Most of us Fireworks users knew this day would eventually come. Fireworks although undeniably the only decent UX tool out there and only UX tool Adobe sells has been discontinued. Adobe haven’t cancelled it entirely, it’s just not getting new features and merely security fixes. But we all know eventually once people move on, Adobe will kill the product completely.
The mind-boggling thing about all of this is Flash and Dreamweaver will be getting the Creative Cloud treatment, two products in my opinion that should have taken Fireworks place on the discontinuation chopping board. So the real question here is why?
Adobe has no other tool that does what Fireworks does
Fireworks is like a mixture of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator that gives you a combined list of features Photoshop could only dream of; 9-slice scaling, ability to save out HTML/CSS, proper image export functionality (32bit PNGs’s), proper save-for-web image compression, small file sizes, pages, master pages, vectors.
The common issue I’ve seen with Photoshop files over the years is if you want to design a website consisting of different pages you have to either intelligently group your layers and label them (nobody ever labels their layers or creates groups except for a select few that care) or create multiple PSD files but then things really start to get messy when you have different versions of one PSD file.
Evident by the current lack of organisational features in Photoshop, it’s more than obvious that Photoshop was never designed to be used for web design. If Adobe were to implement pages and master pages into Photoshop it would be a nice start, but still no true replacement for Fireworks.
The question on Firework users lips is: Why discontinue a product you have no true replacement for? Fireworks is arguably the best tool for UX/UI designing and prototyping, nothing else Adobe currently has comes anywhere near it and yet they’ve just cut-off further development without consulting the community.
Answers to questions like, “What will happen to my Fireworks files, will Photoshop support opening them?” and “Will Photoshop be getting any Fireworks features?” would be a nice start.
Proposal #1 — Modes for Photoshop
I’m no software developer or designer, but having the ability to toggle between different layout modes in Photoshop, one for photo editing and one for web design sounds like a nice idea in theory.
Photoshop loads, you are presented with a splash screen offering you the choice of “Web Mode” or “Standard Mode”. Web mode would give you a similar interface and stripped back functionality of Fireworks and Standard Mode would present to you the standard Photoshop interface.
If splash screens are a bad idea, even offering the ability to select from the Window menu a custom interface mode and then go one step further and have sub-options. In web mode you could offer the same templates for mobile applications, tablets and non-desktop devices as well as prototyping and wire-framing templates like Fireworks currently offers.
Proposal #2 — Sell Fireworks to another company
Adobe could try shopping Fireworks around to see if any other companies are interested in purchasing the rights to the source code under the guise it cannot be called Fireworks.
The one potential buyer that comes to mind is Bohemian Coding, they have a well-known currently Mac only application called Sketch which is often referred to as a very decent alternative to Fireworks.
Proposal #3 — Open source it
Not very likely, but Adobe have been increasingly contributing to open source over the years and shifted their focus to HTML5 and CSS3. If Fireworks is no longer a priority for them, where is the harm in releasing the code so the community can continue improving it?