As with Adobe’s now-no-more ImageReady, the expansion of Photoshop’s Web output tools have made Fireworks almost redundant as a graphics application.

Rather than dumping it, the company has repositioned Fireworks as a Web site prototyping tool. It’s not for designing the architecture of your site’s layout like ConceptDraw WebWave, but more for turning Photoshop or Illustrator CS3 designs of your site into clickable mock-ups for client presentations.

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At the core of the new focus on prototyping are the abilities to work with multiple pages, and native <a href=Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 documents. You can create multi-page documents that include hotlinks to each other, which when output as HTML provide a network of pages that’s an adequate guide to the look-&-feel-&-flow of a site.

Illustrator CS3 and Photoshop files come in with layers, effects, paths and blending modes, easing the process from design to prototype. You also have access to Photoshop’s blending and layer effects (below) from within Fireworks.

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Unfortunately, like Dreamweaver, Adobe didn’t get as far as adding the new <a href=Creative Suite interface to Fireworks CS3 -- our beta stills calls itself Fireworks 9. Adobe puts the continued use of the old interface down to time issues, so it should catch up come CS4 (which at guess is due for Christmas 2008).

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The software also gains nine-slice scaling (above), where you position guides to set which parts change as you resize a symbol.
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