Fireworks 8 Environment
Now that you know what new and enhanced features to look out for, let’s take some time to explore the Fireworks work environment as a whole. The Fireworks workspace comprises the Document window, Property inspector, menus, tools, and other panels. If you’ve used any of the other Macromedia Studio programs, there’s a good chance the Fireworks environment will look familiar with its Document window, toolbar, and docked panel groups.
A Quick Look at the Fireworks Environment
When you open Fireworks, you are greeted with the start page (see Figure 3.1), which is common to all development programs within the Studio. The start page enables you to open a recent file, create a new file, access Fireworks tutorials, as well as hop on the Web with Fireworks Exchange to add new capabilities to the program. If you don’t care for the start page, simply check the Don’t Show Again box located in the bottom-left corner of the page.
Figure 3.1 The Fireworks 8 start page.
The first step in exploring Fireworks 8 is to use the start page to create a new file by selecting the Fireworks file under the Create New heading, or to choose File, New from the menu bar. The New Document dialog box (see Figure 3.2) appears, where you can select the dimension for your new document.
Figure 3.2 The New Document dialog box lets you control the canvas size and canvas color for each new document.
After you’ve set the canvas size and canvas color for the document, you see an interface that looks similar to most of the other programs in Studio (see Figure 3.3).
Figure 3.3 The Fireworks interface puts nearly everything you need at your fingertips.
The Major Interface Elements
The Fireworks 8 interface comprises five elements, each with its own features:
- Document window—The Document window contains the canvas and the additional work area surrounding the canvas. The canvas is the "live" area where your images appear and is where you create, edit, and delete objects that make up your images. Assets in the gray area are not exported unless you drag them back onto the canvas. At the top of the Document window are Original, Preview, 2-Up Preview, and 4-Up Preview buttons (see Figure 3.4). The preview buttons display the graphic as it would appear in a browser based on optimization settings you can choose for each different view.
- Tools—Also referred to as the Toolbar, the Tools panel contains several tools that enable you to create and edit a variety of graphics, including text, vector objects, bitmaps, and web objects.
- Property inspector—The Property inspector is a panel that changes the tools and modifiers displayed based on the object selected.
- Menu—Common to nearly all graphical interfaces is a top row of menus and submenus to group common commands.
- Panels—Like other Studio programs, the panels in Fireworks are docked to the right of the screen. The default panels include Optimize, Layers, Assets, and Frames and History.
Figure 3.4 The Preview buttons let you see how your graphics will look with various optimization settings.