find Photooshop a total unintutive pain to use in comparison. The only thing I dont like is the lack of Brushes but apart from that for designing and prototyping web sites it is THE app. Thats what is was designed from the bottom up to do, Phototshoop wasnt – simple as.

  • Darren Bennett

    Having used Photoshop and Fireworks since version 1, I think FW is bar far the better tool for web or application design, Fireworks has suffered though since acquired by Adobe and it could be so much better than it is if the effort was put in, Photoshop is the largest user base for Adobe so that’s where the money goes.

    With the advent of Flex skinning (FXG) Fireworks has been overlooked by Adobe as the primary tool, instead favouring PS and Ai this I feel is a real shame as FW would have been perfect for this role, also FW needs more intergration with AI and PS, I guess it does come down to what you use things for but for me PS is for photo retouching and advanced graphics manipulation and not the right tool for web design, if only FW’s UI was as slick as PS’s though as FW just feels clunky to use, that said I’m sticking with FW as my primary web graphics design tool.

  • http://www.simonday.com Simon Day

    Just be careful and make sure you at least some knowledge of Photoshop. In the last 6 years I have not had a single job/contract where the software installed was anything other than PhotoShop. It seems the default installed software for most businesses…

  • sammy8a

    Fireworks rocks!!!!

  • http://billyshall.com Billy Shall

    I vote for Fireworks, it is much quicker easier than Photoshop to create mockups or graphics. I use photoshop for… photos.

  • http://www.matthewrpritchett.com Matt Pritchett

    I am going to start using Fireworks! I was actually unaware that it could do such things! Thanks!

  • http://digitalreaction.net Rob Torres

    I have been using Fireworks literally since it’s first iteration, for my work style it has always my favorite. I think the big key to it for me is how easy it’s vector shapes are handled and the ability to just grab whatever you want and move it around so easily… Some would argue, but I think it is just a more intuitive environment for prototyping and playing around with copncepts…

    I would venture to say that on any given project, beyond more complex image compositing and correction, I might use Photoshop 1% of the total project cycle…

  • http://www.ecogiochi.it Stefano Ecogiochi

    I use Fireworks for all of my website and I think the same thing as you!

  • http://www.daymedia.co.uk Chris Day

    Totally agree with this article.

    There are so many other little things that make Fireworks easier and faster to use, even when you look at the zoom percentage on a document window you have a dropdown list (100%, 80%, 50% etc) whereas Photoshop expects you to type in the zoom level and press enter.

  • http://neryx.com/ Jiri

    Very nice article :-) Yes, I am satisfied user.

  • http://www.scottcarmichael.co.uk Scott

    I have to agree about how fiddly Photoshop is for doing simple and fast tasks. I’ve never used Fireworks after adopting Adobe Illustrator as my preferred alternative to Photoshop. Good article though and I’ll definitely give Fireworks another shot.

  • http://solok.net Ken

    ImageReady. Damn Adobe for getting rid of it! ImageReady had the best integration with Photoshop. I feel like fireworks is too much a Macromedia program and never got the full Adobe treatment that ImageReady had. IR allowed for multiple slice sets (web layers from Fireworks) and had the Adobe interface. No need to learn a new program from scratch. Its been 3 versions since Adobe got rid of it and I’m still pissed!

  • http://marioluevanos.com Mario Luevanos

    I’m so accustomed to Photoshop that there is no reason for me to switch. I can do all of the above at a fast and accurate pace. Everything from pixel perfection to fancy gradients.

  • Gibatronic

    Uhuu! I’m not alone in this PSD world…
    Photoshop is realy good, but I just don’t like the interface!
    And I don’t get use to it… It’s like those 3D programs, only with a messy tutorial you can find cool stuffs!

  • http://themeforest.net/user/FiveSquared?ref=FiveSquared FiveSquared

    I use Fireworks for all of my web design work. I like it way more than Photoshop. I’m not hating on Photoshop, I do still use it for certain things, but I highly recommend trying out Fireworks if you’ve never done so.

    “Once you go FW you never go back”

  • Tim

    Your points about Photoshops box drawing are wrong, and they just imply your inexperience with the software.

    You can specify the exact size of the rectangle you want to create before you place it (You state that this isn’t possible and that you would need to add guides to make this happen – False).

    You can click and move anything in the design in Photoshop. There is no need to look for the right layer or anything. To have this available: Have the Move Tool (v) selected and then click the Auto-Select check box (in the Options window). Make sure that the pull down menu says Layers.

  • http://www.aiveldesign.com Srka

    Finally somebody said it :)

    I love Fireworks!

  • http://www.scottjensendesign.com scott

    Fireworks sucks. End of story. If you’re good, you don’t use fireworks. You know better. Put a fireworks designer up against someone that uses photoshop or illustrator and they’ll lose 9 times out of 10. Fireworks is for the minor leagues. Might as use corelDRAW.

    • Johan

      Ok, I didn’t know that. Glad you told me. I’ll uninstall Fireworks immediately!

      Thanks again!

  • Sean

    I know this will probably be completely missed amongst the sea of comments, but here are my 2 cents:

    Fireworks is great for simple websites. And I know there are several good reasons, depending on workflow that could give people pause when considering Photoshop for their primary means of design. However:

    The web slice tool is inefficient and does not offer full control of the imagery that is meant to be exported and supplies junk data for export when in reality for a number of more complex slices you will be required to isolate a layer or object and export individually (i.e. – transparent PNG or GIF with Matte for use in transitioning visuals between two objects or a background)

    Gradients work like they do in Illustrator, they are too computed and even. While they work for simple linear or radial gradients, trying to create more complex gradients leave you with strange edges where the transitions between colors should be soft. Overall creating more complex gradients and soft transitions between elements simply does not work as well in FW.

    FW is great for organization, however with simple adjustments to your PS workflow and layer organization you can treat your objects and layers the same way you would in FW.

    The only area I can really agree on is price. FW will allow a web designer who doesn’t require all the extra features and tom-foolery of Photoshop to create simple, pleasing-to-the-eye websites.

    The problem is that, in my experience, even doing simple site designs, I am often asked by clients to makes significant visual adjustments to assets that Fireworks simply can’t handle so I would in essence still need Photoshop or some very close variety and to be perfectly honest, not even the latest version of Gimp or Corel PaintShop Pro come close in terms of the amount of control you have with Photoshop. And believe me I’ve tried to work with these alternatives as I’m sure a number of designer here could attest to. Above all things, if you have to work with a clients vendors and they need or supply a Photoshop file it is best to be on the same playing field. There’s a reason that most vendors/agencies use Photoshop above cheaper and similar variations. It does everything you will need for any kind of visual job aside from pixel accurate vector illustrations, and usually you get Illustrator as part of a package with PS from the get-go.

    Anyways, I digress. I can appreciate a users persistence in using FW and I realize some people’s workflow goes really well with utilizing FW, more power to ya. Just don’t be surprised when someone asks for a Photoshop file or supplies you one to work with.

  • Sean

    I agree, Fireworks has always been better for web development than photoshop. I argue this point all the time with our in-house designer, and point at my photoshop 4 book collecting dust on my shelf in my office as proof that I once tried to use it. Unfortunately for me I no longer have a FW license and get anoyed if i need to quickliy put together a demo or graphic by opening PS.

