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.
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
Animation made easy
As with version 3.0, Fireworks 4.0 is a definite upgrade or first purchase for any professional Web developer. At $299, with its depth of features and level of sophistication, Fireworks 4.0 is pricey but still a good value. By adapting a more familiar interface, enhancing import and export features, introducing complex batch processing, and making animation much easier to deal with, Fireworks retains its lead in the dedicated Web graphics application race. Of course, improvements can still be made. We'd like to be able to export keyboard shortcut sets and work with more complex animation paths. And changing specific Style characteristics is still not possible without creating a new Style altogether--a leftover glitch from past versions. No product is perfect, but Fireworks keeps getting closer with every upgrade.