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CloudCanvas review

CloudCanvas shows the arty side of HTML5

Although not very polished, CloudCanvas gives us an insight into the not-too distant world of HTML5


  • Web based
  • Shows promise


  • Buggy

To go by the hype, HTML5 isn't just the future of the web but the cure for all illnesses, the defender of the innocent, and the magic key that fits the lock of any problem you might have.

In practice, whatever Apple thinks, we're not likely to be waving goodbye to Flash applications just yet, but the more we see applications such as CloudCanvas, the more obvious it is that their days are numbered.

CloudCanvas isn't a fully baked product yet. It's slow and glitchy, and it's impossible to ignore the fact that a Flash application could definitely do what it offers more sleekly.

However, what it does offer is impressive: a complete drawing package with layers, brushes, the integration of features such as Google Images and an interface that runs in the web browser without the need for a plug-in. You can even view the source file of your image if you want to get technical.

Your experiences may vary according to the browser you use, but in Firefox, trying to draw using the brush tool resulted in a laggy series of individual dots, rather than a nice painted line.

Meanwhile, the lack of familiar hotkeys and slow movement of everything from interface elements to layer switching made us glad we had something as old-school and reliable as Photoshop on hand.

Still, it's early days, and even if this isn't the tool that turns HTML5 into an artistic powerhouse, it's clear that the potential is there to at least create respectable competitors to lower-end art tools.

The inclusion of back-end services to handle more advanced features – for instance, HDR in a dedicated photo editor – would be another valuable addition for people who primarily work on mobile devices, rather than desktops.

In short, there's definitely a market for friendly tools like this. The only question that remains is which companies are going to be the first to capitalise on it. This is a good start, but it needs work.

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