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Ben Nadel at dev.Objective() 2015 (Bloomington, MN) with: Brannon Hightower
Ben Nadel at dev.Objective() 2015 (Bloomington, MN) with: Brannon Hightower

Andy Matthews Counters My FireWorks Rant

Published Comments (14)

Over on House of Fusion's CF-Talk list, I asked Andy Matthews to look at my FireWorks post and response with how it lines up with reality. I will admit that I have not used PhotoShop in years (on a regular basis) and may be out of touch with the reality of new versions.

Andy came back with a most excellent explanation that goes point-by-point for my rant:

I'd be happy be happy to do that Ben. I'll address each point in turn:

1) Click-Select-Alter Functionality

You say Fireworks just "knows" which layer/object to select.
I say that Photoshop offers so much fliexibility with it's layers, layers sets and adjustment layers that Fireworks would just become confused. As for YOUR interaction with layers, Photoshop makes it so easy to do. Here's a short list
of ways you can interact with layers and their data in Photoshop.

creating new layers
CTRL + SHIFT + N = new layer (and name it)
CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + N = new layer no naming options

dealing with multiple layers
CTRL + [ or ] = moves a layer up and down in the stack
CTRL + SHIFT + [ or ] = moves a layer to the top or bottom of the stack

ALT + [ or ] = selects the next visible layer (up or down) in the stack
ALT + SHIFT + [ or ] = selects the bottom or top layer in the stack

If you want to select a specific visible object on the workboard but you don't
know what layer it's on:
CTRL + right click brings up a menu of layers directly under your cursor
CTRL + ALT + right click takes you to the very top layer under your cursor

Photoshop does not offer any sort of visual feedback on the currently selected RASTER object, but it does offer visual clues for text boxes and vector objects.

2) Data Driven Graphics Wizard

I believe that Photoshop offers this functionality, but I've not used it. I know that Illustrator has had this for the last 3 versions.

3) Flash-Style Symbol Library

Photoshop doesn't offer a library of symbols like FW does, but it does have layer styles. This lets you create one styles and apply it to multiple layers/objects. It also allows you to do this action to "all linked layers".

4) Flash-Style Interface

This will soon be a non-issue as Adobe will be appliying the same interface to all of their applications in the next iteration.

5) Improved Optimization

As I haven't used FW in many years I can't say that this is true. However, when I switched back to Photoshop a few years ago, I found it just the opposite. Image Ready file sizes and quality were leaps and bounds ahead of FW. I'm sure that the two apps played leapfrog.

6) Multiple Frames

Photoshop doesn't offer this (that I know of) but Image Ready does. IMO Image Ready's animation tools are far superior to FW. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I changed over back in the day.

7) Batch Processing

Are you kidding? Photoshop invented batch processing via actions and the ability to even SAVE an action as a droplet and simply drop a folder or image onto that droplet. I won't even go any further except to say that if you can perform it manually in Photoshop, you can automate it using actions.

8) Stackable Filters

Photoshop can apply multiple effects to a layer, but I don't know if you can rearrange them in the manner you describe.

9) Multi-Object Editing

That sounds pretty cool. Photoshop only allowed you to select multiple layers in CS2. I would think that you could now apply a style/effect to all selected layers now, but I haven't tried it.

10) Automatic Bitmap Creation

I'm not quite sure what you're talking about here, but in Photoshop, can you create vector shapes, and fill them, as well as apply styles to them.

11) More Intuitive Interface

I'll agree that Photoshop's interface could be improved. But I've been using it for 11 or 12 years now and I don't know ANYONE better at Photoshop than I am. I'd consider myself past Master level and I STILL learn cool things about PS.

Thanks Andy! You the man!

Reader Comments


I can't say I've ever been a huge FireWorks fan, and while I've given it a couple of tries over the years, I'll be the first to admit I probably didn't give it a fair shake as I was so used to Photoshop (I used Photoshop exclusively for the better part of a decade). Whether it was perception or fact, it seemed like it was bloated and bogged down my relatively zippy system. I can't recall what the last version was that I had installed on my personal system (it was 6 or 7) but I used CS sporadically at my last job and it seemed much-improved. Having said all that, I've used GIMP at home for a couple of years and have been pleased. There are features I miss from Photoshop and some aggravating idiosyncrasies in the GIMP, but free is good, and I think some of it is my lack of time to really dig into what GIMP can do.


I brutally dangled some participles or something in that last comment. I meant that I had quit using Photoshop because I felt like it had bogged down my system, not FireWorks.


I was working in a design shop next to this guy Ugo who was always using fireworks, I was always using PS. I liked the way he could draw out big vector objects and keep a live fill area going and change it quickly. There were peolpe who did head to head combat with these softs and we all learned a lot about each one. Today, I am a die hard fireworks user. I love photoshop and still use illustrator often. I guess it was the ability to work very quickly and finish comps (web, iTV). It's really quite wonderful and integrates so nicely with flash. It can do all the things photoshop can do, point for point, from your list. I'd always defer to photoshop for work over 72dpi however. Anyway good luck as you conyinue your creative work and fun blog!



It's nice to know that people have done head-to-head tests and found that they are both great programs. But I agree, it is sooo fast to develop in, and so easy to use.


I've said this in other topics too; comparing Photoshop with Fireworks is like comparing apples with oranges. Photoshop's main focus is image editing, Fireworks tries to imitate Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver all at the same time, but doesn't excel in any of these areas. It reminds me a bit of devices that combine printer/scanner/copy machine or tv/video/stereo in one device, they seldom are a success either.



I am not sure why you keep bringing Dreamweaver into this discussion? Dreamweaver is a bloated piece of poop and I am not sure how Fireworks has tried to imitate it any way. Dreamweaver is HTML editor (plus lots of other crap that no one should use)... Fireworks is a graphics editor.


