Customer's Canvas is not a single monolithic product. It consists of several services and each of them has its own purpose.
This diagram illustrates what services it is comprised of and how they are related to each other.
Let's take a look at each of them in more detail.
This service could be considered the "heart" of the entire system. It is used to access all entities that Customer's Canvas works with. We call them assets. Some examples of assets are designs, images, and fonts. Assets are explained a bit more in detail below.
The Asset Storage service exposes all CRUD operations for each of the assets, including batch operations. Additionally, all assets can be organized into folders just like in a file system.
As you may learn from the IT infrastructure overview, we don't store anything in a file system - the information regarding assets is stored in MongoDB and the files are kept either in Azure Blob Storage or also in MongoDB. However, the "file system service" would be a great metaphor to describe this service.
While the Asset Storage service is used to store assets, it does not know anything about their content. A set of controllers that should know how to process our assets is called Asset Processor.
This service allows for:
- Creating preview images for all assets where it is reasonable - images, fonts, designs.
- Extracting and saving metadata about assets - dimensions, postscript name, and others.
- Importing assets to the storage.
You may wonder why we have added a separate import operation to the Processor when we have the create operations in Storage. There are two motivations behind this solution:
- When you import files, you can automatically read the metadata and create a preview. Otherwise, you would have to make several calls to the API to get an asset ready for further work.
- Sometimes, the input file type is not the same as the output file. A great example is an IDML file. You cannot push an IDML file as a design - you have to convert it to our own design format first.
As a result, you almost never want to upload files directly to Storage. Instead, you need to import it through the Processor.
This is the UI to manage assets stored in Asset Storage and for carrying out other management operations. From the API perspective, it includes one very important service - the Identity Server. As explained in the Authentication article, you need to use it to obtain a token used for authorization in all services.
When you are using Customer's Canvas in a scenario where you are integrating with an e-commerce platform, BackOffice offers additional features - managing projects, connecting designs and other attributes to the products, and other functions.
The classic online editor application allows the end-users to create a personalized version of a design. In fact, this application has its own back-end based on a file system, however, it can be connected to Asset Storage so that it can consume all the assets from there. Before the release of Customer's Canvas 6, the Design Editor was synonymous with Customer's Canvas itself.
This component has its own developer guide. In this documentation, we will mention Design Editor only in terms of integrating it with Asset Storage, BackOffice, and other components.
Design Atoms API
Design Editor is not the only way to expose the end-user to the personalization interface. An alternative method is to create your own editor or a design generation service with the help of Design Atoms SDK.
The Design Atoms API service is a bridge between such a custom editor and Asset Storage. For example, you can fetch a design from Storage, serialize it to the Design Atoms object, and send it to the front-end application. Of course, you can do the opposite as well.
Additionally, it contains some helper methods to convert colors between RGB and CMYK, import image items, and carry out other operations that are necessary to build a web-to-print editor.
If you don't build a custom editor and work only with the Design Editor, then you will most likely never use this service.
In the next section we will learn more about the asset types Customer's Canvas works with.