Fireworks 4.0: Win9X/NT4 SP3

The Good Drag-and-drop rollovers; sophisticated batch processing; live animation features.

The Bad Customizable keyboard shortcut sets cannot be imported or exported; does not allow complex object movement paths with live animation; styles are still difficult to edit.

The Bottom Line Now easier to use, with new features matching every skill level, Fireworks 4.0 is definitely worth the upgrade or first purchase.

Editors' Rating
8.0 Overall

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Review

Fireworks 4.0: Win9X/NT4 SP3

Macromedia Fireworks 4.0 brings many welcome improvements to an already robust Web graphics application. From its standardized Macromedia interface to increased animation features and productivity options, Fireworks 4.0 comes closer to being the one tool every Web designer should own. Macromedia Fireworks 4.0 brings many welcome improvements to an already robust Web graphics application. From its standardized Macromedia interface to increased animation features and productivity options, Fireworks 4.0 comes closer to being the one tool every Web designer should own.

Familiar interface
Macromedia users will notice that Fireworks now sports an interface similar to Dreamweaver, FreeHand, and Flash. The common menu structure, the panel management, the active document window launcher bar, and the Tools panel layout provide a consistent look and feel, making the program more intuitive and approachable. Fireworks even shares an identical Bezier pen tool with FreeHand and Flash. The new Layers panel lets you easily manipulate the arrangement of objects within your composition. You can customize your keyboard shortcut sets to match the other apps in your toolbox. It's a shame that shortcut sets can't be exported or imported, though. Portable shortcut sets would make it much easier to create and share a common set among workgroups.

Even more productivity
As with earlier versions, you can import and export Photoshop files, but Fireworks 4.0 adds improved layer mask handling and a new Color Fill Live Effect. Fireworks 4.0 includes better overall integration with Dreamweaver, as well as advanced export controls that let you specify precise HTML/JavaScript and image output. Especially useful is the new selective JPEG compression, which lets you selectively compress portions of an image more or less than other areas to maintain image clarity while reducing file size. We also found the new batch process environment impressive. Developers working with a large number of files will find this feature invaluable. With it you can quickly set up and execute batch processes for multiple files. Processes can include exporting, scaling, and renaming, as well as executing any available Fireworks command scripts. Any commands you create via the History panel can now be used to batch-process multiple files.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Adobe
  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC
  • OS Family Windows
  • Version 4.0
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