May 07, 2013

Is Fireworks dead?

It won’t get new features, but Fireworks CS6 will remain available for purchase, and it will get updated to support the next major releases of Mac OS X and Windows. Check out the Fireworks team blog for more info.

History: Macromedia had effectively shut down Fireworks development before being acquired by Adobe. Adobe revived the app and invested heavily in making the app more powerful for rapid prototyping & more.

The Web moves fast, though, and Adobe has to focus. Design means making decisions, and there’s more benefit now in building new, modern tools like Edge Reflow, and in making those work well with Photoshop & Illustrator.

Fireworks is full of great features (which, as noted above, you can continue to download & use). Going forward, my recommendation is to focus on ends, not means. Fireworks lovers, tell the Photoshop & other teams exactly what you need. They’re listening—hard. Photoshop CS6 was the biggest Web/screen design upgrade in 12 years; I think you’ll love what’s arriving in Photoshop CC (smart rounded rectangles, improved type rendering, new CSS generation power, and more); and they’re just getting warmed up.

Posted by John Nack at 8:05 AM on May 07, 2013

Comments

  • Jerry Cooley — 8:17 AM on May 07, 2013

    What exactly is the incentive for Adobe to be listening hard? You’ll get our money whether you lift a finger or not.

    The suits that pushed for this subscription change will quickly realize that investments in R&D and improving tools won’t provide much additional revenue with this new structure.

    All they really need now is a skeleton crew to keep the Adobe products functioning on new hardware and OS releases, and to integrate any “killer” feature that somebody else comes up with and Adobe buys. …And to manage all the DRM issues and subscription accounts, of course.

    In a few years after revenue growth stagnates, (since everyone is already on subscription by then), then job cuts will come to the product teams. It’ll be the only way to grow revenue, other than the incremental price increases that will be occurring.

    (Though, they’ll probably get a bump when they jack up the price for CC Complete and add lower tiers at the current pricing. That could postpone things a bit.)

    • Jen — 5:32 AM on May 14, 2013

      Exactly!

      Adobe has had a very poor track record with the past 3 releases, only the AE team doing a decent job of anything and the Photoshop team doing ridiculous things like adding half arsed 3D features when they didn’t even have proper rounded rectangles.

      You had the cheek to charge for garbage like that 5.5 update which only seemed to exist as a land grab to the App Store.

      No way will Adobe CC ever see my bank details, it would remove the last few incentives you guys have to innovate at all. Can’t wait for this monopoly to crumble.

  • Mychal McCabe — 8:42 AM on May 07, 2013

    Funny. Saw the news headlines about the Creative Cloud decision last night (after 10 or so years of buying Studio MX and the Creative Suite, and at least once both for our creative team). Figured I’d drop by your blog for the scoop, and got this second scoop instead.

    There was a comms plan that included reaching out to customers, yeah? Lord only knows I’m getting enough emails from the Adobe team explaining how digital marketing’s supposed to work.

  • Christopher — 8:46 AM on May 07, 2013

    I agree with Jerry. There is no incentive for Adobe to listen hard… They haven’t in the past and they will certainly not now that they are getting monthly payments from their users either way.

    Fireworks is dead. As dead as it has been for years in that it’s used every day by professionals but has gotten little to no updates in years such as going Carbon, or Retina and it will never get those updates now, so yes it is dead.

    If Adobe doesn’t have time for it, then they should sell it to another company who does, and will be able to make it Retina and fix all of the bugs that have lingered for years.

  • bartek — 9:03 AM on May 07, 2013

    why guy who didn’t care for FW now speaks up, how many updates FW get since CS5?

  • Erik — 9:17 AM on May 07, 2013

    Could you add most of these features please:
    http://www.reinegger.net/50_reasons_not_to_use_photoshop_for_webdesign.html

    What I would love to see is an advanced high-fidelity wireframing tool that works well with photoshop and illustrator. The small new applications adobe is releasing isn’t good enough. I like them but they have years of development until they can be used in the same way as fireworks.

    But maybe this will give us a competitor to adobe and that would be very welcome. Right now the best alternative to fireworks we have is probably sketch.

