I just read an article about how a web designer uses Fireworks for his main design tool rather than Photoshop, the title alone is what drew me in, “7 Reasons Why I Choose Fireworks Over Photoshop.” The article can be found here: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/08/7-reasons-why-i-choose-fireworks-over-photoshop/
In summary, he states that there is better pixel and gradient control, you’re able to control created objects used in multiple instances from one location (edit one, they all change), it’s easier to learn, has better vector and web output, and last of all…it’s cheaper. I think some of it is a matter of opinion, and the rest is true. From what I see, the gradient control is pretty nice, and the ability to update created objects or symbols all at once is equally as nice. The price tag would be something that would attract anyone that is needing a editor, but doesn’t have the coin to hand out at the moment.
Personally, some of the tools in Fireworks just never clicked in my head, but I think that may be due to the first big editor I ever used was Paint Shop Pro. Years ago, PSP was the generic version of Photoshop, so it was easy to step from one to the next and grasp it fairly easily. Fw just works on a different level, like the Macromedia tools did before Adobe took over, with different tools, looks and user interfaces.
I have a friend who swears by Fw, and will even create designs and send them to me in native .png formats, which I then have to convert to .psd to work on. To calm his banter, I’ve tried to use it several times, but felt I was getting no where. It was like trying to screw two boards together with a hammer, sure I could probably get the job done, but it wouldn’t be as fast, nor would it be the quality it should be.
With all of that said, I think I will stick to Photoshop as my main design tool…but, if I ever get the time, I will look into playing around in Fireworks to see what I can pull out of my hat.