Macromedia Fireworks 4

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So what else is new?
In addition to all of these new and/or improved features, Fireworks 4 also includes a number of improvements over version 3. The first and most obvious change is in the interface. While menus remain exactly the same, palettes change for the better, both in terms of appearance and functionality. I find the new interface of Fireworks 4 to be a decent and not too terribly shocking improvement over version 3.

It also gains the ability to create rollovers through a simple drag and drop process. Just drag a part of the image onto the button maker, and you're there.

The button creation window in Fireworks 4 allows you to drag and drop
elements from your composition to create various button states.

Finally, the program also gets enhanced import and export capabilities, including better handling of Photoshop files (including layer masks) and the ability to customize automatic file naming, table handling and other output options.

The bottom line
Fireworks 4 is unquestionably the way to go if you're creating or editing graphics for the Web. Its features are unparalleled, especially for image compression and the creation of interactive navigational items. An upgrade is also available from any previous version of Fireworks for $149. That's not an unreasonable price to pay for the handy new feature and overall improved functionality of this program. You can also upgrade to the Dreamweaver 4/Fireworks 4 Studio from any version of Fireworks (no Dreamweaver required) for just $50 more. That, to me, is the bargain du jour. (We'll have a separate review of Dreamweaver 4 next week.) I give Fireworks 4 a strong buy recommendation.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.
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