  • Sarah

    I love Fireworks! I’ve used it at school with the dumbest and brightest kids, and they all fly with it. In fact some of the lower ability kids did better, because their creativity was able to show through.

    Haven’t really used PS, so not a fair comparison, but I know it would take a lot of convincing for me to switch.

  • http://parroccini.com Drew

    Great post! You’ve inspired me to give Fw a shot. Thanks!

  • http://www.holistic-designs.co.uk Matt Peacock

    Appreciate your article, I do nearly everything in Fireworks, it helps me to visualise what I see in my mind in the easiest way!!! Maybe too easy, now my girlfriend wants to have a go…

  • http://www.ledfish.com Diego Junca

    I am not a web designer but i often do have to develop some webpages. To be honest I began with illustrator to do the layouts but there is an awful pixel problem with the software. I never even thought of working in psd since to me having the apropiate vector tools were very important. I began working on FW and found it to be an excellent web developing software for designers, it has lots of tools you can apply, including html programing. I have seen awsome sites beautifuly made in photoshop but i personally find FW much friendlier when working on web design.

    nice article by the way!

  • http://blog.pixelmind.org ph1x

    Those 2 extreme useful pieces of software are built to colaborate, not to compete, so we should take the best out of them + exprimenting with all the other cs5 appz in order to find out our best (and permanently changing) workflow

  • Chris

    I love using photoshop more than Fireworks. I just feel as if I can easily do more complex designs using graphics than I could in Fireworks.

    Fireworks is a great mocking tool, but I will remain to do my finish designs in Photoshop.

    • Johann

      I prefer to do the finished design directly in HTML/CSS/Javascript. I’m a web developer. Sometimes I design the pages I do myself, and sometimes I work closely with another designer using Fireworks. Fireworks is in my opinion superior to Photoshop when you are working like this.

      A design implemented in Photoshop is not worth that much until it realized on the web. And that realization is not something static like a bitmap image. It differs between browsers and it also something that moves and reacts.

      Actually, I believe a design, meaning to be acurate to the pixel, is in many ways a problematic concept.

      And forgive me if I’m putting things into your post that’s not actually there. I just reacted to what you wrote because this is something I feel strongly about.

  • Dusan

    Who still uses slice tool (and Dreamweaver, for that matter)?

  • http://www.iamhenry.me Henry

    You forgot to mention a small file size since it’s saved as a .png.

  • http://www.loriswebs.com Lorel

    I’ve been using Fireworks since FW2 because I’m allergic to Photoshop — causes me to pull out too much hair. Ha! I’m not a professional graphic designer, so mainly just make banners, edit images and make gradient buttons for websites. I haven’t used it to design layouts yet, the reason being it’s implementation of CSS but maybe the newer version does a better job.

  • David

    A fellow designer once tried to convince me of using Fireworks but I never really got the hang of it; I already gave up on it after a few days. Maybe it’s because I started in graphic design and later transitioned into web, and as such I learnt how to design in Photoshop. Who knows, I might give Fireworks another try but I can’t guarantee that I’ll stick with it.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that 65% of the people above me that said they’ve used Fireworks for ages are just talking shit. Fireworks users are a minority for the wrong reasons; there’s no need to pretend that you’re one of them because it may or may not be cool.

  • Jorge Luis Jaral

    This is a nice and very clear article, back in time when I started designing logos in Mexico the first tool that came into my hands was… Fireworks (from Macromedia)! Now that was weird but real, and I made money with it, so… the best tool is that which works for you.

    Now I’m an Illustrator professional so things had changed a lot, however I support Russell core idea.


  • http://www.impressivewebs.com Louis

    I don’t know what everyone is debating about. Obviously Fireshop is the best choice.

    But seriously, interesting debate — thanks Russell.

  • http://awr.no/ Alex

    I tried Fireworks ages ago, and I’m afraid it didn’t quite persuade me at that time. The only thing I seem to miss is the pixel perfection on elements, which is a serious drag in Photoshop.

    Over the years I’ve gotten way to used to the PS workflow, and I guess it would be hard for me to drop it.

    I’m curious though, what about layer styles? I use that for just about anything. Would it be hard to emulate in Fireworks? Would probably be the selling point for me to switch.

  • http://www.mmcmsp.com Maria Manoela Porto

    Again, I believe it’s all about what kind of job you are doing. Fireworks is a software thought to work for the web, it was Macromedia graphic soldier and it bodered Adobe much enough in a way that Photoshop 5.5 added the slice tool as new feature. Firework is much lighter than Photoshop too so you might wanna use for a project with no big image treatment or photo manipulation.

  • http://www.hellomynameisjuan.com/ kilinkis

    i love fireworks, been using it since MX too. i still find way easier than Ps.

  • http://www.fullforcewebdesign.com Froi

    I agree with Russell McGovern on this one.

    Fireworks is really a great tool for designing website and I want to mention too that my favorite part of Fireworks was the fact that whatever it is that you are creating in
    Fireworks is you can preview it on a browser just by hitting F12 with out saving the file.

    That feature alone really gives me a lot of freedom to be creative and not to waste a lot of time during the design process.

    But like Russell said Fireworks is not a Photoshop killer but it is worthy of knowing what the products has to offer.

    I’ve been using Fireworks since version 3, way back before Adobe bought out Macromedia the main company that really created Fireworks–and Dreamweaver.

    I hope more designers give Fireworks a try because it is fun designing in it.

  • http://www.sonnydesign.com sonny

    i use photoshop for creating web design layouts but knowing some advantages fireworks can offer specially the way it handles vector graphics and ease of use, i’m quite excited to try how i can do so much with fireworks now.

  • http://kver.ca Ken Vermette

    I use neither, instead I opt for a program called “inkscape”, an open-source vector editor, with GIMP for exporting and slicing.

    I’ve found that inkscape is very good at giving sub-pixel control, with the option to position elements to within one-thousandth of a pixel. With minor tweaking in preferences, I find it handles excellently. I also enjoy knowing that I have full, mathematical precision in my operations.

    And instead of pirating, which I know several other designers do, I get the safety and satisfaction of knowing that I’m using legitimate software.

  • http://www.graphicsfuel.com/ GraphicsFuel

    Well, this is one pretty article debating the best of design tool. But the fact here missing is majority of the Windows and Mac user designers prefer Photoshop over FW. It’s because even most of the clients know well about Photoshop files rather than FW. Maybe FW is a good tool in comparison with Photoshop but not that giant in usage, popularity, ease of use, resources available for Photoshop including tuts– so IMHO FW is still far too short in terms of usage.

    Great article though.


  • http://www.brenthoover.com Brent Hoover

    I am not a designer but a developer and Fireworks is a great option for something who has to do the “slice and dice” thing. PhotoShop “Save for Web” actually makes me laugh almost every day because it is so ridiculously counter-intuitive. (laughing in an affectionate, “oh you crazy photoshop” sort of way).

    My main gripe is that Adobe still cannot get these two programs to work right together. Depending on the types of filter and effects use (3rd party completely excluded) you may or may not get something you can work with.