> am not sure why you keep bringing Dreamweaver into this discussion?

In case you dind't know Ben; both Fireworks and Dreamweaver were developed to help people creating web pages.

> Dreamweaver is a bloated piece of poop

Just yelling "Dreamweaver is a bloated piece of poop" doesn't give you any credibility don't you think? On the other hand coming up with some good arguments is a more adult way to start a discussion.
As for bloated; in which context? DW CS3 uses 181MB drive space, FW CS3 171MB. FW CS3 uses 98MB of memory, DW CS3 77MB. Does that make DW CS3 bloated?

Bloated in the context of features? Features are only considered bloated if they are not a useful addition to the software. I think you need some descend argumentation before you can make statements that certain software is bloated.
You know, it's so easy to throw stones at other products, even a 5 year olds can do that, but it won't impress the majority who are listening.

> plus lots of other crap that no one should use…

I hear this 5 year old again…
Again… I ask myself, why the blindfolded "stone throwing" again? Why are you so frustrated with the fact that others happen to use other software? Why do you have to rant about Photoshop or Dreamweaver when you don't even use it? It doesn't make sense to me.

All what counts is what people feel comfortable with. When I lived in Europe the majority in my country drove Opel, it was at that time the #1 selling car brand. I would never drive Opel, but obviously there were millions who were quite happy with Opel. I don't wear jeans, because I don't them. Are you now trying to convince me to wear jeans too?

It's the same with Dreamweaver and Photoshop, both one of the best selling products in computer software history, so obviously lots of people are happy with these products and unlike with Windows it's actually easy for them to make different choices, which they didn't make, so obviously these programs are doing something seriously right.

On the other the fact that few people use Fireworks, doesn't make it a bad program. A good example is Xara X which an excellent fast and simple to use vector program that is heavily underestimated.

Why is it that there are always seem to be people wanting to force others to use what THEY like? Let everyone decide on his own what he likes, it makes society much more colorful.

Even on my Photoshop forums (I run two sites) I have fellow Photoshop gurus trying to push Photoshop down people's throat. I don't understand; not everybody needs Photoshop, in some cases other products that are easier to use and cheaper will do just fine for what people have in mind.

And then I come to the other issue; you can tell the whole world that you own the best imaging software, the best OS and best hardware, but does that make you a perfect designer or artist? I have met people who are top gurus in Photoshop, they even throw mathematical formulas at you to explain certain things and it's all very impressive indeed, but quite often they are a poor designer or artist.

The majority of the Photoshop users only know how to modify images. Ask them to make something completely from scratch and they don't where to start or how to do certain things. Ask them draw a human face and they come up with stick figure drawing.

All I'm saying is; it doesn't matter what you use, it what's you do with it what counts. If you use Fireworks and make one of the best web site templates ever, is that because you use Fireworks or is it because you have excellent web design skills?

> Fireworks is a graphics editor.

It's not. It can edit graphics, but lots of software can do that, but that doesn't make those graphics editors per se. It's the end result that gives a program the label of web design or image editing tool, not the path that leads to that result.



Why is all this so personal for you? I've never seen anyone get so agitated like this about, ... well, about anything? Do you have some personal tie to PS that I should know about?

Dreamweaver will always be a horrible editor in my mind, if no other reason that is doesn't split the directory and file views. It lists files and directories together. Anyone coming from HomeSite of ColdFusion Studio has had to "learn" to live with issue. Plus, Dreamweaver has all that junk for drag-and drop web design. As I have said before (in other comments), anything that generates code (in my experience) generates bad code. To me, that is bloated.

"Why do you have to rant about Photoshop or Dreamweaver when you don't even use it?"

Dude, I am SO FAR from ranting about it that this post (the one above all these comments) is a response that someone wrote about Photoshop. It's a COUNTER argument to all the stuff that I said. How is that a rant? If anything, that's an anti-rant. That's saying, hey, check this out, this guy has stuff to say about how awesome PS is.

Again, you're just way too agitated about this, it confuses me.


Quote: "Why is all this so personal for you? I've never seen anyone get so agitated like this about, ... well, about anything? Do you have some personal tie to PS that I should know about? "

I never compared Photoshop on my sites and forums with a similar product and like I wrote earlier... I've even recommend people different products depending on their needs.

You however talked not only in 1 blog about Fireworks VS Photoshop, no for some strange reason you feel the need to rant about Fireworks vs Photoshop in 3 (!) blogs.
And let's not forget; you don't even use Photoshop. So it's very fair to ask the question; why do you have this ultimate need to compare Fireworks with Photoshop all the time? What is it that you have to gain, so if you think you're confused...

And you ask ME why this is all so personal?

And once you do take time to reply, you have comments like Dreamweaver is bloated poop", because you can't simply say "I think DW uses a lot of resources", not to mention that it's totally not related to the discussion about what kind of products Photoshop and Fireworks actually are.

Once I try to explain why DW is not so bloated at all, since hard drive use equals FW, while FW actually use more system memory than DW, you have no other defense then starting a new rant, this time about Dreamweaver's poor code.

At that moment I really start to yawn and feel ready for bed, the same feeling I have if I baby-sit my kids all day.

What's next? Ranting at your neighbor that he drives a Pontiac while you drive a Chevy? And then you're surprised when someone feels the need to respond to your unnecessary rants that serve no purpose whatsoever other than irritating the people who actually like those software products or who like their car?

I won't bother you anymore.

Good luck with your blog and I honestly mean the following Ben; make sure you work on your communication skills, they remind me of a 10 year old



jDonner is fanatical about Photoshop in the way that I love Fireworks. I think we both have valid points in our own way. I think a big part of the problem was that we use these applications for different purposes and were trying to compare strengths like apples and oranges.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel