Oct '08

Photoshop to Fireworks: Workflow Tip

Ever since the merger between Macromedia and Adobe, I’ve been enjoying exposing Photoshop users to Fireworks. For those of us from the Macromedia world, we’ve long been aware of the advantages of using Fireworks in our web workflow. I even know web designers that do all of their comps in Fireworks instead of Photoshop. That’s not to say they don’t use Photoshop at all, but rather they use Photoshop for their image edits and adjustments. But when it’s time to do a layout, they feel more comfortable in Fireworks’ more object oriented mode of working – and the fact that Fireworks is a hybrid application, working with bitmaps and vectors equally.

Since the merger, the Fireworks team has been hard at work, getting Fireworks more closely aligned with Photoshop. With CS4, Fireworks understands even more about Photoshop files that it is opening. In fact, opening a Photoshop file inside of Fireworks results in an identical image and layout. That is, unless you have done one very common thing in Photoshop – used an Adjustment layer.

If you open a PSD that contains an Adjustment layer in Fireworks, you’ll quickly see that the adjustment layer has been lost. Here’s the tip: before moving your PSD into Fireworks, you need to flatten any layers that use an Adjustment layer. Simply right-click on the Adjustment layer and choose Merge Down from the contextual menu. Save the PSD (although you will probably want to do a Save As in order to be able to return to the Adjustment layers in your original, if needed) and open the PSD in Fireworks.

Hope this saves you some frustration… Skål!


Oct '08

Dreamweaver and Ajax

Obviously one of the most stressful times in a software evangelist’s life is during the “launch” phase of a product. And, in case you’ve been under a rock, we’re in exactly such a time right now. Creative Suite 4 is not only shipping, my team and I are crisscrossing the world with seminars and at tradeshows. During this brief (um, since when is three months brief?) period of time, we will log countless miles, way too many nights in hotels, and slowly forget what “home” even looks like. And all the while, we’ll be singing the accolades of CS4.

The problem with these launch seminars is that we simply have too much to show and far too little time to do it in. Case in point, we (Jason, Rufus and myself) have just launched CS4 in Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm. Thanks to all the folks in those three cities for spending their morning with us. All told, we’ve already seen over 2500 of our nordic friends on this tour – and we still have 5 cities in Sweden and Denmark to go!

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about… Instead, I wanted to mention a really welcome feature of Dreamweaver CS4 that I’ve simply had no time to show during the seminars. During the CS3 timeframe, Dreamweaver supported the use of our own Spry Framework for Ajax, but if you wanted to use other frameworks, it was a completely manual, done in source code, tedious operation. What’s more, since DW didn’t understand any of the JavaScript from the “foreign” framework, we spent half of our development time bouncing over to the browser.

With Dreamweaver CS4, however, the team has truly embraced the “neutral” nature that Dreamweaver long ago pioneered with its support for application server models such as ASP, ColdFusion, PHP and JSP. Now in CS4, if you prefer to work with a framework other than Spry, not only will you find support for it in Code View, you can also leverage Dreamweaver’s new Live View to see your chosen framework’s widgets rendered as they will be in the browser.

In addition to this, Dreamweaver is capable of reading and introspecting the framework in order to provide tooltips and auto-completion when typing JS functions of the chosen framework.

But you aren’t just limited to working within code – on the Dreamweaver Exchange you can already find 20 interface widgets for JQuery, MooTools and YUI, that you can download and immediately leverage in your projects.

I’ve been playing extensively with JQuery over the past few weeks and am really impressed – and perhaps even more so because I’ve been able to integrate both JQuery and Spry in my playground of applications. If there’s any interest in this, I’d be happy to share… Leave a comment, and if there’s enough interest, I’ll get a tutorial or two up here.

Now back to the playground… I’ve got too many ideas that I want to try out, and only the weekend to do it in… Skål!!!


Oct '08

Thank you, South Africa!

To say that our seminars in South Africa were a success would be a gross understatement. Just as I experienced during my first trip to South Africa more than 10 years ago, this is an amazing country with a truly beautiful, friendly people.

Our trip began in the amazingly stunning setting of Cape Town, where we stayed at the Radisson Waterfront Hotel – that’s a view from my hotel room balcony above. As the name implies, the hotel is literally on the water, only a 10 minute walk to the Waterfront shopping and restaurant district. Be sure to kill a few hours on a sunny afternoon at the Quay 4 pub, located on one of the wharfs.

Our Cape Town audience came out in such numbers to see CS4 that we were forced to hold two simultaneous sessions – with Jason, Mo Jogie (our South African colleague), and myself running between them in a three hour show.

We then moved on to Johannesburg, where Jason and I were pleasantly surprised to find our hotel, the Palazzo, is not only a beautiful hotel, it is adjacent to the Monte Casino complex, which would be the venue for the launch event. My only gripe about the hotel is that the hotel bar closes at 11pm! And yes, even on weekends!

The folks in Joburg turned out in big numbers as well – and if the laughter, smiles, applause and nodding heads is any indication, they all had a great time, but more importantly they love CS4! After an enjoyable event with the local press, we can officially say that CS4 is off to a great start! Our day concluded with a small team dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, appropriately named Carnivore. This is a brazilian-style restaurant, where meat is grilled on skewers over an open flame and then brought in waves to the table. The catch here being that the meat is primarily game from Africa. And yes, it’s all on the menu, from ostrich to kudu to antelope to crocodile to wildebeast and on and on. Absolutely a must!

We wrapped up the week with two truly spectacular trips. The first to Lesedi, a self-proclaimed African Cultural Adventure. At the Lesedi complex, they have created mock villages of the five primary tribes within South Africa. Touring each one, you learn about their local habits and traditions. The visits are short (too short, if you ask me), but still fun. After the tour, the tribes come together for some serious dancing to drum rythmns, followed by a “typical” South African buffet.

What’s a trip to South Africa without a trip to a game park? We embraced the idea and spent our last day in South Africa staring in wonderment at some incredible animals. To top it off, we even got lucky and stumbled upon a lion pride lounging in the middle of the road, as well as a cheetah that was truly amazing. I’ve posted more pictures on my Flickr stream.

Now, my friends, it’s back to Phoenix to literally shower and repack. Tomorrow takes me to Webbuilder 2.0 in Las Vegas. Thankfully, Stephanie will also be speaking there, so we don’t have to be apart.


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