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Infinite Canvas

January 22, 2009

I’ve been a fan of Scott McCloud since Understanding Comics. In his follow-up, Reinventing Comics, he proposes that the web could finally break comics out of their paper cage, allowing them to grow in whatever direction best fits them. He called this notion the infinite canvas, and even went so far as to discuss some of the technological ramifications that underlie Seadragon (and other similar zooming systems) today.

So, for the most recent Live Labs Out of the Box Week, I built a comic creator/viewer and called it Infinite Canvas. It’s all JavaScript (not Seadragon Ajax, but similar), even on the server side, where I’m using AppJet. Some early adopters have already created comics in it, so come check it out, and tell your comic friends about it!

Infinite Canvas

More generally, it’s also an exploration into how we create and consume content in a zooming world. I look forward to continuing to explore these ideas in this and other domains.

UPDATE: The AppJet link no longer works. Please use http://infinitecanvas.jgate.de/ instead.

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13 comments

  1. Its really great…
    but anyone can edit or delete your comics…ok its alpha version…how can i download the whole comics…


  2. [...] [From Ian’s blog] [...]


  3. [...] Infinite Canvas « Dragonosticism "I’ve been a fan of Scott McCloud since Understanding Comics. In his follow-up, Reinventing Comics, he proposes that the web could finally break comics out of their paper cage, allowing them to grow in whatever direction best fits them. He called this notion the infinite canvas, and even went so far as to discuss some of the technological ramifications that underlie Seadragon (and other similar zooming systems) today. [...]


  4. Manish,

    People can only change or delete your comics if they know the passcode you’ve given. This is actually a way to do collaboration in fact; people can share a passcode and both work on the same comic.

    It’s true that someone can edit one of your comics and then save a copy with a different name (leaving yours unchanged); this is also an interesting form of collaboration, like the remixes that are popular in the music world.

    We don’t have a way for you to view the comics offline, but you can use the export feature to get all the layout information. Someone could write a viewer for the desktop or for a mobile phone, and use that XML data.


  5. Good then i will like to write a desktop app for it. currently i m busy in some other project. But really i really like it. Congrats to all the team of infinite canvas for such a innovation.


  6. [...] the code, save a copy, etc. in one smooth flow. This is the feeling I was trying to create with Infinite Canvas, which in turn was surely inspired by AppJet. I hope to see more such web apps where viewing, [...]


  7. Manish,

    That would be wonderful! Let me know if you need any information from me, and of course I’d love to see it!


  8. One of the most intriguing apps on appjet I have seen. Very nice work Ian. Glad to see Microsoft has a funky side! :-) Thanks for creating this…


  9. Is there a way to create a fixed background layer, so other imagery moves over it?


  10. Kevin, glad you like! There isn’t yet a way to make a fixed background layer, but I’ll take that as a feature request. :)


  11. While playing with this, the one thing I find myself always wanting to do is to easily share a creation (website, blog, Facebook, etc…), and mostly as an embedded object in a page for mini-stories. This would help create a social layer on the work created.


  12. Kevin, I agree! You can already do it manually with an iframe, but obviously it’d be nice to have it a built in feature of the site. Added to my wish list.


  13. [...] and see what response we get.  In the same spirit as our first “Funky Side Project”, Infinite Canvas, I submit for your consideration [...]



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