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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

Fireworks from Macromedia is a very unique application. I don't think I have ever come across anything like it. Although it can be used for print graphics, it was specifically designed with web graphics in mind. You have all seen those web pages that have the large graphics that are chopped up into smaller parts, not only does Fireworks make this procedure a snap - it even writes the HTML code for you! What?! A graphic program that writes HTML code? You bet!

But, that isn't all. You have also seen web pages that buttons or images change when the mouse is over them and returns when the mouse vacates the area. These graphics can be done in Fireworks with a couple of mouse clicks. And yep, you guessed it, it even writes the coding for your web page.

Another great feature, is the way it generates animated gifs with such ease. Fireworks also supports the new png format for web graphics and imports images from your favorite image editors, even keeping the original layered information in tact.

Web page imagemaps are also easily done right in Fireworks and copied into your web document, links and all. Fireworks has the capability to create the HTML for most special web graphic effects. I found this to be a real time saver and the coding works great with all WYSIWYG and Text editors that I tried it with.

The Fireworks tool box comes with all of the most common tools for drawing and selecting and the text in your graphics is always editable, even after it has been pasted to your document and deselected. The tool boxes are stationary, but the many editing palettes are all floating. Tools for both Vector and Bitmap images are included. Adding Live Effects such as bevels and drop shadows that are completely editable and allows you to watch them update automatically.

The Export Preview is one of the most useful features you will ever seen a web graphic editor. The Export Preview panel allows the artist to view the final output of the image in up to four different settings on the same screen for easy comparison. The view you see is what it will look like in a browser. The days of opening them and previewing them with a browser are over. The Export Preview Panel also lets the author know what the final file size will be and approximately how long it would take to load on a typical Internet connection. You can also save your optimization and export settings and batch process an entire folder of images at once.

Cost Value:
- Once again, it may be a little much for the casual web designer, but the professional web artist will find this program a must and wonder how you ever got along without it. Web Artists simply need Fireworks from Macromedia. A very much welcome tool on any web designers graphic workbench.

Packaging / manual:
- Packaging: A very informative, yet simple back cover with nice screen shots and descriptions. After having the opportunity to review many of the Macromedia line of products this last few months, I noticed all of the packaging has one thing in common, they are made of very thick cardboard and offer great protection for it's contents.

- Manual: Again, the manual could use some work. It was informative for the special features such as slicing and javascript rollovers but seemed to neglect the basics of the illustration and drawing tools. Plenty of help was found on the Macromedia website, though.

Overall Comments:
- Well, let's see. Over the last two months I had the opportunity to give a great list of web authoring and web graphic tools from Macromedia, and in those two months I have seen my entire web design repertoire of tools change. Kudos to Macromedia for being the first software company to really develop a great set of tools with the web designer in mind. Thank you Macromedia!

Review ID Number: 375
  Product Details
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
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