Just as unfortunate is my ability to date my Mac experiences back to the last century, back before Photoshop, all the way back to the original Mac, circa 1984, and a year later to MacDraw, an elegant vector-based cousin to MacPaint, a precursor to Adobe’s Illustrator. A few years after that I bought into Macromedia’s Fireworks app, and have used it ever since, including after it was purchased and then shuttered by Adobe. I still use Fireworks today but the handwriting is on the wall. The app’s days are numbered. What can replace it?
Standalone? Or, Web-based?
Over the past couple of years I’ve searched for a Fireworks replacement. So far, there is none, though a few come close, but nothing from Adobe. Affinity Designer is a worthy and affordable replacement, but the workflow is not in Fireworks’ class, and compressed files are always larger than from an Adobe product.
The search continues.
At the other end of the scale is what are often referred to as web-based applications. These are apps that kinda sorta mostly mimic a standalone app on the Mac, but do so within a browser. Google gets plenty of mileage from such browser-based apps, but I’ve always found them wanting. They’re thin on features, require an internet connection to function, and the interface is less responsive than a real app that resides on your Mac.
Gravit is one such web-based app– it runs in Safari, Chrome, or whatever browser you like at the moment– and because it’s vector-based, could be a good way for someone to learn to use modern designer tools without much investment. You’ll need to setup an account to use Gravit in your browser.
The user interface works much like Pages or Keynote in iCloud– but within a browser window.
Gravity starts with a blank design or a variety of template designs.
Once you start a design or open a template, Gravit begins to look like the bare bones vector-based utility it is. Tools are familiar but basic, as if 1989 called and wanted you to try out a new application.
Gravity still uses a floppy disk icon as the Save File button. How quaint.
If you’ve never ever in your whole life used a vector-based drawing or design app, Gravit might be interesting. If you’ve ever seen or used a vector-based drawing or design app, you will be disappointed.
That makes me wonder why it exists at all? Gravit comes across as utilitarian at best, an interesting side show that displays what can be done with a web-based application that runs in a browser, but also highlights just how much better dedicated applications are.
Chromebook users might love Gravit for its simplicity, and while I don’t use every aging feature in Fireworks, technology that is nearly 20 years old still has more value than light and fluffy and minimalist.
It’s a new way to design on a Mac, yes, and I’m sure that for many budding designers on a severe budget Gravit works great, especially considering the price tag (I can’t find one), but this is a perfect example of why Steve Jobs was wrong about iPhone applications, why Palm’s webOS failed, and why Google relented and put full-fledged native applications on Android.
By the way, I’m still looking for a successor to Fireworks.