One Man Photoshop: Pixlr is Slick

Pixlr edit window

New online image editor Pixlr is closer to Photoshop than web-based Adobe’s Photoshop Express. And Pixlr was created by one person.

Sweden-based developer Ola Sevandersson spent a year writing–and re-writing–his Flash-based image editor. He also maintained a full-time job as the development manager for a Swedish web community.

The reason Pixlr feels so much like a desktop app may be its menus. The standard top bar begins with File. Creating new images, or loading from your computer occurs via this menu, and it doesn’t feel buggy (except I cannot load in an image now, which could be caused by all the attention this project is receiving today). Other online image editors use HTML forms for uploading, or partially implement the desktop menu metaphor.

Maybe the best part: Pixlr is the only online image editor I’ve seen that has layers, which is a necessary feature for all but the most basic of edits. Yes, there are still some features missing, but this is already more usable for me than Photoshop Express, and other online photo editors. See links to our coverage of Pixlr’s competitors at the bottom of this post.

Pixlr creator Ola SevanderssonWebmonkey had a chance to talk to Sevandersson about Pixlr, his development process, and what he has planned for the tool.

How is Pixlr different from Photoshop Express?

The difference between PSX [Photoshop Express] and Pixlr is that while Adobe doesn’t want to create a free online replacement tool for their Photoshop Elements and other licensed software I just want to create an online tool that will satisfy the 80% of the photo enthusiasts needs. I am well aware of that it’s much more work left to do before Pixlr will accomplish what Elements do, but this is just the first beta launched.

How long did it take you to write Pixlr?

Yes, the first line of code was written in august 2007, but it was not full time and done by a single person. The code is rewritten several times to get the overall performance up and the app to work. To get the performance up and keep the size down I have written all of the controls my self and not used the built in flash controls.

Any plans to make money? A year is a long time for just a labor of love…

All you need is love and I love bitmap algorithms. The plan for Pixlr is to license the techniques and do small app spin-offs’, and there is some ides of a PRO app (Maybe on the desktop?).

What other features are coming soon?

Crop tool, text tool and more auto adjustments are the first things in the development plan. API and other development tools are on the wish list too.

The dotted line [to show selection as the user drags the mouse] will be added soon. Some features was ignored in this release, I just wanted to get the application out to the public so I could get some feedback and know if I was going in the right direction with the product.

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