Fireworks has always been a thorn in the flesh for Adobe. The former Macromedia software was released in 1998 and has been designed from ground up to create layouts for screen designs, i.e. websites, applications, user desktops and more.
Adobe products were specialized on print, while Macromedia tools were developed for the web, so for the future. Adobe also wanted to be a part of the future.
With ImageReady Adobe has begun to fight back in 1999. The Photoshop version 5.5 contained the extension ImageReady. For eleven years (since 1988) Photoshop has mainly been used to modify printable pictures. But ImageReady gave Photoshop the option to produce pictures for the world wide web and contained related tools for that. Of course Photoshop never felt as comfortable as Fireworks, because both softwares had been designed for different intentions.
Adobe is a company coming from the print era; With Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash Macromedia was a 100% digital company. All of these tools created from the ground up for UI design and for the web.
Adobe Photoshop has always been a competitor for Adobe Fireworks, but this is actually wrong. Photoshop is a retouching tool and more of a distributor of content for layouts and no stand alone layout software. In the print area there was never a misunderstanding. Here the designers have supplied pictures for InDesign with Photoshop. No designer in the world who knows a bit about his field would have used only Photoshop to create the entire brochure. But the people in webdesign did. Designers have created websites that consisted of several single pages with their favourite software Photoshop rather than getting a new software.
Even if you were able to retouch in Fireworks (which is rather uncomfortable), Firewords is first of all like InDesign intended for layouts.
In April 2005 Adobe took over the company Macromedia. ImageReady has never really been a success and its features weren't as extensive as Fireworks. So Adobe decided to remove ImageReady from the next Photoshop version (CS3 in 2007). They also wanted Fireworks to live on, a decision that hurt many Adobe users and delighted a lot of Macromedia Fans.
Just like many designers Adobe has always seen Fireworks as a villain to Photoshop and apparently also misunderstood it. Instead of promoting Fireworks correctly now and communicating its abilities clearly, i.e. that it is a layout program for screen and can be compared to InDesign, they rather pretended it didn't exist.
Adobe had a Ferrari in the garage that they never showed to anybody and therefore never gave it the chance to prove itself and show what it was really about. The product page of Fireworks has always been very superficial and it was never hinted to its true power. At presentations and road shows you would look for Fireworks and not find it. The program was never on the agenda. On AdobeTV only the very basics of Fireworks were shown. So the super hero does not get a chance to present itself in any way.
Users are always looking forward to the cool new features that are offered with every new version of Adobe software. The new features that Adobe has sponsored to Fireworks over the years and versions are not worth mentioning. The only two praiseworthy features are the pages palette with the master page that is really essential (and came from Macromedia times I think), and the CCS properties palette in CS6. The import function of Photoshop documents still doesn't work without problems. Masks are particularly difficult. Without a proper import Adobe hinders an excellent work flow between Photoshop and Fireworks that is essential for a layout software.
Tip: Masks should be reduced (meaning applied) in Photoshop, then it is no problem to import them.
Instead of adding new important features to Fireworks with each version, something that many people are waiting for, it only gets a polish. With every new version they are told that some bugs have been fixed and that here and there one screw or another has been turned a bit. So the Ferrari stays in the garage and always gets a nice new polish, instead of giving it a new turbo loader and putting him on a race track. At the same time Adobe continues to push Photoshop in the direction of screen / UI design, a pixel-based tool that is not suitable for this task.
Instead of putting in new features into Fireworks, Adobe is helping itself to already existing Fireworks features and putting them into other Adobe software. This is no give and take, this is just taking. Rather than seeing the Creative Suite as a suite where all programs learn from and inspire each other, all other programs are “getting inspired” by Fireworks, for example the control tool of Illustrator or the CSS properties in the new version of Photoshop.
