Design After Fireworks

posted by: Garrett Godsey

Only two weeks ago I wrote a post about why UI designers should be using Fireworks as their primary design tool. I stand behind my opinions, but it looks like they’ve got an expiration date.

It’s recently been announced that Adobe will no longer be providing any significant updates for the amazing application. You can read more about their reasoning and the massive onslaught (over 600 comments in 24 hours) of customer outcry via the their blog post and comment thread here.

It comes as little surprise, as the writing has been on the wall for a few years now concerning the potential demise of Fireworks. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I had hoped that continued community support would turn the tide, but that doesn’t look to be the case.

So what does that mean for the workflow of all the designers using it including myself?

1. Fireworks will still be an amazing tool to use until the gap between OS versions and FW updates is wide enough that it no longer functions. That should give us a year or two to adapt.

2. In the meantime we need to find other tools that will provide a similar or better level of workflow efficiency and creative power so we’re not caught with our pants down when Fireworks finally kicks the bucket.

The Front Runners

These are pretty cool, but, in my opinion, we don’t have a Fireworks killer yet.

1. Sketch 2

Product Page

First Impressions and Reviews:

2. WebCode

Product Page

First Impressions and Reviews:

3. Antetype

Product Page

First Impressions and Reviews:

4. Adobe …

Are they going to make something that will take Fireworks place in my workflow? Time will tell. Here’s a statement from their blog update :

The show of support for Fireworks from the community has reaffirmed our belief that Adobe should continue to deliver dedicated tools for web designers – what follows Fireworks CS6 will be an revolutionary leap, designed from the ground up with the needs of the modern web designer front and center. To do this we need your help. We’d love to hear about how you work, what challenges you face, where you experience the most pain in your day to day design processes.

If you’d like to join us in the process of creating these new tools then please sign-up here.”

What I want to see in a true “Replacement App”

If Adobe or any other development team is reading this, here are the things I would like to see in a true replacement. So far the only app with all of these features is Fireworks.

1. Shared Layers

2. Pages

3. Symbols

4. Best in class vector drawing tools

5. Object Library

6. Clickable prototype creation

7. Easy/intuitive object selection/grouping

8. Style Library

9. Play nice with existing PS, AI, and FW files

10. Best in class image compression

What’s Next:

I’ll continue using Fireworks as my primary UI design tool for the next several months at the very least. It doesn’t make sense to jump ship until there is something that matches it or I’m forced to for some uncontrollable reason. I’ll let you all know how this shakes out when it finally does.

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