    You’d think there would be a good workflow between PS, FW and DW, but it’s actually quite disappointing.

    And to the dude who wrote the 6 paragraph article about all of Photoshop’s features. Your “Totally Missed The Point” award is in the mail.

    • Jeff Kirkwold

      Really? I hope I get it soon. But perhaps I am mistaken about the article’s points…isn’t the author discussing why FW is an advantage of PS? All I mentioned is that PS can address most of his points with available features.

      Let’s all add constructive criticism and back up our opinions with facts and details. Just calling someone’s opinion dumb is no way for professionals to behave. Just make your best pitch to either support or rebut the author and share your experiences and knowledge. That way, we all learn.

  • http://www.rumblingskies.com erik

    I’m a interactive developer and thus do a lot of Flash development work. I usually work on bigger teams than average and got to know Fireworks pretty well on my last project. The problem with PS is that it’s the only tool most designers can work with. With Flash being vector based, this poses a problem. I always have to recreate everything as vector art and try to get filters to look the same. It sucks.

    In addition, my main annoyance is that with PS, everything is focussed on design for print. The default color profile is ‘Adobe RGB’. I always warn for this, but in 75% of the cases, they have no idea what that means. The end result is that the colors are not matching in the final product. Fireworks fixes this problem, since it doesn’t use color profiles.

    Fireworks totally owns Photoshop when it comes to being a design tool for web. If not only for the hierarchical structure of pages/states/layers. Finally somebody said it here.

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

      Here here! Bravo dude!.

      I have had to re-create menus and artwork in Fireworks because they were originally done in Photoshop. That @Jeff Kirkworld is ANOTHER REASON why Fireworks owns Photoshop. Vector “Smart Objects” are a joke compared to Firework’s NATIVE VECTOR handling.

      Another joke: Photoshop’s layer comps. LOL!
      If your layers get out of sink, all your hard and time consuming work to build your layer comps is wasted.

      Firework’s pages allows for MULTIPLE PAGE layouts in a single document.
      Each page is like it’s own document. No showing or hiding layers to build “layer comps”
      Not only that, but you can share layers across all of the pages. Edit once and all of the pages are updated. Plus you can IMPORT FIREWORKS FILES INTO PAGES so you could build a general template, have multiple designers working on a site and then import all of their work into one file!

      • Jeff Kirkwold

        Silly Mike, Layer Comps are best used when turning FOLDERS of layers on and off…I would not use them for turning on and off dozens of misc layers scattered throughout the document. I first logically organize my designs in folders. One for the banner, footer, content, etc…Actually, I mimic my folder naming as per the intended use of CSS classes and ID’s to some degree. My content folder will have sub folders for one column, two column and three column layout options. And so forth. SO…when I set my layer comps, I am only turning on a few folders here and there…real easy to manage. You need to take a chill pill and ask more questions and criticize less.

        The result: I can make as many page layouts as you can in FW. I would call it a tie. Mike, did you know that when you bring a vector into PS as a smart object that you can open it back in Illustrator for very advanced edits and return back to PS in one smooth seamless move? Seems to me you are quick to judge PS wrongly again.

        Tout FW as your tool of choice if you want…brag about it’s features…BUT, be careful in how you slam the capabilities of PS…It can do much more than you know. You are just lacking the proper experience and training on PS as other are lacking the proper experience and training in FW.

      • Marshall

        There is an easy fix for this, that does not involve changing profiles. View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB, also make sure View > Proof Colors is checked, and your design will look exactly the same as when you export it.

    • Jeff Kirkwold


      In the case of a designer that works primarily in Flash, I would have to agree that your workflow would benefit better from FW.

      And for the record, Adobe RGB is not a pre-press printer profile…save for sending photos to your local walmart for printing. CMYK is your standard pre-press profile. PS was originally designed for…yep…photo manipulation…and most smart pre-press designers use dedicated tools for layout like Quark and InDesign. Largely, those tools are used and PS is there for advanced image compositions and photo prep. Then saved to CMYK and imported into a pub layout tool.

      PS profiles can easily be assigned to existing documents (with and without much color shift). Convert the file, send it back to the designer and see if they are still OK with the color. Then you are good to go.

      Many people are actually upset with Adobe for not allowing FW the same color profile management that PS and other Creative Suite tools have. I would expect that this may change in the future.

  • http://priyanksharma.com/ Priyank Sharma

    I stopped reading your article when you stated:

    “It’s like the only tool a truly professional designer would dream of using is Photoshop—the software equivalent of choosing a Mac over a PC.” :)

  • kansingh

    This is really nice article but I still have some issues with fireworks like editing vector graphic but it is OK that work flow of fire work little bit smooth than Photoshop but not always.

    by the way, nice attempt….thanks

  • http://www.mixcyber.com/2010/07/tops-secret-tips-of-google-seo.html JohnSmith

    Well..! i think it depend on users perception..if he/she want easy to use tool thn Firework is best…and if there no compromise on best features thn photoshop takes first place ………..thats it…:)

  • http://notyet felson

    Great article Russel! like i read above, i start fireworks by mistake all the time, either dble clkng PNG files or missing Br and Ph in the dock! Its funny but i used to use it when it was macromedia but now i’ve used Ps for years now, maybe next time I start it by accident i’ll try it out for a bit. I think i read somewhere that Fw has a decent CSS code output, of course i think it should be revised, but definetly will help whippin’ out a few websites a week. Thanks for the good read.

  • http://www.awebdesign.com.ar Web Developer Argentina

    I agree with you . I used fireworks since ten years ago and i don t thik change for photoshop to works in my projects.

  • http://www.thewebboutique.net Summer

    Couldn’t agree more! I find Fireworks just more simple to use. Used to think I was the only designer who did so.

  • http://davidedicillo.com Davide Di Cillo

    Am I the only one that use photoshop to create the initial layout and then manually cut only the parts needed and recreate everything else hand-conding the CSS?

  • Cyndi

    If it did nothing else but allow you to click on a layer and have that layer be active without going though Photoshop’s awkward “let’s make this layer active” routine, it is a wonderful tool. And it does so much more… It’s not the ugly stepsister. I think it’s Cinderella and it’s about time Fireworks got to the ball!

  • http://lava360.com zohaib

    price is a very important issue. As compared to photoshop, the fireworks is much cost effeftive. Great post

  • jeffgtr

    I’ve read several articles similar to this. I’ve tried Fireworks but always go back to Photoshop. The way I see it is that if you don’t know Photoshop then Fireworks might have a shorter learning curve. As far as making a rectangle certain pixel dimensions, you can do that in Photoshop without issue. Illustrator for vector, Photoshop for pixels works just fine for me.

  • Hermann S

    Has none of you checked out XARA web design and Xara Extreme? They seem SOO much more elegant than the Adobe Products, and cost 1/10th to 1/5th.

  • http://www.mactyler.com MacTyler

    If you have no intention of doing web design professionally and just want to be mediocre at best or not any good at all. Sure, go with fireworks. But if you want to actually be good, photoshop is your tool. Also everything you said about shape layers is false, and the rest of the article is poor at best.

