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Ok, not completely, but it’s time you stop using it to layout your web pages. I would like to make the case for Adobe Fireworks (FW). Believe me, I love PS as much as you do, I have taught courses on all levels of PS and would call it my favorite application of all time. But PS is about image manipulation. Even though it has some rudimentary web tools, Adobe created FW exclusively for web design. I know, you tried FW a number of years back and it sucked, and you didn’t have the patience to learn something new, so you stuck with PS. But FW is now a pretty respectable app, and it is vastly superior for web design. Honestly,  it drives me nuts how stubborn designers can be, not wanting to even consider an application other than their beloved PS.

Here’s why:

Styles – FW has type and object styles (like ID). If I create a style called “Headings” and use it for all of my headings, I can easily change the size or font in one go. It will update all 37 headings on all my pages instantly. In PS I would have to update each heading, one by one.

Multiple pages in one document – Sure, you can try to do this with folders or layouts in PS, but you quickly end up with a gazillion layers. FW has a neat little “Pages” tab and you can quickly flip through all the web pages in the site. Some people are still creating a separate psd for every page template in the site. Madness.

Page templates – You can create a master template or multiple individual templates. Either way, you update the template and all your pages update right along with it. Once again, nothing like this in PS.

Symbols – If I design a custom bullet, save it as a symbol, and disseminate it all over my pages, I can just update it once and all the bullets change. It’s true that PS has smart objects, but they are more clunky because they don’t have a separate palette that shows/organizes them all, and they must be edited in a separate window. Smart objects were not meant to function as symbols as they do in ID or FW.

There are some other features I rarely use, such as a CSS export, but the above are what I think makes all the difference. That said, its not all roses. Even though I prefer FW over PS for web design by a large margin, there are number of  irritating aspects one must just accept.

Some things I don’t like:

Buggy and crashes more than PS – Just keep hitting command/control S as you work. Its just not as mature an app as PS (which is blissfully stable).

Common things done differently than in PS – I am still amazed at what a poor job Adobe does at creating consistency among their apps. There is just no reason that stroking an object has to be different in PS as it is in AI as it is in FW etc. There are a number of interface differences that just don’t need to be. For example, there are no clipping groups, and layer masks are done differently. Drop shadows, type size, I could go on and on. Why Adobe, why? Its not hard to find these things though.

Doesn’t always play nice with PS - In the current version of FW, Adobe has finally owned up to this and gives you some options when you open a psd because it knows some things might get messed up.  FW also Fs things up a bit sometimes when saving a psd and you need to go into PS to makes fixes. Of course you wouldn’t ever need to save as a psd if people would just get on board with FW (ehem).

But anyway, all that said, I think the first list far outweighs the second.

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