Product Watch: Creating Great Images Optimized For the Web - Effortlessly


Macromedia Fireworks 2

Macromedia's Fireworks seemlessly integrates with HTML editors and bridges the gap between graphics and code, revolutionizing the way Web sites are built.

Fireworks 2 is a major upgrade to the Web graphics production tool. Fireworks was the first software application to specifically target the graphics production needs of Web designers. It accelerates Web workflow with new features that enable rapid edits across multiple graphics and ensures consistent design throughout a site. All of this power is offered in a complete professional design environment that allows Web professionals to produce graphics-rich, interactive Web sites with ease and speed.

Fireworks 2 is available as a standalone application or integrated with Macromedia Dreamweaver 2, a professional visual HTML editor, in the Dreamweaver, Fireworks Studio. Together Dreamweaver and Fireworks provide a environment for producing dynamic Web graphics and clean HTML code.

"The integration between Fireworks and Dreamweaver really addresses the way designers work today," said Lisa Lopuck, a San Francisco-based Web designer who has built high profile sites for National Geographic Online and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "After I completed one big project with Fireworks 2, you couldn't pry it away from me. The editable graphics and Dreamweaver integration have saved me enormous amounts of time and effort."

Bridging the Gap Between Graphics and Code

Because graphics and code on the Web are tightly associated, integrating and optimizing graphics and HTML production is a central issue facing today's Web developers. Fireworks solves this real-world problem by enabling designers to create graphics with sophisticated behaviors such as rollovers, then export those graphics and code in a format immediately recognized by the designer's HTML editors - without the need for time-consuming modification. Designers can export code in the native formats of leading professional HTML editors such as Macromedia Dreamweaver as well as tools for office users such as Microsoft FrontPage. Fireworks' HTML export templates are also fully customizable so developers can tailor them to individual needs.

While working in dreamweaver, developers can easily launch the full set of Fireworks editing features, then return to Dreamweaver once graphics work is complete. For rapid image optimizations, a new "Optimize in Fireworks" menu item in Dreamweaver 2 launches just the Fireworks Optimization engine. Fireworks' new JavaScript behaviors appear as native behaviors in Dreamweaver. The two applications include a number of additional workflow features that enable roundtrip editing of graphics and HTML code.

Consistent Look and Feel, Rapid Edits Across Sites

"As Web sites become larger and more central to business operations, consistent design and the ability to rapidly make changes across multiple graphics become crucial," said Tim Hale, vice president of marketing for Macromedia's Web Publishing division. "Fireworks provides real productivity advantages to businesses that each day face the challenge of keeping graphics-intensive sites updated and fresh in order to attract and keep visitors."

Fireworks 2 addresses these needs with a host of new features, including graphic and text Styles that can be shared among workgroups, and a Find and Replace function that can globally update text, fonts, colors, and URLs. Fireworks' powerful batch processing feature automates common, time-consuming tasks and even generates JavaScript Scriptlets, drag-and-drop pieces of code. A new URL manager helps keep links consistent throughout a site; and a Behaviors palette makes creating sophisticated interactivity fast and simple. Fireworks even adds a Project Log to assist in task management.

Professional Design Tools Specifically for the Web

Fireworks allows Web site creators to progress from concepts to completed Web graphics in one environment, without needing to switch tools. Version 2 includes such enhancements such as tabbed, dockable palettes, support for scanners and digital cameras, onion-skinning for precise GIF animations, and the ability to preview animations in the workplace. Fireworks 2 also introduces Web-savvy innovations such as color-locking and Web Dither Fill, used to create unlimited Websafe colors. Fireworks 2 takes image optimization a step further with better JPEG compression and innovative "Export to Size" wizard that automatically creates the highest quality graphics for a user-specified file size.

Fireworks' MSRP: $199 .......... Check for lowest price

System Requirements:

  • Power Macintosh Processor, (G3 recommended)
  • Mac OS 7.5.5 or later
  • 24 MB of available RAM with virtual memory on minimum; 32+ MB of available RAM with virtual memory off recommended
  • 640 x 480, 256-color display (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended)
  • 60 MB of free hard disk space (100 MB recommended)
  • Adobe Type 4 manager or later required with Type 1 fonts

Contact: Macromedia


Reviews:

MacHome - "Powerful image-editing program for the Web, takes the place of a multitude of more expensive programs " 5 Apples out of 5

MacAddict: "With Fireworks 2.0, however, Macromedia has created a powerful, easy-to-use Web graphics application. Movable palettes, redefined processes, and a rich feature set make version 2.0 a compelling upgrade for Web pros." 3 out of a possible 4

Macworld - "If Fireworks 1.0 won the battle of the Web graphics tools by a nose, version 2.0 is out in front by several lengths. If you buy only one Web graphics tool, Fireworks 2.0 is the one to get." 4 mice out of a possible 5


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