November 23, 2009

Photoshop “vs.” Fireworks: Quick clarifications

Thanks for all the feedback in response to the survey I posted earlier today. I feel I should clarify a few things.

  • I’m touchy about hearing things like “As soon as Adobe bought Fireworks, the PS guys would be trying to kill it. Good job, mission accomplished.” To set the record straight, Adobe bought and revived Fireworks. To the best of my knowledge the app hadn’t gotten much love, to say the least, in its last couple of years with Macromedia. (Did they add anything in Studio 8?) And when Adobe was in the process of acquiring Macromedia, I spoke up strongly in support of Fireworks. Just thought you should know.
  • The list I posted isn’t a promise or a hint that the Photoshop team will undertake any–much less all–of this work. As I say, it’s just my aggregation of some of the suggestions I’ve heard a number of times. I thought it would be handy to collect them for your input.
  • Likewise, it isn’t a hint about the future of Fireworks or anything else. Sometimes a survey is just a survey.
  • Believe me, we’re sensitive to the subject of “bloat,” and I’m actively pitching ideas (here’s one) for how the apps can better integrate without just duplicating one another. Having said that, we can’t err too far in the other direction, saying that if one app does something, no others can do it (or do it well). It’s possible for apps to have different core missions and yet have tools & capabilities in common. (To that end, people flamed us for not moving animated GIF import from ImageReady to Photoshop, feeling it was a conspiracy to force them to buy Fireworks. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.)
  • People have always complained that Photoshop does too many things. I guarantee that whoever added text for the first time got an earful about it not being a “photographic” feature, and probably caught static from other Adobe teams. So it goes. Of course, people always say, “Stop adding anything new… except this handful of things for me, personally.” And they always push us to “simplify” and “just reduce” the application, yet they flip out if you take away their cherished anachronism. I always think of the Onion article, “98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others.”
  • We have serious ideas about how to break this logjam, but there are no silver bullets, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But it is happening.
  • Finally, a couple of practical tips: Here’s a Lorem Ipsum generator for PS, and here’s the GridMaker panel.
4:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]

Feedback, please: Graphic & Web design enhancements in Photoshop

I am, at heart, a Web designer, and I came to Adobe to improve the ways software could help design and build Web content. Therefore I’m keenly interested in advancing Photoshop’s graphic & Web design chops.

Below you’ll find some of the ideas that have bubbled up in discussions on this blog and elsewhere. The list isn’t exhaustive (I tried to keep the length reasonable), and it’s not a promise or a hint about what might be in development. Think of it as just a quick straw poll to gauge temperature.


  • Better vector drawing tools
  • Better control over strokes and fills, including dashed lines
  • Better Illustrator integration (e.g. make using Illustrator inside Photoshop as easy as double-clicking to edit a symbol in Flash or Illustrator)


  • Buttons with states (editable Up, Down, Over, etc.)
  • Intelligent widgets (e.g. buttons that resize smartly (a la 9-Slice); button bars that automatically scale/add buttons when resized; arrows with variable heads that orient themselves to path direction; etc.)
  • Ability to edit widget skins & to switch among skins (e.g. flip a button from Mac to Windows, or iPhone to Android)
  • Intelligent, skinnable charts (including ones with live data feeds)


  • Linked files (edit one document & have the change reflected in several documents that link to it)
  • Symbols (reusable objects that can be dragged in from a Library panel)
  • Type styles (edit a style definition in order to update multiple type layers at once)


  • High fidelity Web output (e.g. dashed lines that convert to CSS definitions)
  • Pixel-accurate Web rendering (i.e. text and objects that appear exactly as they would in a browser)
  • Better integration with Flash and Web authoring tools (e.g. components that translate with code & behaviors intact)

To help measure your interest, I’ve put these ideas into a quick survey. Please take a minute to let us know which ones are most interesting, and feel free to add comments via this post.

Thanks, and looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


[Update: I’ve posted some clarifications in response to comments below.]

8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [84]
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