    • http://www.rumblingskies.com erik

      @Mactyler lame reaction dude. It’s a proper article dealing with specific advantages that FW offers. Your reaction says more about your FW skills than about FW. I know designers who create top notch with FW. Vectordesign is a true skill, way harder than doing PS.

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

      Dude, get a clue. It’s not the tools, it’s the artist using the tools.
      The notion Photoshop magically makes a person’s work “professional” is ridiculous. You call the article “poor at best” but, you’ve given no evidence to prove it.
      You’ve never used Fireworks for any meaningful for length of time and out if ignorance you’ve made statements only proving this ignorance.

      I’ve been using Photoshop since 5.5, read countless books, magazine, websites, studied for the Adobe Certified Expert Exam for Photoshop and use it daily. So having EXTENSIVE PHOTOSHOP EXPEREINCE before ever using Fireworks, I can say from a “professional” point of view: When it comes to WEB DESIGN, Fireworks is the better choice.

      I’ve been using Fireworks for over 7 years and I hate having to deal with client’s Photoshop files. The positive is that it makes me appreciate Fireworks all the more.

      You can keep doing things the hard way and making uniformed comments or you can have some courage and learn a better way to do things.


  • http://www.truimage.net Dave Bergschneider

    I think this is a nice article. I used Fireworks alongside Freehand back in 2001-2002 for some small jobs and never really got the hang of it and kept going back to Photoshop. I mention Freehand because one I liked its workflow much more than Illustrator and I imagine now that is the same for Fireworks.

    I really enjoy working in the new Illustrator CS5 because this feature was added and have started getting used to saving or web but never really produced any slices. I imagine this is whee Fireworks is now for the web but I think since its apart of the Adobe family now, they really need to work on making Fireworks the InDesign of the web and allow native importing Illustrator and Photoshop and just become a layout tool with some basic functionality for web development. Things like the styles are just a smart way of handling things.

    • http://www.truimage.net Dave Bergschneider

      Let me clarify, I’m speaking of the multiple artboards layouts in Fireworks, Freehand & Illustrator.

      I too would also like to see Photoshop comparable slicing.

  • http://www.bohacek.de Tom

    There is one thing which is missing in the PRO Fireworks discussion. It’s the fact that creating a screendesign in FW is non destructive.
    Of cource in PS there are also vector objects and smart objects and effect, but in most cases you merge layers or combine them while working. Means working destructive. If you want to change something at some point, scale lets say, you simply cant, but you have to do create that gradient e.g. again.
    In FW everything is non destructive, because everything is a vector object. So if you decide to scale a button, go ahead, it looks pixel perfect all the time. If you scale a button in PS…well you know what happens.
    That fact is why huge templating companies use FW and webdesign done in FW almost always looks crystal clear.

    • http://www.truimage.net Dave Bergschneider

      Photoshop isn’t destructive if you are using it correctly. For scaling just make sure you are scaling to whole pixels (otherwise anti-aliasing appears), and gradients and those effects can be placed on layers styles and normally scale with. Also you can use dozen of effects ith previous layers. Both of the methods are non-destructive.

      I will give you that the vector smart objects are crap in Photoshop since they are always anti-aliased from straight lines in Illustrator to pixels in Photoshop. I’m certain Fireworks handles them better since it has always been used side by side a vector based program.

      • http://www.bohacek.de Tom

        Well you haven’t convinced me. Take Layer Effects for example. In PS you have very little (compared to FW) controll over those effects and if you use them you cannot combine them properly with layer blending options. You have to rasterise them to use proper layer blending. FW does all of this and some more. And if you scale a bitmap, you scale it. No chance in getting the quality when scaling vectors. Adobe made some nice things in PS and i still use it on a daily basis, but FW has simply an other approach. I would say everyone who makes pro webdesign should at least give it a try. I tried a Web2.0 Button Tutorial to get back into FW and after 3 hours or so it rang a bell. Last time i used it was years ago.

      • Jeff Kirkwold

        Wrong Dave…check your options in PS. You can import vector art in PS (I use copy/paste from Illustrator) and turn off anti-aliasing. Try it. The art stays vector and is re-editable back in illustrator when you dbl click the layer as a smart object. Again people, knowledge is power.

      • Marshall

        @Tom. To address the point about having more control with layer styles and blending options, I think you need to spend some more time in PS, the options are there. One place where FW is lacking in comparison is its gradient options. I’ve spent the last 20 min looking around for a way to do this, so correct me if I’m wrong, but i can’t find a way to specify the position (by percentage) of a color change point. Sure i can grab the color point and move it around manually, but if I need to make color points at 48%, 49%, 50% and 51%, its impossible. Doing the same in PS is a breeze, the options are right there. Another great reason why this is particulary useful, is it transfers over to CSS3 perfectly. When you define a gradient in CSS, you have to specify the position of each color point by percentage. That information is readily available to you if you just go back into your layer styles and open up your gradient. I haven’t spent long enough with FW to know much about the rest of effects that would be done using layer styles in PS, but I do know that most of the ones in PS work in nearly identical ways to their CSS counterparts, making that transition really simple.

  • http://www.gregorpanek.de Greg P

    I tried Fireworks out for one project, but i wasn’t satisfied. It’s not easy to find some good tutorials for Fireworks on the web. I try something, than delete it, try again and so on… I think Fireworks could be good for designing websites but only when you know how to use it. I will use for my future projects photoshop, because i’m familiar with it.

  • http://www.gsuez.cl Gonzalo

    Totally agree! firework is much better tool for design a website.
    Photoshop is great, but was originally created for editing and image manipulation… Firework, for web design.

  • http://www.rumblingskies.com erik

    Seriously, PS is pixelbased, Firework is vectorbased. Webprojects are almost always predominantly vector based. I’ve been doing webdevelopment for over 12 years and photoshop is a shit format to supply webdesign in.

    Fireworks > Photoshop when it comes to webdesign. It’s designed for WEB! Fact is that the design community is so utterly PS-fanboy, that they don’t know any better and can’t handle vector design. I’ve hardly met any designers in those 12 years that can create vector-based artwork properly. Only the real pros know PS as well as FW and can chose the right tool for the right job. They’re different tools and need to be used for different projects. When doing a Flash/Silverlight website, your designer is an numbnut when he does the design in PS. Vectorbased is what those tools are…… still almost all do it that way.

    • Richard

      At the risk of getting flamed, Erik, I have to agree with you.

      I’ve worked on all manner of interactive projects such as Flash-based kiosks, etc. and every time the designers provide the artwork in PS files. And having to recreate the graphics in vector form or importing them from PS and living with the less than desirable appearance (plus massively increased file size) is an absolute pain. Inevitably, when I ask them about making the graphics vector-based, they just look at me blankly. Why oh why can’t there be more education out there about the difference between vector-based and bitmap-based graphics and the suitability of each for different types of work??

  • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

    I know there are a million comments already so if anyone reads this, it will be a miracle.

    1. Fireworks is a WEB DESIGN tool. It is NOT A PHOTOSHOP killer. The author is in no way saying Photoshop is old news or to stop using it. He is simply stating that when it comes to the specific task of DESIGNING WEBSITES, Fireworks is the best tool for the job.

