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Optimized Workflow in Fireworks 8

Fireworks 8 has two main optimization features developed for this version:

  • Fireworks is now more closely tied to the Web.
  • Fireworks is more closely tied to Dreamweaver 8 and Flash 8.

Increased Optimization for the Web

This may seem like a no-brainer, but tighter integration of Fireworks to the Web has been a long time coming. Fireworks 8 can use the Web site settings you create with Dreamweaver 8 to allow you to directly edit and manage images on a Web site. The same check-in/check-out philosophy used by Dreamweaver can be used directly in Fireworks 8. This is a huge bonus for large Web development groups. The entire group can use the version control and check-in/check-out site settings to see who's working on a given file. Each member of the team can work within his or her own favored tool, which increases efficiency.

Fireworks 8 also provides enhanced support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). CSS has long been a standard for design within Web browsers. The new support for CSS can be clearly seen within tools such as the Pop-Up Behavior within Fireworks. Now you can choose whether you want to use legacy HTML TABLE tags or CSS.

CSS support has also been extended to slices in a document. Complex sliced images can be exported with CSS positioning, which is much easier to read when opened in an HTML editor.

Integration with Studio 8

Fireworks 8 continues its tight integration with Dreamweaver 8. A pleasant surprise is the enhanced integration between Fireworks 8 and Flash 8. In the past, Flash support from Fireworks has been weak at best. Now, Flash 8 developers can enjoy myriad supported new features. For instance, vector hex colors in Flash format can be imported directly into Fireworks. Fireworks converts the color name dynamically from 0xFFFFFF format to #FFFFFF format.

A more important compatibility feature is demonstrated with the Fireworks and Flash vector tools. In the past, vector effects added in Fireworks, such as drop shadows, were converted to raster drawings when imported into Flash. Now, vector images created in Fireworks retain their paths when imported into Flash. This is a huge improvement, as you now can use Fireworks to draw the images you want for distribution either through Dreamweaver or Flash. In previous versions, this process normally meant working with several pieces of software.

Finally, an image can be saved directly out of Fireworks in the format you want instead of having to export the image. For instance, you can save an image as a JPEG, GIF, or PNG file; you're no longer restricted to just PNG.

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