  • Mischa McLachlan — 9:22 AM on May 07, 2013

    While i can appreciate the desire to help out Fireworks users, by suggesting they give feedback and comments on what they need to the Photoshop teams, i’m sure i’m not the only one that doesn’t want yet more stuff in the already massive photoshop application.

    Photoshop has so many markets to satisfy already, please let’s not add all of the Fireworks feature set too.

    It’s not an easy problem to deal with of course, catering to so many markets with a single product, but i do hope the PS teams are able to fend of the multitude of feature requests they’ll get from this change.

  • John — 9:47 AM on May 07, 2013

    I’ve been using Fireworks for a long time and love using it. It still does a lot of things that Photoshop and Illustrator can’t do. When Adobe introduced Thermo (later known as Flash Catalyst), Fireworks users were very vocal on why Adobe didn’t focus on improving Fireworks to add a few of the items that Flash Catalyst could do that FW couldn’t. Fireworks was already the better prototyping tool. Everything said fell on deaf ears. And no one wanted Flash Catalyst and its dead now. Photoshop CC just gets editable rectangles? It still has horrible support for gradient control. Sorry if I’m skeptical that Adobe is really listening.

  • SBG — 2:12 PM on May 07, 2013

    Yep – dead as a doornail.

  • Peter — 2:20 PM on May 07, 2013

    One thing that would be great to have in Photoshop is the ability to use a raster-based brush engine with vector tools. Just like the Stroke Path command, only for live, editable vector shapes. Fireworks has been able to do this for ages. With all the advanced brush settings in Photoshop like scattering, such a feature would even enable users to use it as a particle system without any additional work being required.

  • Shlomo Goltz — 2:56 PM on May 07, 2013

    Though I am not surprised to see Adobe let Fireworks just die – with no viable alternative, I am upset that there is no real substitute on the market.

    What started out as an animation tool with Macromedia was Co-opted by Adobe as an Interaction Design tool. Adobe may be great at print, video, and the web, but interaction designers don’t have any tools made specifically for them. We Interaction designers are left to use tools made for other purposes, like photoshop or illustrator. Flash Catalyst tried and failed to fill the void in Adobe’s portfolio, but alas, it looks like Adobe has given up.

    Sketch is the closest to supplanting fireworks, but I don’t see its development moving fast enough. And there are many features still missing from sketch, and any other app in the market. Here is what made Fireworks so special, and what I’d like to see incorporated into current apps, or a new app at that:

    1. Shared layers
    Sharing a layer is more versatile and efficient than merely copying and pasting objects from page to page because shared layers maintain consistency. This is a huge time-saver because common elements that appear across many pages can be changed once and updated across the entire project in one click! Share a layer if you want the same objects to appear across pages consistently (known as “object persistence”)

    2. Page based document structure
    By their very nature, interactive documents require multiple pages. Pages in website design (and screens in app design) are a fundamental unit of interaction, because they contain the content that users navigate to throughout the application. (multiple art boards in Illustrator, as they are implemented today, are not yet a viable alternative.)

    3. Vector Drawing tools (but also friendly to bitmaps)
    Fireworks ability to live in the raster and vector worlds is unmatched anywhere else, and allowed for a flexible way to create visual content. Vector graphics are especially advantageous because they allow for non-destructive editing; and for the most part, the nature of vectors forces you to maintain low to medium fidelity – key for wire framing.

    4. Symbols
    A symbol in Fireworks is a special kind of reusable graphic element — think of it as a master version of a graphic. Use a symbol whenever you will be repeatedly using a graphic, such as a logo. The advantage is that copies of a symbol (called symbol “instances”) will all be linked to the original; so, when properties of the original instance are changed, the other instances will change automatically.

    5. The common library and Object Library
    Think of this in a similar way to how stencils are used in Omnigraffle. These are reusable components that are formed from groups of objects you want to reuse multiple times in one document or share across documents.

    Please bring these features back to an Adobe application, or many interaction designers will be searching outside Adobe for their solutions. Omnigraffle and sketch seem like my best bets at the moment. Adobe, I am disappointed.

    • Joey — 4:58 PM on May 07, 2013

      couldn’t agree more! my words

    • Herbert van der Wegen — 9:15 PM on May 08, 2013

      Photoline has many of Fireworks’ features (first three requests are available). Unfortunately, no symbol library yet.