    2. Adobe is stuck! While Fireworks excels in areas Photoshop & Illustrator do not, they will never promote Fireworks in a way that undercuts those pieces of software which is why they bill it as a “Rapid Prototyping” tool.

    3. Roots. Since it’s beginning, Adobe has been a print software company and Macromedia a web software company. Some people used Adobe’s GoLive software, most people used Dreamweaver. Photoshop has “Web Capabilities” but, they are add-ons and not what the program was built for. Fireworks on the other hand was built for the expressed purpose of Web Design. Every inch of it’s interface, tools, and functionality was built with Web Designers in mind.

    4. Mis-Information. Fireworks adoption suffers because many people don’t know what to do with it and have never spent any serious amount of time learning the software.
    It is up to us, The Fireworks Community to, educate people and post lessons and tutorials.

    If you’ve read this far, then I encourage you to get to know Fireworks rather than dismiss it as inferior. I guarantee you’ll be amazed and surprised by what you learn.

    • Jeff Kirkwold

      You make some good points Mike. I appreciate a relatively non-bias eval. I agree, Adobe is stuck with FW. I would gladly leave my PS and use it if I could achieve a greater level of effects refinement that I get in PS. I will try every version every time and continue to give FW a fair shake.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macromedia_xRes for an interesting history on Fireworks. You will see that the failure to compete with Photoshop as an image editing software (at the core) had left Macromedia and now Adobe, looking for a sweet spot in the market for this app. But FW, at the core WAS a bmp editor. Not really an important fact anymore.

      I used to use FW exclusively once upon a time too. I just needed a little more power in creating great effects and moved to PS to get that. I even used them together for a while. That seemed to work, except that I was increasing the complexity of my workflow and wasting more time than was necessary. After all the dust settled….my workflow is this:

      1. Wire frame ideas in Axure RP Pro and output working HTML (dynamically generated and not intended for reuse…ever!) and Word docs for my clients to review and approve. I also provide a PSD mockup at this time so the client can envision the appeal of the proposed graphic interface as compared to the drab look of a wire frame.

      2. On client approval of the core UIUX, I work up all the art needed (In Photoshop…neatly organized using layer comps, nested PSDs and good folder naming) for the UI and set standards and specs in a UIUX Style Guide. I also work up any vector art in Illustrator needed and import as Smart Object into PS for retaining its vector properties. This way, I can still apply adjustment layers on top of that vector art to further experiment with colors, levels, etc…Time for another client signoff before slicing and coding are performed.

      3. The slicing of images (In PS) and creation of presentation logic (CSS, XHTML, jQuery, JS) is next up. Here was the place in my workflow that I used to use FW. I would import the creative PSD files into FW and do my slicing and output here as FW outputs great tight files. However, with the advent of broadband, the file size savings is minimal so I am OK with PS handling the output now. The benefit of skipping FW now…Now I never have to flatten my PS files to get my effects to render properly in FW anymore.

      I really hope FW comes up with some blockbuster ideas in the future as I am always looking to perform my job at a higher level of quality in a shorter amount of time…but the work is always King. For now, I get that with PS. If you are not taking advantage of non-destructive editing that you get from adjustment layers, you really need to learn it.

      God bless all you FW users…pressure Adobe to make something great from it and I will join you when it happens.

  • http://anassin.com Swat Chap

    I never realized you could use Fireworks for web design layout

  • http://www.machinwebdesign.co.uk A Web Designer

    Whilst I agree Fireworks is better at these things, I personally believe for every one thing that Fireworks is better at, Photoshop has another 3 or 4 that it is better at. A good web designer should be recognising the merits of both as they work very well in tandem. More often than not, I have both open at the same time!

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/ Jarkko Sibenberg

    I have only used Fireworks for making quick prototypes. I wasn’t aware of some of these features you listed and they do indeed sound very useful. I have used Photoshop for so long that I might not benefit much for starting to use two different software for design, and might also get frustrated with the differences.

    Great article. FW has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Your list of handy features is great and I’m sure it helps many. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.tripsinnederland.com Sint Smeding

    The first six reasons to use Fireworks are clear. Given these reasons, one could still prefer Photoshop over Fireworks for web designs, but you have a strong plea here.

    One thing I don’t understand is bringing price on to the table. Sure, Fireworks is much cheaper than Photoshop. For someone who only wishes to design websites, Fireworks might be sufficient. But as soon as you need options that Fireworks doesn’t have, you would need another part of software.

    You say you use Photoshop a lot for other purposes than website design. If you use both Fireworks and Photoshop, why call using Fireworks smart for money? You just spent nearly £300 extra on software!

  • ChrisA

    Has a designer for the web and having used both tools for many years I know find that I always turn to Fireworks first in most cases. Its quick and does the majority of things that you need to do for web design development in a logical way. For me it wins hand down. Only when I hit something I can do in Fireworks do I fall back to photoshop. Thats not to Photoshop is not my first choice for other types of design, typically anything which is heavily photos manipulation based.

  • http://www.krstatzar.com/ krstatzar

    cool debate really
    one question is there a way to make rounded objects like rounded triangle and such?
    Never figured it out is it possible in fireworks?

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

      For rounded rectangles go to the Auto Shapes Palette and drag the “rounded polygon” icon onto the document. You can then add to decrease the number of sides to make a tri-angle and change the level of rounding.

      For all other rounding of objects there is the rounded rectangle tool.

  • http://www.solemoris.cl Sole Moris

    I think the same!
    Photoshop is very slowly and uncomfortable to design websites.
    I´m weird because I chose fireworks for work.
    Thanks a lot!
    (Sorry for my bad english)

  • http://www.leandrobernardes.com Leandro

    Ok I agree with you.. in some parts!

    so you give your good reasons to use FW, but Why Didn’t you give the bad reasons ?
    Which one is real better ? PS or FW ?

    I know, for web probably FW is better.. but it’s hard to believe that PS is so bad as a lot of people has said.

    I’ve created for some years my layouts at PS, and I didn’t have problems with it.

    This a great post, congrats… a lot of doubts right now.. which one Should I choose?

  • David

    Finally someone who get it. I use it all the time and I have never had any complaints from my clients. In fact my boss is happier because I am able to prototype faster. I have to say I use PS a lot as well but I choose FW much more.

  • LeX

    Fireworks ROCKS! Its awesome.

  • http://www.innova.gi innova

    I used fireworks in the past, actually when I was in the university. However I feel like limiting myself when I use it over Photoshop. PS has way too many features, this can be considered as bloated to some users however I will stick with PS for now.

  • Maarten

    Plus the Save-for-web gives a mucher smaller filesize in Fireworks than in Photoshop.

  • http://clifference.com Cliff

    I’ve been using fireworks for quite some time now as well, after watching something on Adobe TV where he prototypes a website. Having a master page etc is such a priceless tool. I always find it hard to go back to PS after using FW for web design. Having optimal jpgs/pngs (especially exporting 8bit pngs with transparencies for IE6) is great as well.

  • Felix Cruz

    Hi, this is a great post.
    I’m a FW active user. FW have little problems with texts in CS4 version but Fw is simple as you said and let you make designs faster.

