Saying goodbye to Adobe Fireworks

On May 6th 2013, I read that Adobe had decided to stop development of Fireworks. A sad news especially for me as I have been using it since 2001. I developed interest in the web thanks to a book titled “Teach yourself HTML in 24 hours” which my brother was reading back then, but it was only until I  used Fireworks that I realized how easy it was to design and create a website.

I have used Photoshop countless times but over the last decade Fireworks was the only design tool that I needed to create websites.

Adobe Fireworks

History of Adobe Fireworks

Fireworks was a vector graphics editor introduced to the world by a company called Macromedia back in 1998. There have been 12 iterations to it since then, but it never gained as much popularity and adoption as Photoshop. It was never intended as a tool for everything but only to aide in the designing of websites or user interface’s in general and without doubt it did that very well.

I personally don’t think Fireworks had grown very much ever since Adobe purchased Macromedia in 2007, but they did make it work well with other Adobe software such as Photoshop & Illustrator which had helped tremendously in working with other designers who do not use Fireworks.

The future of Adobe Fireworks

With Adobe announcing in its Adobe MAX conference that it would no longer update Fireworks, the Fireworks community has become more vocal on Social Media sites. A recent post on Adobe blog tiled “The future of Adobe Fireworks” does answer few questions let me put down in points what it means.

So what is the future of Adobe Fireworks?

  • Adobe will no longer continue development of Fireworks but users can still buy Fireworks CS6 as a standalone software or through the Creative cloud subscription.
  • Adobe promises to offer security updates for Fireworks.
  • Adobe will be releasing fixes, including “File not found” issue on Mac OS 10.8.
  • They may provide bug fixes.
  •  Adobe plans to update Fireworks to be compatible with next major releases MAC OS X and Windows but these plans may change.

Reason stated by Adobe for closing development of Fireworks…

“Over the last couple of years, there has been an increasing amount of overlap in the functionality between Fireworks and both existing and new programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Edge Reflow. At the same time we have shifted to focus our engineering teams on building smaller, more modular, tools and services for specific tasks in web design. Due to this overlap and as well as our change in our product development focus, we have decided not to update Fireworks to CC and instead will focus on developing new tools to meet our customer’s needs.”

- The Web Platform and Authoring team

Way Forward

For users like me who are dependent on Fireworks, we can continue using the software as long as possible which in reality could be at least a year or 2 if not more. If you prefer planning ahead, then this would also be the right time to invest time in learning and mastering another tool such as Photoshop or Illustrator. But for those of you who simply cannot imagine themselves using Photoshop or Illustrator for their web design projects, then you better start looking for an alternative.

Though there are no real alternatives to Fireworks that have every single feature Fireworks has to offer, the only options users now have are to use Photoshop or Illustrator or looking into something totally different such as:

Sketch

Sketch

Sketch is a professional vector graphics app with a beautiful interface and powerful tools. The company behind it created “Sketch” with an aim to build a better app for graphic designers. Unfortunately at this moment, Sketch is only available for MAC users.

If you have been using Fireworks only for wire-framing or prototyping then you could also use some of the tools listed on our earlier article “10 Wireframing and Prototyping Tools”

Adobe over last 2 years has also created some specialized tools targeted towards web development. Some of them are:

Adobe Muse CC

Adobe Muse

Adobe Muse CC is a software focused on allowing designers to create HTML websites without writing any code.

Adobe Edge Reflow CC

Adobe Edge Reflow

Adobe Edge Reflow CC on paper sounds like a good replacement for Fireworks. Edge Reflow is a highly visual tool with features for designers to quickly created responsive websites on a native web surface while accessing the latest CSS features and the ability preview designs in real time. Once a design is created, designers could extract generated CSS code to be used in other editors for modification or deployment.

Conclusion

I have designed many websites in last 9 years using Adobe Fireworks. I have used Fireworks not only to create prototypes or wireframes, but also detailed website layouts. I for one cannot imagine myself using anything else for now and so I plan to buy the latest version – Fireworks CS6 and use it as long as I could. I also plan to test Adobe’s Edge Reflow CC as it seems to be a promising tool to manage the complexity of designing a responsive site.

Change is difficult. Whether Adobe’s decision to stop development of Fireworks and focus on smaller task based tools is helpful for us would only be clear in next few years.

Harish Chouhan

Harish is a web developer from India and loves working with Fireworks & WordPress. As owner of Dreams Media, he provides custom website development for a living. He loves to write about Fireworks & WordPress and often blogs on his website HarishChouhan.com. You can also find on twitter @harishchouhan.