Yes, even theft is happening. From the beginning Fireworks has worked together perfectly with Flash, like all other Macromedia products. With version CS6 of Flash the work flow between Fireworks and Flash has been completely removed. Until and including version CS5.5 the work flow was immaculate and could not have been better. Graphics and Layouts could be transferred via copy and paste or import dialogue from Fireworks to Flash without any problems. All layers, vectors, styles, properties, controls and so on remained intact and furthermore could still be edited in Flash. This was never possible in Photoshop and it still isn't in the newest release. With every new Flash version Adobe promised that the work flow between Photoshop and Flash is getting optimised. But until today they never reached the quality of Fireworks Import. That's why Adobe rather removed the import function from Fireworks, because there is no way that Fireworks is still much better.
Tip: I installed not only the newest version of Flash but also the Flash CS5.5 version, so I can still import Fireworks files and edit them in the newest Flash version if required.
More and more (online) magazines have written great articles about the super hero lately. More and more designers and big agencies have realised the power of the super hero and switched to Fireworks in the last few years (from my own observations especially in the last two years). Now that Fireworks is undergoing a huge transformation even without the help of Adobe, they don't want to invest into new features anymore.
Those who really took the time to learn how to use Fireworks, love the program. User that have really gotten what the program is all about, love the comfort, the efficiency, the precision and a lot more and will never willingly switch to a different screen design program. So it is not surprising that a large and strong community exists, even though Adobe has done all they can to hide the true power of our superhero in the last couple of years.
On May 6th 2013, Adobe has officially announced that Fireworks is not getting any new features and there will not be a Fireworks CC. Who care! Fireworks has not received any new features in the last six years and it is still up to date and can achieve more in the area of screen design than Photoshop and every other program. 50 reasons NOT to use Photoshop for Web Design.
And this will be true for quite some time, Photoshop and Illustrator will probably never compare to Fireworks, because that means that they entire concept of both programs needs to be changed.
Fireworks has the best and most devoted extension developers ever! Developers have written numerous great extensions for Fireworks over the last few years. The developers of extensions made sure that Fireworks is still getting a lot of new features. They programmed the new features for Fireworks that Adobe didn't want to invest in over the years. So now there are for example extensions for the optimization of CSS export, responsive web design, auto save, SVG export, and many more. As long as these developers are keeping up the good work for our super hero, he will remain up to date and alive.
Fireworks has not died only a few days ago. Fireworks is dead since 2007, when Adobe acquired Macromedia.
Fireworks has survived the last 6 years despite all that. 6 years in which the internet has evolved significantly and Fireworks is still up to date and way ahead of Photoshop
As long as there are great extensions Fireworks is not dead! You are the ones who kept Fireworks alive all these years. The six years that Fireworks received no love from Adobe. You and the strong community are what will keep Fireworks alive the next six years.
Now more than ever, give Fireworks a firework of new cool features!!!!
I am looking forward to more great extensions from you!
I for one will continue to use Fireworks as long as I could, because I want to keep working efficiently and precisely. And that kind of work is just not possible with other programs at the moment. Since it’s obvious, Adobe has no tool in their portfolio today, that can replace Fireworks. Photoshop and Illustrator will remain as the distributors of contents, but not as layout software for screen design.
Will Adobe invent a new tool that is able to replace Fireworks? Who knows. But looking at their wasted efforts so far (Flash Catalyst, Muse, and many other apps that came and went)... And also their total lack of attention to the best tool for UI- and web design they had (Fireworks)... I would doubt that.
I will continue to use Fireworks as long as I can. Meanwhile, new tools will appear on the market and one day, we’ll have our replacement for Fireworks. Hopefully, it will be even better than Fireworks is today!
I am glad that Fireworks is still parked in Adobe's Cloud garage and it is still getting polished, bugs are being fixed and it is getting fitted for the latest Operation Systems. As long as the developers of extensions provide our super hero with great features, everything will be okay and he can still keep going for six more years!
Who like me wants to keep working with Fireworks should stay in touch through the community and use extensions to provide Fireworks with new featurs!