    I 100% recommend it for web design. I use photoshop for graphic design and sometimes depending the work, I use it for web design.

  • http://desertrose.net Clarissa Johnstone

    I totally agree with you. Photoshop was my program of choice as a beginer graphic design, not doing any web work at all. Then I was taught how to design websites using Fireworks, so I’ve never used Photoshop to layout my actual websites. Fireworks give you the ease of vector creation, like Illustrator and has all the filters from Photoshop, which always come out looking very crisp & clean. I still use Photoshop for image re-touching and manipulation, but then I pull these graphics into Fireworks. This program simplifies the process, though when exporting doesn’t create the cleanest coding, so the programmers tell me. But for my freelance work it works out great for me, not being a pro at web programming myself.

    The firm I work for has a rotating door of interns coming through and I’ve found that this program is not taught at many schools, but once I make the introduction to the budding designers, the good ones, really enjoy this program and I, as you think it is greatly underestimated. I think that is due the fact that people re afraid to try something they don’t know.

  • http://squarefactor.com Shawn Makinson

    Sigh… As the guy who codes the design, I always wish Fireworks would over take Photoshop. I try to get my guys to give it a shot every time a new version comes out. I really don’t think there should be 2 programs, how about Fireshop? Hey at least Photoshop CS5 snaps slices to things much better, that was worth the upgrade price, right? Now if only I could have slice sets and right click and choose to make a slice like in Fireworks. How about a sprite building tool based on my slices? Most used photoshop command for me == duplicate layer into new window, trim, export. Luckily I don’t usually have to do it more than once so I don’t miss no slices later.

  • squidz

    Fireworks two biggest advantages for web in my opinion:

    1) Simple and instant ability to do both bitmap and vector graphics effortlessly.

    2) The fact that you can select ANY object on the artboard by clicking it…vector or bitmap. Photoshop, you have to sift through layers.

    Fireworks does lots of little things for web that take less steps than Photoshop. That is why I use FW for most web design and definitely image production.

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Photoshop. I use it for more complex web graphics that use features that Fireworks either doesn’t have or that are not quite as powerful–additional blending modes, stronger color correction, painterly effects, halftone patterns…this is more illustration/image editing than web “design” to me.

    I NEVER use Fireworks for print design. For me Photoshop lives primarily on the print/art side of the design equation and for the hardcore illustrative (along with Illustrator), for the more artistic graphic creation, for hardcore photo editing.

    For website mockups and web graphic production and a load of web graphic creation, Fireworks rocks. I worry that Adobe will kill it and force us to use Photoshop alone.

  • http://insytestudio.com Josh Sadler

    I think FW feels cheap. I used to design exclusively in Photoshop after trying FW and since then I’ve switched to Illustrator for most of my web and print design. I wish Adobe would remove Fireworks from the suite and replace it with something that Photoshop and Illustrator can’t do.

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley


      You’ve barely used Fireworks if at all.
      The vector shape tools in Fireworks are a MILLION TIMES BETTER than illustrator’s.
      I can make complex shapes in seconds using Fireworks vs minutes in Illustrator.
      Don’t believe me? Open Fireworks and use the donut or rounded rectangle tool.
      Not only does the rounded rectangle tool allow you to round each corner individually, but with one click I can change from a rounded corner to a slanted or curved corner.

      You must be a web design noob because slicing in Illustrator is terrible compared to Photoshop and Fireworks.

      Sorry dude, do your homework before making uniformed statements.

  • Xavier

    FW is a great tool for not just web, but also for UI development. I wouldn’t call it just easier to use as this is subjective depending on the proficiency of an individual, but rather something that is more intuitive. I can just select different areas and quickly move design elements around to place… that itself is a pain in Photoshop. It is indeed sad that Photoshop has become the ‘preferred tool’ for even web development and I too get request for Photoshop files.

    I believe Adobe too is not keen on developing FW – I feel it is a matter of time they will drop this tool. The FW CS4 is however is unstable and eats up the RAM for breakfast, lunch and dinner – hanging quite regularly when we work on ‘heavy’ files. I guess it could be Adobe doing – ie less focus on FW development… I believe they are hoping for it to die a ‘natural’ death.

    I have used both Photoshop and FW, so am in a good position to do the comparison. I hear a lot of web designers who are unfamiliar with FW making unfair comparison simply due to their lack of knowledge on how FW works.

  • http://tutorialportals.com Sadira

    FW is great too but I still prefer photoshop for designing in pixel. It’s really a great tool :)

  • Joost

    It’s really an issue of what to use for what purpose.

    Photoshop is intended as an image/photo manipulation program, and there is not any doubt it does best at this job.

    Fireworks however is especially created for webdesign, web graphics and screen prototyping. In short, a graphic design tool for the web.

    So there you have it. Do you want to incorporate complex, bitmap-based (photo)graphic artwork in your site? Create your artwork in Photoshop, and bring it over to Fireworks. It’s the same as, for instance, first creating a good vector logo in Illustrator, which you also in a later stage bring into your web design composition in Fireworks.

    • http://www.ledfish.com Diego Junca

      I think your comment pretty much resumes the whole discussion. Fireworks offers excelent tools for web, it is its purpouse. I pretty much work with the three programs in order to make outstanding webdesigns using each tool for what it does best.

      best regards!

  • http://insytestudio.com Josh Sadler

    I must be a web design noob since I design vector sites to export in flash and flex applications for major corporations and financial institutions. So sorry for not being worthy to comment in the same article as you.

    • http://www.comfychairconsulting.com Mike Boardley

      @Josh Sadler,
      You’re more than welcome to post comments here. I’m simply saying if you’re going to post a comment here, make sure it is based on experience and something you can back up.

      The irony here is that you’re not using Fireworks, especially based on what you do.. Exporting to Flash & Flex or other vector based projects, Fireworks is a much better tool. In fact you would be able to create cooler interfaces in far less time with Fireworks than Illustrator.

      Like I said earlier, the only reason why there is a debate here is because people casting Fireworks aside have never really forced themselves to learn and understand it.

      It’s because I know all 3 applications extremely well that I choose to use Fireworks. I am huge on efficiency, if I thought for a second there was some other application better suited for Web Design, I would use that. I don’t care about brand names or what’s popular, I want the easiest and best tool for the job.

      Take it easy.

  • Linus Lim

    Fireworks is the best web / screen design tool out there. No doubts about there. Anyone can challenge me.

    I want to point out that another killer features lies in its extendibility where you can do better things in your design workflow.

    People need to use Fireworks for few days at least before give your most honest comments about it.

    There is so many stuff in Fireworks that wins over photoshop. Fireworks is the right tool for web design.

  • http://www.niconlyone.com Niconlyone

    I just want adobe to drop out fireworks and bring me back my old good webdesign comapanion : Image Ready

    • Linus Lim


      please challenge me in Imageready vs Fireworks.
      Please list out 10 things you find useful in Imageready in web design workflow.

  • http://studiomagnolia.com Cesare

    I subscribe each word of the article.
    FW simplifies anything.
    Unfortunately many people are used to design with Photoshop.
    I never had a FW from a designer, just ps files.
    But when I design I only use FW.

