You were never an Adobe product
I still remember my first encounter with you… It was mid-1999, I was a senior in high school. You looked so advanced, so refined, so powerful. And yet, you were still in version 3.
It was love at first sight. My friend taught me a little about how to use you. And those alien stroke styles made me fall in love in you (hey!, back then that was so cool). I felt so powerful using your tools. I became the “cool designer” of my block. We were quite a match.
As years went by we grew up together. You’re by far the app that I have used for the longest time. All other apps came and went away (Dreamweaver, Firefox, InDesign, Photoshop, iPhoto, illustrator, Freehand, and on, and on) but you have remained, version after version, year after year, always there in the center of my Dock. A spot no app has been able to remove you from.
We’ve been together at every stage, from 3 to 4, to 5, to MX, to MX 2004, to Fireworks 8 and then on to Adobe. From CS3 to CS6.We’ve been together at every single release.
You’d seen me grow as a designer, you saw the ugly alien-stroke styles I used in 2000. Because of you I never designed for print, I always designed for the web. You made me an interface designer. I never understood why would anyone use a program designed for print to do interface design.
You know my every sin as a designer, all those misaligned elements, all those times I didn’t use the ruler properly, all the un-named layers. You saw them and we laughed together.
I can’t believe you’re gone. Feels like losing one of my oldest friends.
I never understood why half of the design world would go with Photoshop… it had no vectors! And I never understood why the other half used Illustrator or Freehand… it couldn’t edit bitmaps. It made no sense.
It was only after many years using that I finally understood why you are such a great tool. You can do both vector and bitmaps well enough. And then you’re super focused on creating digital interfaces. You saw the future of design 10 years before everybody else.
Amazingly over the last couple of years an amazing community of designers has reunited on the web to help you prosper. People like Mikko, Ivo, Linus, FW Police, John Dunning (who has always been around) and so many others have made a series of websites to promote you as the best design app around.
In all these years no other app has been able to replace you. They either do vectors or bitmaps. But there’s no app like you. Even today when you make more sense than any other design app out there, there’s no app like you.
And still Adobe killed you.They should be promoting you as their star app but instead they killed you. They should be improving you and refining you constantly, but they left you to rot for years and now they killed you. That’s stupid beyond reason.
I’ve always been a Macromedia guy. I was sad when Adobe bought your mother company dear Fireworks, I knew it was a matter of time before that big-ugly Photoshop get you killed. It should have been the other way around, you could have become the star app.
Photoshop and Illustrator are classic super-bloated monsters from Adobe, they’re not made for digital design either. They were built with print in mind. So last century.
But versions came along, CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS6 and at every point, rumor had it that you were going to die. But it never did, until today.
Truth be told: you were never an Adobe product. Truth be told: Thank God you never became one.
The problem was that they left you to rot; as years came by no big new features were added, so many improvements were never made and bugs filled your code all around.
What a sad story, but still preferable to you becoming a do-it-all super monster in classic Adobe fashion. Somehow you remained true to your Macromedia origins. You are the last standing Macromedia product and somehow I feel glad to see you go that way, you will always be Macromedia Fireworks.
Yet your time was now. The commmunity is there, organized and ready. They’ve been releasing so many cool extensions for you lately. The industry needs you for so many things: wireframing, design, building, prototyping. It’s all digital now in mobile and desktop, it’s all amix of bitmaps and vectors now… and you’ve been ready for this moment for over 10 years.
But now is when Adobe decides to “disconnect” you and leave you to die. And it’s only a matter of time for you to become obsolete, to be just a memory.
Still this might be a better ending than see you becoming a “Creative Cloud” product. I believe Adobe made the best choice for itself as a company, yet signed a death sentence on the long term on being the GO-TO company for design and media creation. Now the field is open for many others to rise.
I wish Adobe open sourced you, or sold you to some company that would like to continue your development. But apparently that’s not what’s going to happen.
So I’m preparing myself to let you go. It will be years before you finally go off my Dock for good. But I’m preparing for that day now.
Please remember that you’re irreplaceable. There are new kids on the block that might be able to fullfil your array of tools, but you really really have no replacement.
I will try to use Sketch. I hope it adds more bitmaps editing tools on the future and become more like you as it grows up.
But there’s no app around that can do what you do. And even if such an app comes along, we’ve been together for so many years dear Fireworks that I could never forget you.
You gave me a path to follow, a passion, a career, a job that I’ve been doing for 10 years now, thanks to you I make most of my money, you’ve been there in every step of the way always in the center of my Dock.
Thanks for all the great years together, thanks for helping me become who I am now.We’ll not part ways yet, but it will come. And when the time comes be sure you’ll always have a sweetspot in my heart.
Long live Macromedia Fireworks and its legacy.