  • Shlomo Goltz — 2:58 PM on May 07, 2013

    6. Integrated Interactivity
    The ability to create hotspots and draw within one app is huge. Click throughs are a breeze to create in Fireworks.

  • scarbom — 3:15 PM on May 07, 2013

    just: grr.

  • Jeremy Chone — 3:41 PM on May 07, 2013

    I am biggest fan of Photoshop and actually happy that Photoshop is taking many cues from fireworks and will be pressured to fill the gap.

    However, forcing customers to subscription and removing a key tool loved by all application/site designers is very disrespectful to the community that have allowed you to thrive so far.

    I am kind of glad that Microsoft is not moving to all cloud for Windows and Office, and I am sure that even Adobe would not be happy to pay a monthly fees for all their employees for Office and Windows.

    Btw, we, the developers, are very lucky that Adobe did not win the next web platform (Flash, Flex, …), otherwise, we would have been taken in hostage as well…. and this coming from a ex Flex PM. I have always loved technology more than my paycheck, and this is why I did not feel right in Adobe even if I loved the talent and product.

    I really hope that this desktop-software-as-subscription model won’t win over the software market, as it will become very expensive for us.

    Sorry John for the hard words. Do not take this as trolling but as a well thought out feedback. Adobe is loosing lot of credibility from their users from these moves, even if the execs and shareholders are trying to minimize the impacts, don’t be fool, even your hardest product fans lost much respect for the company itself.

    I will move to CC as I do not have a choice.

  • James Sinks — 4:06 PM on May 07, 2013

    Adobe commits to bring Fireworks CS6 to the next version of Windows/MacOS but not Photoshop CS6? Brilliant.

  • Locke — 8:03 PM on May 07, 2013

    Yet another example of how the merger was awful for users.

    [No, it isn't. Macromedia killed Fireworks; Adobe revived it and then kept it in development for 7+ years. --J.]

    I know, I know, ancient history & all that, but the regulators should never have allowed two competitors who had such a huge share of the markets to merge without heavy, heavy restrictions (like forcing the sale or open sourcing of shuttered products).

    It was Airbus & Boeing merging. Pepsi & Coke, Gillette & Schick.

  • Vitaliy — 9:22 PM on May 07, 2013

    Guys, you could try Xara products.

    I mean http://www.xara.com/us/

    You can set pixel as units, they support multiplage documents, gradients, accurate HTML generation.

  • Thomas Koetter — 1:25 AM on May 08, 2013

    John, can you shed some light on the future of Dreamweaver?

    [I'm afraid I don't have any info on DW. --J.]

    Adobe evangelist Paul Trani is quoted as saying that Adobe is not developing a new full-fledged editor like Dreamweaver for HTML5. This seems to indicate that Dreamweaver is also dead. I don’t see Adobe developing two product lines for HTML5.

    It’s sad to see Adobe showing so little reliability and, therefore, losing so much trust and good-will from long-time supporters in such a short time.

    [It's really unfortunate to focus on perceived negatives and to ignore what's positive. From what I can tell Adobe's putting more effort than ever into building great HTML tools. Are you aware of Edge Code, Reflow, and Animate? --J.]

  • Alan Musselman — 8:17 AM on May 08, 2013

    That history quote is a load of BS, tell the truth John stop looking for facts that dont exist to cool the community down.

    [It is? Please explain. My understanding is that the guys in Texas had rotated off of both FreeHand & Fireworks. (For example, was anything at all added to FW in Studio 8?) I can try to dig up messages from David Spells from a few years back, as I reached out then to confirm my recollections. --J.]

  • Eric Carlisle — 10:34 AM on May 08, 2013

    The discontinuation of further Fireworks development is extremely disappointing. Photoshop and Fireworks represent two very different use case paradigms.

    Regarding the assimilation of Fireworks functionality into Photoshop, that’s all Photoshop needs… more features! Now that Photoshop has been optimized, we can bloat it more with Fireworks functionality? Very square-peg / round-hole to me.

    I have set up a petition to appeal to Adobe regarding this decision. Any support would be appreciated!