  • http://www.cogocreative.co.uk Ian

    I might actually give FW another go. It sits on my task bar, and I’ve opened it a few times – But it’s hard to get into it, because I’ve been using photoshop for so long.

    Makes me understand all these IE users slightly.

  • http://www.psdstyle.net chuckles

    I’ll say this. Use what ever you are most comfortable with. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.

    But I do find it funny when every once in a while a FW vs PS article is written out come the Fireworks users. All 3,655 of you.

    It’s like everything in life. The majority against the minority. The minority in this case happens to be FW.

  • http://www.securityking.com Craig

    They both have there advantages and disadvantages, and should be what suits your personal preference to approaching a design, you can always use both ;-)

  • Scott

    Fireworks beats Photoshop when it comes to dealing with web design subject to daily revisions. I have been working as a UI designer for the last years in a team where daily updates to the same project mockups are the routine. Switching to Fireworks greatly increased our productivity as the application is designed with quick design updates in mind.
    Photoshop is more elegant and refined as a design tool; but Fireworks is the workhorse that gets our daily job done and allows me to go home at a decent hour :-) …

    • Scott

      On a side note > avoid Fireworks scripting. Fireworks seems to have little clue how to distinguish and target several instances of the same symbol on the canvas. It’s Javascript engine really acts buggy. Photoshop scripting is far more stable compared to it.

  • http://www.borgetsolutions.com/ Siddharth Menon


    Have been using Fireworks for long time …. its really good if your making some vector based clean neet look … but if its equally difficult if want to add some brush effect or bascially where Photoshop is good at. Worst part is getting your photoshop work to fireworks. Firework doesn’t support transparency when copying from PS.

  • http://www.aboutadirk.com Dirk

    Photoshop “whore” here, if you will.

    Used Fireworks, liked the vector tools. Didn’t like the slicing etc. I save every image separately, and work extensively with layered layouts. I do my own coding because exporting… well… no.

    I think, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you’re comfortable.

    For me; I design something in Photoshop, then do the HTML and CSS myself, saving images as I need them. Even when you’re the ultimate CSS master, being able to code your design perfectly (eg.; semantic, cross-browser & SEO friendly,) you’ll have to go back and save images differently every now and then. That’s why I never slice, and always save manually. Especially since some images might overlap, which is a lot of hassle in most programs.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://www.thewizdesign.com Jesse Wisinski

    I am a self-taught Fireworks user after using Photoshop exclusively for years. I definitely agree that Fireworks is far superior to using Photoshop for Web designs. Photoshop definitely has it strengths that Fireworks cannot compare to, but for designing a Web interface and then converting it to HTML and CSS, Fireworks is definitely the way to go.

  • http://qazware.com Quoc Anh

    I’m Fireworks user. It’s the best for design weblayout tool.
    I use it about 1,5 years and i love it very much. It’s help deisgn everything faster better than Photoshop, maybe filter, brush it weaker than Photoshop but to rapid phototyping.
    You can use it to export your image very fast:
    It’s have properties panel help us do morething like Flash ( maybe it’s better than Flash properties panel)
    Click right mouse on your image>Insert hostport( insert rectangle slice) > export select slice> you have image( rapid – you dont’ need to use ruler than Photoshop and zoom out more )
    I wish in future Firework will have more change ( filter, brush) so it’s become perfect tool for webl layout design.

  • http://www.impresario1.com Alf Catadman

    I’ve been using Fireworks since the time when Macromedia was making waves. Loved it’s ease of use when I needed a quick wireframe down to web slicing. But most clients now require PSD which I really find it too complex for a web design layout. I may have to learn Photoshop but if I have it my way, I’d stick to Fw.

    If there is a way to export Fw files to PSD without losing the original “layers” then wouldn’t that be so cool? just a thought.

  • http://www.alexdixondesign.co.uk Alex Dixon

    Ive always used both programs (mainly fireworks), in my mind Fireworks has always been stronger for web based projects while photoshop is good for “Photos” and print work. Whilist many of the effects can be achieved in both programs with a little knowhow, it would seem Fireworks is just much quicker and accurate (Gradients & Vectors is a prime example). Now-adays with CS5 you can even adopt Photoshop effects in fireworks.

    When working in design company’s ive also found this ‘Photoshop rules all’ attitude, but often this is because there is a lack of knowledge of Fireworks (since photoshop is the more widely known brand).

    One day we will rise up and have our day!!

  • Joaquin

    Good post, is true! @jlbravin

  • http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/book_graphic_design_1.html Graphic designer

    As mainly a print designer i have never really had a need to use Fireworks.
    But I am certainly thinking of giving it a go for any websites that come in.

  • http://www.fahdi.tk fahad

    i love fireworks … but its poor in exporting PDF … it flattens everything!!! even text!!! ( but you can still select them though) try it … any suggestions????

  • http://www.mylescreative.net Myles Steyn

    I have been using Fireworks for may years now. There is nothing that you can’t do in Fireworks.

    • http://www.fahdi.tk fahad

      well , Fireworks is great in designing!!!! poor in exportin for print ….. like how can you export PDF …which dosnt flatten (rasterize) a thing . like in PS …even when you zoom to the maximum the quality of text and path remains goooooood …

      (xcuse the spelingz)

      • http://www.alexdixondesign.co.uk Alex Dixon

        Thats simple, it isnt disigned for print? Its a web tool.

      • http://www.fahdi.tk fahad

        so there is nothing you can do , for it to export (high quality) for print!!!! thats it!! anything at ol????? u r letting me down man , lookin forward for your suggestions @Alex AND @Myles

  • http://www.egasoftware.nl/webdesign_enschede.html Webdesign Enschede

    Photoshop is the best!

  • http://www.alexdixondesign.co.uk Alex Dixon

    I rarely use fireworks for print as its simply not designed or equipped for the task in hand. This said I have used its the odd time for a business card of flyer (small print), and then exported a high res .png or .jpg which the printer has been happy to take.

    Cause of the 300 dpi when working on something like a poster or a roller banner, fireworks struggles to operate smoothly. Hence why my preference for 72 dpi web is fireworks and 300 dpi print Photoshop.

    yes fireworks is good at its job, but that jobs web not print, there for it cant really be judged on the print side of things.

  • http://cretec-web.com Clint

    I have been a fan of Fireworks for a very long time. I mainly started using it because someone gave me a copy of it and Dreamweaver about 6-7 years ago. I could not believe how easy it was to use for web graphics and have been a fan ever since.

    I have use PS and I agree it is more powerful, but I just do not need 99% of the features. To me I can get something done in much less time with FW.

    It is preference and probably has a lot to do with having so much experience with it.

  • Richard

    I only just came across this article in my RSS and I have to agree absolutely!!

    Speaking as a developer rather than a designer, I find FW far less intimidating than PS and much, much easier to use, especially as the majority of the time I don’t need the filters, brushes, etc.

    Also, I tend to do a lot of design work with vector graphics to be combined into Flash, etc. The editing tools in Flash are a bit limited in my opinion and FW provides the extra power I need without too many complications.

    Added to that, I also do a lot of training of newbies in web design and I can’t begin to say how much they appreciate using FW over PS. Some of them get totally overwhelmed by PS but can get a prototype of a website up and running in FW in fairly short order.

