Writing a Prezi clone with HTML5, SVG, and Javascript

Aditya Bhatt

The idea

The other day, I took it upon myself to write a browser-based Prezi-like app without using flash. Condition: It should run purely client-side.

It was also an experiment in evaluating whether the current APIs available in modern browsers are enough to handle the task. What follows is an account of what works, what doesn’t, and what could be done better.

SVG vs Canvas

When you’re building a rich graphics-intensive app like Prezi, you usually have two ways of rendering content: SVG and Canvas.

1. SVG provides a neat DOM that can be manipulated with existing DOM handling javascript libraries, such as jQuery. Canvas, on the other hand, is just a bitmap buffer. This means that you have to program your own DOM-like scene graph if you wish to use Canvas for handling presentation elements. Libraries for this already exist – most notably, fabric.js, but none…

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