Farewell to Fireworks

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dear Fireworks,

So, I just heard the news. I always knew that one of these days Adobe would sit you down and give you the gold watch. Still, I can’t believe that you’ll soon be gone. After 15 years on the job, you’ve really managed to make a mark.

Yet, I know you can’t help but feel that you never really received the recognition you deserved. I mean, how could you—with having to share an office with Photoshop, the perennial headliner? I tell you, Photoshop is really good at what he does, and how can you hate a something that helps people feel a little better about themselves? But he’s everywhere, and trying to do too much, in my opinion. Worse yet, he’s not even built to do the things you can do. I know, I know: let’s not get started on the Fireworks vs. Photoshop battle.

Anyway, I digress. Remember when I first came to you? There you were, more than willing to help me turn out a few mockups. Your interface was easy to understand, and you were on the job for half the price. I was sold even before I learned how well you and Dreamweaver got along. Before long, you and your friend Illustrator started talking to me about layers, vector manipulation and gradients. After a couple of interface jobs, I lost Photoshop’s number altogether.

I’d like to think we learned a lot together. I learned how to design fluid layouts and serviceable prototypes. I learned about symbols and how useful it is to collect design objects (which helped me be a little less awkward around your friend Flash). As my e-learning projects started to require user interface rigor, you showed me how to create a shareable pattern library. And let’s not forget, it was you that taught me .PNG is king. And, well, I’d like to think that over the years, you’ve learned that I don’t really like it when you crash.


Let’s face it, you’ve been my go-to pretty much every step of the way—since before I knew how to use the pen tool. I’ve even leaned from you for print jobs, knowing full well that you were not up to the task.  But as has happened with the many authoring tools I paired you with over the years, the evolving face of the web is changing the way we develop our online learning experiences. Things on the web are much different now than before broadband, HTML5, and mobile apps. I must admit that even I have begun to open myself to the possibilities afforded by other design tools.

While we’re on the subject of being open and free: you are many wonderful things, my friend, but nimble, open, and free are not among them. I guess that’s natural, considering your company. I know you think open source is a young codebase’s game, but promise me you’ll think about it, okay?


But I guess I can’t hold you to that, can I? When your time is up, your time is up, right? Anyway, I hear that they’re looking for someone new. I mean, no one’s ever going to take your place, but we’ve got to do something now that you’re leaving.

Take care of yourself. Let me know if you get restless and want to do something crazy. You know where to find me.

Best regards,


About the Author

Craig Wiggins has been helping people create and manage learning experiences for the past 10 years. He is the community manager for the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiatives. Craig holds a BA in anthropology and an MEd in curriculum development, and spends a lot of time thinking about how to sneak usability, accessibility, and proper task analysis into the mix. In his natural habitat, he is usually storyboarding on wall-sized whiteboards or pontificating on Twitter or Google+.

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