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27 Comments
  1. Solooh May 14, 10:44 am

    I hope guys from Bohemian Coding will soon improve Sketch. It’s quite similar to FW, but has some annoying features.

    Reply
    +4
  2. Peter Schweizer May 14, 12:36 pm

    Saw this coming since the day Adobe acquired Macromedia. What do they think the user that started working with the software since the first version will do now? Switch to Photoshop and step back 15 years? I hope there will be a new fireworks to fill this gap. Shame on Adobe for that kind of bad product management.

    Reply
    +43
  3. simon May 14, 12:55 pm

    If you use Fireworks so much maybe you can help me with his question.

    I bought several UI Packs from Design Mondo but found when opening them in Fireworks some of the elements are fairly broken. I.e. they don’t look the same as they do when you open them in Photoshop where everything is perfect.

    Generally I’d like Fireworks for Prototyping.

    Is there any way to get the UI Packs working perfectly in Fireworks?

    Thanks

    Reply
    +4
  4. Arnel Guanlao May 14, 2:20 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Reply
    -32
  5. Thiago A. Klein May 14, 2:48 pm

    I’ve been dedicated about 10 years to study and working with Fireworks. I think it’s best than Photoshop and Illustrator for web.

    I’ll continue using Fireworks for my websites/apps layouts and Illustrator for printing.

    Reply
    +24
    • JPL Jul 2, 10:13 pm

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Reply
      -12
  6. Waheed Akhtar May 14, 4:13 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Reply
    -23
  7. Stephan May 14, 6:26 pm

    Hello i’ve not before work very much with fireworks. But with this solution i think so, lose Adobe with her ABO and Cloud only model very much Designer and freelance starter.

    The solution for the moment is easy rest on CS5/CS6

    i dislike the photoshop CC and co

    Reply
    -3
  8. Andre Reinegger May 14, 7:37 pm

    I will not stop using Fireworks, until there is no better alternative to create layouts for screendesign (UI Web, App, …) !
    I think Photoshop or Illustrator will never compete with Fireworks, because the tools have to change there whole concept for this, which is not possible.
    I have made that clear in my often-cited article: http://www.reinegger.net/50_reasons_not_to_use_photoshop_for_webdesign.html

    Since Adobe got Fireworks from Macromedia only 2 real new features made it in there. So Adobe killed Fireworks from the beginning many years ago in 2007. Anyway after PS and AI steal some features from FW, Fireworks kept the better tool.

    The real power of Fireworks are the extensions. Other developer created awesome extensions which added the features Adobe doesn’t.

    As long as the developers create awesome extensions, Fireworks is still alive!
    The community is also very huge. So don’t give up, keep Fireworks alive by creating more and more awesome extensions!!!

    Hope other Fireworks fans see it the same way!

    Reply
    +49
    • Harish May 14, 9:09 pm

      Couldn’t agree more Andre. I have used Fireworks for too long and have no plans of stopping now. Adobe has created many new tools, however nothing does anything similar to Fireworks. I will continue writing articles for Fireworks and share on my twitter @harishchouhan

      Reply
      +8
    • Kaya Jun 15, 12:13 am

      Dear Andre, you’re article is awesome, thanks! It should be used as petition material to convince Adobe to reconsider..

      Reply
      +3
  9. Gabrielle Horner May 15, 12:21 am

    This was a long time coming, I’m surprised Fireworks has lasted this long, there’s no sense in Adobe Keeping Photoshop & Fireworks, especially since they migrated most of the functionality from Fireworks into Photoshop & Illustrator.

    Of course photoshop & illustrator will never compare, but I’m sure nobody is terribly surprised by this news. The writing has been on the wall for a long time.

    Reply
    +2
    • Van May 21, 4:55 am

      Actually, they have only scratched the surface regarding migrating the really important tools and workflow from Fireworks. This is the reason so many people are upset. There really isn’t a good replacement tool around.

      Adobe Edge Reflow isn’t going to cut it as a whole solution as you need to bring in a layout from Photoshop to reflow. The problem is Photoshop is a far from perfect workflow.

      Reply
      0
      • Edward Jun 20, 12:25 pm

        I keep reading that Illustrator and Photoshop cannot replace Fireworks because what Fireworks was best at has not been fully transferred to the other two (2) software titles. As Van stated, “they have only scratched the surface regarding migrating the really important tools and workflow[.]”

        However, I have yet to read what all of these tools and workflow are. I am not doubting that this is true, but can someone list several tools/workflow items which cannot be found in either Photoshop or Illustrator (or, additionally, in InDesign)?

