Recently I've been giving Fireworks a run even though I've been using Photoshop for nearly 10 years and much to Neil's credit, I'm starting to like it. Both applications have their strengths and both have their weaknesses. Though I'm excited to be learning and using a different application there are certain items that I'll most certainly revert back to Photoshop to complete. For now it's just another tool in my ever-growing graphic arsenal. Here are some of the strengths and weakness I've come across so far:
1. It's fast and optimizing graphics for web is extremely streamlined
2. Item manipulation as far as layout, graphic placement and overall use of the app for complex UI is very easy and intuitive, reminiscent of Illustrator or Flash.
3. Effect and tools are very similar to Photoshop so a lot of key commands are similar
4. It's made for web graphics, gifs, jpgs, pngs and handles all very well
Fireworks Weaknesses (that I've encountered):
1. CMYK image conversion is awful - changes blues and greens like no other
2. Large files and multiple frame layouts slow the app down to a crawl
3. Limited filters, layer styles and effects
4. No sub category support in the layers menu
5. Awkward paint and draw tools even though they are similar to flash, they fall short in comparison to Photoshop
6. Masking effects are difficult to control or edit without full release of the mask and location
7. No "browse" images feature
I'm still a loyal Photoshop designer but Fireworks is slowly but surely winning me over with it's shear speed and overall performance. The memory leak is very similar to Photoshop's but not quite as severe. Photoshop will probably still remain my primary image manipulation app but when it comes to UI (user interface design) I'll be moving to Fireworks.
Adobe's new Creative Suite 3 is coming out soon and even though Fireworks was a solid Macromedia app I was surprised to see them keep it on the roster and not replace it with Image Ready. The future of Fireworks looks pretty bright, it looks like the app is here to stay.