    Thanks for the article Russell! Its encouraging to know that I’m not the only one out there still using FW and that there are even designers who like to use it too!!

  • http://www.aisd.net/sam Christina

    I love Fireworks. We did not have Photoshop for a while in my school–so I was forced into learning Fireworks and have grown to love it for use of creating graphics and quick edits for the web.

    Like previously mentioned–I would love it if Fireworks would support Photoshop brushes–but they’ll support them as graphics or pngs. I usually use both programs for extensive editing. Overall, Fireworks is much easier to use. One thing I love is it automatically puts everything in its own layer and you don’t have to select something in the layers panel to select it—you can just select on the canvas.

  • Matt Bower

    +1 on this. I’m an avid FW fan for designing websites. I think most of the people using PS over FW for web design are graphic and print designers who dabble or switched to web design and haven’t given FW a chance for what it’s built for. No doubt PS and FW have their strengths, but I’m exclusively a web designer/developer and I don’t even have PS on my computer. If I need PS-style tools, I’ll fire up GIMP.

  • m slaughter

    The fact is Fireworks IS the better tool for web design and layout. Photoshop was designed to edit photo’s. From the very beginning that was its main function, hence the name PHOTOshop. Adobe have added more features to Fireworks to enhance its web design and layout capabilities. Fireworks is just so much faster than photoshop when it comes to mocking up a website.
    And, interestingly, when I look around the web, not one of the biggest sites out there look like they have been ‘photoshopped’ Photoshop should be kept where it belongs…on the laptops and ‘macs’ of arty farty designers, not web professionals.

  • Xavier

    Hi m slaughter, very well said. I am in totally in sync with you on this. However I feel that Adobe might drop Fireworks. FW CS4 has been extremely crankly and most unstable – and for some reason sucks up a lot of RAM. Also there are so many in the industry using Photoshop, when we provide FW file, people just give a blank look. Not to mention the compatibility between FW and PS can’t be any worst.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Bill

    Honestly guys, i appreciate all the passion about this topic, but the truth of the matter is that if you can’t code HTML and CSS, you shouldn’t be building websites. period.

    Fireworks is built to (as you have all said a few times) quickly mockup a prototype website to be shown to a client. Photo<–shop is used to edit and manipulate photos, which it does better than any other program – or there would be no reason for it to exist. You are talking about apples and oranges here. There is a reason BOTH programs are included in the Adobe "web premium suite" (of which i own – CS4).

    – Dreamweaver is for BUILDING SITES
    – Photoshop is to edit pictures and create Graphics for sites, which are often times intertwined
    – Fireworks is an AMAZING tool for graphic/ web designers that don't know code (who are building sites why?) or anyone looking to build a quick, to-scale wireframe.
    – And illustrator is where you go to build PDF docs and Beautiful Vector Logo files

    New web developers out there (developer being one that learns HTML, CSS, PHP or ASP, Javascript and other PROGRAMMING languages required to make a website) do yourself a favor and buy photoshop and dreamweaver. Those are really the only 2 tools you need to do your job at a professional level.

    • http://www.smartwizardsolutions.com Chris

      I agree with most of your comments. There are far too many “web designers” who can’t code and are just taking up space in an overcrowded industry.

      However, I think that Fireworks has more of a place then just for those who don’t know how to code. There are many variables and everyone has their own personally process for designing and programming. To each their own, so long as it works.

  • http://www.reinegger.net Andre Reinegger

    Here are 50 more reasons to choose Fireworks over Photoshop http://www.reinegger.net/50_reasons_not_to_use_photoshop_for_webdesign.html

  • http://www.dryadmusings.com Alex

    I am learning web design at college and we use Fireworks for the design process so this is what I am used to. I do tend to swap to PS to edit photos as I find it easier to be able to enter an exact width or height and constrain proprtions at the same time.

    Am I missing something though? When I slice up in FW and go to export it I only have an option to save as various JPGs or GIFs. Most of the things I’m slicing I want to save as PNGs but it doesn’t seem to give me this option. Instead I have to copy the object, then paste it into a new FW document on it’s own, adjusting the canvas size to match the object, and export as a png that way. This seems a very long winded way of doing it but google hasn’t returned me any solutions. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong? (It being xmas holidays I can’t ask my college tutor).

  • Clark

    You definitely need to check out CS5 before commenting.

    >>What kills FW for me top 3:
    >>#1. The type tool. Amature hour. I don’t need to say more.
    It now features the Adobe type engine as of CS5.

    >>#2. The effects pallet. Way better in Photoshop. Better options, better control.
    Arguable. It’s what you’re used to. Fireworks can use the same filters that Photoshop uses. Not only that, you can reorder them in the inspector and use them as many times (on top of each other) as you like. All of them non-destructive. Check it out. You can save the accumulated effects as a style that is easily accessbile as a menu item or from the style palette. From there you can also copy/paste attributes. It’s quite powerful.

    >>#3. General Interface. As with all Macro M. products, compared to the Adobe UI, it’s a bit mickey mouse. e.g. The colour picker.
    It IS a webdesign tool, so it gives you a websafe palette by default. If you would like to further refine the color there are numerous ways (hexidecimal, Colorwheel, RGB sliders, etc.). I would like to point out that it’s been in Adobe’s possession for several developement cycles now and is VERY adobe like, especially CS5.

    >>Of course I haven’t seen FW CS4 or 5 so perhaps my comments no longer stand?
    By all means, check out CS5 Fireworks. There’s a lot to like. Multiple pages is at the top of my list. Especially being able to give each page it’s own canvas size and resolution, then just using page up or page down keys to go from one page to the next. Common items (navigation?) can be shared from one page to the next. There are also MasterPages to be used.

    It’s interesting as I don’t really see many commenting on this. I LOVE using Fireworks for doing my online advertising comps. Being able to use pages to demonstrate the animation (to be done later in Flash) is a HUGE plus. Not only that, for rich media ads you can have the base ad and the expanding panel right in the same file (just change the canvas size). Then the whole thing can be exported as a PDF. This simply is not possible in Photoshop.

  • The.U

    Wow, mates, this debate is as old as Web Design exists as a profession.
    I remember being member of a web design forum back in 1997 where people used to insult on another for prefering what they prefered ( PS or FW ).
    The truth is both have their strength over the other and cleverly combined usage of the strength of both gives your website the edge.
    Using photoshop for creating the stunning graphics and importing them into your Fireworks layouts or using fireworks for animated gifs and so on…
    There’s plenty of space in anyones RAM for running both at the same time.

  • JM

    While I agree about Fw over Ps, it’s been a while since I’ve been looking for a new alternative. In Fw, I see so much potential, but undeveloped potential. It’s as simple as more vector tools, more brushes, more filters & effects for images

    I think that Fw is extremely clumsy (performance) when working, and they have kept the improvements to the minimum. It looks and feels old.

    Anyway, I will be using it still until someone comes along with something better.

  • http://dkjwebs.com Diane Jensen

    Thanks for this post! I’ve wanted to learn how to use Fireworks for a few years now, but there doesn’t seem to be any good books out there. Can you recommend any? I have Fireworks CS4.