        I still use Fireworks and will continue to do so.

        Reply
        +1
  10. Michael Clay May 15, 1:27 am

    Hasn’t anybody ever heard of using the right tool for the right job? Shoehorning features into Photoshop and Illustrator and trying to use them instead of using a tool specifically created for using the job doesn’t cut it.

    Reply
    +7
  11. JDIZM May 15, 6:24 am

    It’s sad that fireworks will no longer be developed, however the new edge tools look impressive and i’m sure they will fill in the gaps.

    Reply
    -4
    • Van May 21, 4:57 am

      Actually, you might want to download it. Reflow relies on a layout created in Photoshop.

      Reply
      +1
  12. Joris Hoogendoorn May 15, 12:11 pm

    I have been using illustrator for webdesign since 2007…
    There are no prototyping tools in illlustrator, but besides that there is so much possible. It has many functions that most people aren’t aware of. Like design on pixel-perfect grids, character-styles & 9-slice guides.

    Smashing magazine has an interesting post from 2011 about webdesign in illustrator: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/17/productive-web-design-with-adobe-illustrator/

    I think illustrator is a very good alternative for fireworks.
    If you have any questions about webdesign in illustrator, please e-mail me. i will help you!

    Reply
    0
  13. Arjun May 15, 2:29 pm

    Really it’s sad news FW will no longer. But i hope full the coming tools fill their gaps… any way thanks for this post

    Reply
    0
  14. tantash May 18, 3:56 am

    Sorry to this news i started creating web designs using fireworks
    i hate photoshop it doesn’t quite cut it fireworks is fast in creating an image / vector design , adobe killed alot of good stuff such as the InterAKT dreamweaver extensions

    Reply
    0
  15. Lennin Ruiz May 26, 2:14 pm

    Every Designer I know who gives a try to FW never went back to PS

    Reply
    +7
  16. Calum May 28, 12:26 am

    I’m gonna use Fireworks for as long as possible. I don’t see any good alternatives on Windows yet. Maybe I’ll go back to OSX in a few years and check out Sketch or whatever else is out by then.

    Reply
    +2
  17. Kaya Jun 14, 11:53 pm

    In this article Edge Reflow is mentioned as a possible alternative for FW, but I think that is (unfortunatly) a very big over-statement. Edge Reflow is a great tool for defining responsive layouts (setting breakpoints / media queries) and it allows direct css manipulation etcetera, but as far as a creative process goes, it’s still in kindergarten.

    Reply
    +1
  18. Eli Jun 18, 3:32 pm

    Love Fireworks and for the last 10 years it has been the only tool we used in the studio. I’d love to keep using it however there are 2 issues that foces us to find another solutions
    1. When Apple drops 32 bits support (OSX11?) all our project files become inaccessible. FireWorks is the only tool on the market that supports layered and paginated PNG. Keeping an old machine just to read files sounds like a hassle.
    2. 32 bit limitation that makes FW extremely unstable when working with large document of 30+ pages. With the responsive design any of our projects is bigger than that.

    Reply
    +3
  19. john Wallace Jun 24, 4:35 pm

    I have used Fireworks for years but am using it less and less lately because almost everything I do now is from a mobile-first strategy. I hope Adobe learns from the intuitive user experience provided by FireWorks and gives us a more flexible product.

    Reply
    0
  20. Ryan Finke Jun 9, 5:45 pm

    I’m also a Fireworks advocate for web design and have been using it since the Macromedia days. Because I learned that Adobe stopped working on Fireworks, I decided to try to embrace Reflow. I recently designed and entire new website using it.

    While Reflow was nice in previewing different screen sizes and educating how media queries will affect the design, as the project became more complex, Reflow began breaking. Because Reflow tries to live code and place your elements in a structured DOM, many unwanted layout errors occurred because of Reflow misunderstanding what I wanted. Going in to the DOM and reordering elements became tedious and annoying, so I just stopped eventually.

    Reflow did embrace some newer CSS3 standards, but it lacked many web design features such as graphics generations (which it substitutes by connecting Reflow to Photoshop). This workflow made mocking up a design much slower.

    Reflow is not made to generate quality code for the web (it says this itself in a popup when you first preview your design in the browser). Because this is true, it doesn’t seem like Reflow actually saves any web development time by placing the elements into the DOM and writing code for you.

    While I enjoy the visualization of the CSS media queries, Reflow is not robust enough to save time when mocking up designs.

    Reply
    0

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