Introduction

If you have ever approached the task to build your own print designer for a web-to-print site, you may know that it's really non-trivial functionality. The designer is comprised of three big portions:

  • Managing and loading product templates
  • WYSIWYG designer for print products
  • Exporting results to PDF or raster image formats

The designer itself is only a tip of the iceberg. Modules for handling templates and creating print-ready files is a huge part of the solution which is not visible to human eyes but has huge impact on whether the web-to-print solution does well what it's supposed to.

Let's say you decide to build the entire designer yourself and start digging in what libraries and frameworks are out there which could help you and save your time. You quickly realize that web-to-print is a mix of very specific image processing stuff (color management, CMYK, extended color formats, processing of large-scale graphics, etc.) and rich designing capabilities which are supposed to work in a browser but have to offer the same level of simplicity as desktop programs.

If you search on the Internet, you may find frameworks for building online HTML5 designers, image processing SDKs, libraries for handling PDF files and so on, but they would work on different platforms, have APIs not compatible with each other, and not all of them are properly supported or even may be abandoned by authors long ago. Even if you put all the things together, you will need enormous hours of planning, coding and testing to build something working decently.

Here Customer's Canvas comes into a play. If you choose that solution, you will receive an out-of-the-box module solving all three tasks and actually many more.

  • You get HTML5 solutions which doesn't need any browser extensions (e.g. Flash or Silverlight) and works in any browser on any platform.
  • Your designers can create templates in the software which they have been familiar with for a decade - Adobe Photoshop.
  • You integrate Customer's Canvas with your website with minimal coding.
  • You get either vector PDF files or raster JPEG/PNG images as a print output from the module.
  • The users can upload their own files and use them to create products.
  • The products are saved on the back end and you can allow your users to return to changing them whenever they want.

Maybe you read on the website or contacted our team before and they answered you that the module requires ASP.NET. It could make things overcomplicated in your eyes as your company may have no experience with that environment. But let's take a look from the other side. The software has to have sophisticated back-end as it does all templates management, image processing and rendering print-ready outputs on the server side. It is next to impossible to create a module working on any server platform in the world. So we chose ASP.NET but we did our best to make integration of Customer's Canvas with your e-commerce site as easy as possible. Even if you have zero experience with Windows platforms, our step-by-step instructions will help you to deploy the solution and make it work. After you launch the module on the server you don't need any special knowledge in ASP.NET, you will be using an open API for the integrations with your e-commerce website and it can work with any platform.