Ludicrous Software

Fireworks Guides Panel

I’ve developed a panel for Fireworks that simplifies the process of creating guides in a grid system. I really like using Fireworks to mock-up designs, and personally find that it’s particularly well-suited to mocking up designs for mobile apps. I’ve never understood why it’s never been integrated with Device Central the same way that Photoshop and Illustrator are, but that’s another issue.

Since a lot of my apps/games are grid-based, I end up spending a lot of time just laying out guides that are spaced an equal distance apart. So if you want guides that are 10 pixels apart, then on a qVGA screen you’re looking at about 56 guides. That gets kind of tedious.

(Yes, I know I could just set up the grid to be spaced at 10 pixels and be done with it. But I like to use the grid as a sub-divider system - similar to how the grid in Illustrator can have subdivisions. When you’re dealing with small images and want pixel-perfect precision, it’s nice to have that flexibility.)

(Yes, I also know I could just use Illustrator for mock-ups, and I’ve done this in the past. I like Fireworks.)

The panel is pretty straightforward to use. It’s still very 1.0-ish, so here are some things to keep in mind:

  • I’ve tested it on CS4 for the Mac, and CS3 and CS4 for Windows. I don’t have Fireworks CS3 installed on my Mac anymore, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t work;
  • Bug: when the panel is started, it doesn’t properly register the current state of the guides, so the current color in the color picker will be black, even if the guides aren’t, and the lock/hide buttons may have the wrong text in them. Working on that!
  • If the panel is narrower than the color palette when the picker is being used, you won’t see the entire palette. Not sure yet if this is a bug or just the way the panels work. This is why the panel is somewhat wider by default;
  • It’s pretty ugly at the moment. :) I just threw down some components and wanted to get it working. Perhaps I’ll pretty up subsequent versions, but for now it gets the job done;
  • I’d like to add the ability to modify the grid to the same panel, which would make it easier to create that division/sub-division set-up I mentioned.

In any event, it’s perfectly workable as is. If you encounter any bugs or have any ideas/suggestions for features/improvements, please let me know!