First there was photoshop (well paint came before, but photoshop was the first hardcore app). Photoshop used bitmaps. Bitmaps are drawn in pixels on a canvas. Once drawn, you can’t modify those pixels short of erasing them, and redrawing. Very much like traditional drawing/painting. Also there was illustrator, freehand, and their ilk, these were vector based. Vector editors use data-points to represent images. For example a line in vector app is basically stored in the file as a start-point, end-point, line thickness, line color etc. You can easily edit these in the app by just moving or changing a value. This makes modification very easy. Fireworks was the first app to really blend the use of bitmaps and vectors. You get the power and flexibility of vectors with the ease of use and creativeness of bitmaps. After several revisions, Photoshop started to add some vector support, but this was ‘tacked’ on, and not a fundamental premise for the product. Fireworks on the other had, was built from the ground up with this bitmap/vector idea at it’s core. It’s this underlying vector power that lets us quickly create our designs, and also is the principal reason we are able to do many color variations. Doing this in photoshop would be a huge chore in comparison. Now, most products even today are either bitmap or vector. GIMP for example, is purely bitmap. Inkscape, is a GPL app that is purely vector. We are constantly on the lookout for products that improve our workflow and use more standards based formats, but up to this point, there are none. I had grand hopes for the opensource version of Xara, but it was never released for the mac. Inkscape has possibilities, but it’s bitmap level functionality is not there either. GIMP is ok for editing, but it’s lack of vector support makes it a bad choice for creating. Really the only other option is Photoshop, which does have some vector support and of course fantastic bitmap abilities. But again, here Fireworks is just better for us. It’s cheaper for you, and overall it’s just the one we went with. Hope this helps Retired, but build and run websites for organisations of school leaders and others – e.g. http://www.icponline.org, http://www.aspa.asn.au, http://www.appa.asn.au And you’re right that Fireworks is cheaper than Photoshop. My local business computer store has Photoshop for about $1300, while Fireworks is only $600. Source.