Fireworks8, our designers aren't happy.
Steve, our lead designer here is a big Fireworks fan. He does most of his UI mock-ups using Fireworks, and uses it it very comfortably next to Photoshop.
Today I pulled down my copy of Studio 8 from my Devnet subscription. Steve wanted to explore Fireworks 8 and see what they added. After playing for awhile as well as watching the new features overviews, he let as all know that he was pretty unimpressed.
I took a peek at it too and I have to sadly agree.
So instead of moan about the lack of attention the tool has gotten, I will suggest some possibilities for the tool that would be alot more useful than what they have added, and make Fireworks again and really important member of the Studio. Off the top of my head I can think of 2 big ones:
1/Flash and Flex Component Library of SmartShapes
I am certain that in the near future Flex development will really start moving into the mainstream. When that happens, I am sure we will again enter a period similar to the early web application days where developers control so much of the final project, that designers are somewhat alientated from the process.
To combat that, how about a library of all of the Flex/Flash components so Designers can actually do mock-ups with proper components and not have to take screen shots of these items.
If these SmartShapes enforced the rules of the component but easily exposed the properties and styles of the component to the designer then that would be a great feature.
While they are at it, add a library of all browser components as well, the way IE and Firefox renders them. I am sure most designers doing HTML sites would again greatly benefit from this.
Ah man, if they also allowed you to preview the different ways that different OSs render them as well, designers would be lovin it!
Top it all of with the ability to export a CSS file for Flex or HTML that takes care of all of these items. Or even better, have it output an MXML file that a developer can easily then tighten up, but at least have a great design to start off with.
I couldn't believe that a Halo Light library was added, but not any others?? Seems bizarre.
2/Edit a Flex or Flash component Theme file
Ok if a designer could edit a component theme and focus on graphics rather than being exposed to hardcore developer set ups for these type of things then we would have a killer feature.
Make it so Fireworks exposed all states of the components and gave the designer fine grain control, but still enforced component "rules".
Finally have it so this process is smooth when working with developers. I just want to link to the designer theme file and compile my project. No other recompiling the whole framework type business.
Anyways, I will continue to add features as I think of them, but truth is the new Fireworks doesn't deserve and 8 beside it. Sorry to be a bummer, but it is true.