Fireworks and the PNG Format Revisited

It seems that the debate over this issue which I discussed in detail in a previous post is still going on in the forum thread that inspired my bringing the issue up here. It also was the issue in a recent post from respected Fireworks evangelist and now Adobe employee, Trevor McCauley (Senocular).

The thing is, Trevor brings up just the same weak arguments we’ve heard before in favor of keeping the .png file extension which I have tried to debunk in my other post on the subject. Basically, his only argument for keeping the extension and justifying his claim that changing it would do “more harm than good” is that, support for the files in other applications would be lost.

I have already addressed this specific issue in my other post and showed that, for the only applications where I believe this really matters (Web browsers), you could take a PNG file, change its extension to .xyz or anything else that strikes your fancy and IE, Firefox and Opera would all still open it. That’s because those applications do not just look at file extensions to determine file types.

For the applications that do this like Photoshop or Illustrator for example, you could always temporarily rename your “.xyz” or whatever file to .png and open it there then change it back later. In my opinion, it becomes even more important to use a new file extension when opening editable files in editing applications like Photoshop that do not support the proprietary data chunk that holds the native data saved by Fireworks. Saving a PNG file from Photoshop will loose all editable data no matter what. If the file had another extension, Photoshop wouldn’t open or save it without having to change the extension to PNG. That would mean designers would really have time to make sure the file they open in Photoshop or another editing app is not a native file or that, if it is, they’ll have to be extra careful how or where they save it back out of Photoshop.

I think this debates really boils down to theses two choices. On one hand, if you change the extension, you have the minor inconvenience of having to rename it if you want to open it in applications that are dumb enough to only look at file extensions to determine file type. On the other, if you keep the status quo, users will still accidentaly overwrite native and editable PNG files and loose hours of work. Which one is the bigger inconvenience in your opninion?

2 thoughts on “Fireworks and the PNG Format Revisited”

  1. I toyed with the idea of changing the extension of all my Fireworks source files from .png to .fw and setting up Windows to open .fw files with Fireworks, but when Fireworks tried to open the files it gave an "Unknown filetype error." That idea went out the window…

    After some time I got fed up again with not being able to tell my source files from my exported files at a glance and recently started naming all my Fireworks source files with a double extension (.fw.png) to differentiate them from my exported files. The only thing you have to make sure you do is remove the .fw from the extension when you are export the image for the first time… It’s not the ideal solution, but it works better than anything else I’ve seen or tried.

  2. That’s what I’ve started doing as well (adding .fw.png to my source files). I rarely export entire files out of Fireworks as I usually slice my layouts to get the minimal number of graphics possible so I didn’t run into the issue of removing it on export. But I really wish Adobe would revise their position on this one.

    Thanks for your comment!


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