1 Reply Latest reply on Jan 1, 2011 10:29 AM by Jim_Babbage

    Fireworks vs Catalyst


      I'm trying to understand the difference between these two apps.


      I am pretty much a complete web app noob. I did use GL a bit years ago, and use Rapidweaver now and then. Pretty much 100% of my design work is print. I have been getting more requests to do web work. I am in that situation that I'm sure is familiar to many print designers - I want to do more web work but the learning curve of some of the web apps seems very daunting.


      I finally got around to trying Catalyst. I have to say, so far, I've really been enjoying it. I like that I can build prototypes in Illy and PS and import, and it doesn't seem so deep technically to be intimidating.


      In further research I started checking into Fireworks. I've seen it around, but never really looked at it. On the surface both Fireworks and Catalyst look similar (prototyping apps).


      It looks like Fireworks can export to an HTML and AIR platform and Catalyst exports to AIR only. Is this correct? Fireworks files can also be brought into DW for further work.


      A few of my clients have expressed a concern with producing Flash based sites. I don't know how much of an issue this is anymore. And I believe the search engines are getting better at indexing text within Flash sites.


      I did look at SiteGrinder, but was not impressed with the interface.



        • 1. Re: Fireworks vs Catalyst
          Jim_Babbage Level 4

          Flash Catalyst is an interactive protoyping tool, which can create features such as an interactive gallery or even a Flash-based web site, I suppose. It's primary goal was to bridge the gap between designers and developers; Designers could mock up an interactive protoype, complete with animation and transitions, with no coding experience at all. This prototype could then be handed off to a developer to "wire up" and make truly functional in Flash Builder.


          Fireworks is a screen graphics design application, with basic interactive features built into it. It's used to wireframe, prototype and (in some cases) export a functional web page, but it's also a creative tool with a pretty solid collection of both bitmap and vector tools. Flash Catalyst, on the other hand, has basic drawing tools and relies on programs like Fireworks, Photoshop or Illustrator to supply rich graphics. Unlike FC, FW cannot create animated transitions. Its interactiviyt is limited to HTML/JavaScript interactivity such as rollovers and hyperlinks. For web graphics, its export engine is hard to beat, producing web images that are typically 20 - 30% smaller in file size than Photoshop.


          There's not really a FW vs FC situation. The programs complement each other rather than compete, IMO. Sadly, the biggest stumbling blcok at this point is the lack of a round-trip workflow between FW and FC.