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dont-kill-adobe-fireworks

  • Lembit Kivisik — 3:23 PM on May 08, 2013

    John, I remember being happy to read your “Photoshop + Fireworks: Where to from here?” post 7 years ago on this very blog, and all its insightful comments with so many practical proposals on what the FW folks would need from the product. I was even happier, when many features proposed on your blog also really arrived into Fireworks — e.g Rich Symbols to name just one. And thus I have to give credit to Adobe for having a really nice start with Fireworks after the infamous merger.

    However, what happened to the positioning of the 2 products that you describe in your post from 7 yrs. ago, which made perfect sense to me then, and would make sense now?

    So, now we interaction designers have to go with the “ten-foot-tall, two-ton son of a gun who could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing”? Really? Come on..

    [I know; nothing's perfect. I fought hard to make Photoshop more customizable in hopes that with the application of a preset or two, the app could feel nicely tuned for the work at hand (be it Web & UI design, photography, etc.). We made some good progress in some areas, but the customizability just never came together as I'd hoped. (Remember Configurator? Probably not.)

    And I should bear some blame for pushing too hard, maybe, to do something *really* groundbreaking, like HTML layers. I didn't just want to reimplement what other apps like FW had done years earlier; I wanted to really change the game. But that didn't happen, either, and now the PS guys at at least focused on grinding out unglamorous but highly needed improvements (e.g. smart rounded rectangles). --J.]

  • James H — 2:29 PM on May 09, 2013

    What happens to all of the Fireworks files? They are in a special png container format that nothing else works with. Is there a Fireworks to PSD conversion tool in the works?

    Sure file formats sometimes die but that’s a lot of history to lose access to.

    • Johan Wuyckens — 7:47 AM on May 15, 2013

      James, why not simply use the “save as PSD”-option in FW’s ‘save as’-dialog box? It’s not always 100% accurate (masks and some outlines are sometimes problematic) but all in all it works fine (in CS6, at least).

  • Michel — 11:21 AM on May 11, 2013

    John,

    I hope that Adobe people (this includes you) are listening carefully to what the community response is, to what Adobe did just now — namely, canceling the development of Fireworks, and forcing designers to use more complicated workflows.

    People who use Fireworks will not switch to Photoshop. They’ll go away and will try other products — products made not by Adobe.

    Photoshop is not a UI tool no matter how hard you try to cram it with UI features. And it never will be.

    Did you read the 800+ comments of people who want Fireworks, not Photoshop?

    Adobe stops developing its best products for UI/UX design, and does not offer a replacement! Isn’t this silly?…

    Oh well. Adobe is so big. They can ignore a large part of its userbase and cancel any good product they want…

    Good. So we’re moving on. Go to h**l with your Creative Cloud subscription, Photoshop and “new awesome tools we’re developing for you, UI designers” because if you can ignore a few thousand people who rely on Fireworks, need it, and pay for it, then you don’t deserve to get my money.

  • Jen — 5:25 AM on May 14, 2013

    If you had any intention of listening to our feedback then you wouldn have listened over the years and invested more in Fireworks.

    Voting with my wallet, goodbye Adobe, Hello Sketch.

    • Johan Wuyckens — 8:01 AM on May 15, 2013

      Jen. Same here. I’m also scouting for non-Adobe alternatives. Unfortunately I see nothing that’s already “there” yet. Also, most seem to be for Mac. PC-users are left in the cold for the moment. Well, maybe now I finally have a reason to bite the (financial) bullet and switch to Mac. I’ll just wait and see what happens for a year or so. In the meantime I simply continue using FW.

  • Tim — 1:46 PM on May 16, 2013

    I canceled my Creative Cloud membership long before this announcement, as I could already see what Adobe’s future plans of subscription model pricing were going to entail.
    If you want to cancel and are afraid of Adobe charging you a fee for it, all you have to do is tell your credit card company your card got hacked, they’ll cancel it and issue you a new one, but more importantly, Adobe won’t be able to bill you the exorbitant fees associated with their products.
    I’ll keep my CS5 for doing print work, but have mostly switched to Pixelmator and Sketch to do everything else. See ya Adobe.

  • Jerry — 8:58 AM on June 30, 2013

    Integrating features from fireworks into Photoshop as well as Dreamweaver would seem like a good move to me. The new CSS features in Dreamweaver are very nice. I have a feeling the Edge Tools will eclipse Dreamweaver and Flash as well for better or worse. Fireworks is just the first of many dominoes to fall.

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