Web-based tools creator Aviary is launching an API on Wednesday that allows any website or mobile app to easily tweak or add effects to its photos.

A dating site, for instance, could use the API to autocorrect red eye, lighting and blurriness in profile photos. An ecommerce site could automatically resize and watermark product photos. And a photo-snapping mobile app could add Instagram-like filters without creating its own code. Aviary does the heavy lifting in the background.

In the past, Aviary has created APIs for its suite of web-based media editors and embeddable photo editor. Photo startup Pixable, online store creator Shopify and photo diary Momentile are a few of the companies that use the tools to give their users photo editing options.

The new Effects API, which can run without any user interaction, is somewhat of a new approach for the 4-year-old startup.

“We saw the photo filter space and decided instead of entering it (via a competing app), we should power the space. …We are expanding our offering and moving into the consumer space,” says Alex Taub, Aviary head of business development.

Just as Twilio‘s API powers group messaging apps like GroupMe, Beluga and Fast Society, Aviary aims to lurk behind the websites and apps that use photos — ultimately charging frequent users for its service after the beta period ends.

More About: api, Aviary, Photos

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The Future Web Series is supported by Elsevier‘s SciVerse Application Marketplace and Developer Network. The SciVerse applications platform enables developers to build apps based on trusted scientific content. Learn more.

Over the last 12 months, the momentum behind HTML5 has continued to build, with application developers, browser makers and hardware vendors fully embracing and supporting the web of the future. Consumers have started to embrace HTML5 as well, especially as more users understand the benefits and potential that HTML5 can mean for the future.

With Firefox 4, Google Chrome, IE 9, Safari 5 and Opera all offering better, more robust support for HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, we’re already seeing glimpses of what is possible and what the web of the future may look like.

Let’s look at some of the aspects of HTML5 that are already making their mark on web app development.


Better Typography and Custom Fonts


The Web Open Font Format, or WOFF, might technically be part of the HTML5 specification, but WOFF, SVG and the CSS3 @font-face specification are all commonly used additions to HTML5.

The adoption of web fonts, whether it’s using WOFF, services like Fonts.com, Typekit or the Google Web Font API is increasing at a rapid pace. This development gives content creators, brands and developers a way to better express and control the most important part of an app or website — the text — without having to rely on images or Flash implementations that don’t always work well for translated text or with search engines.

Since first highlighting this trend last year, the number of web apps that support custom fonts using Google, Typekit, Fonts.com or any number of other solutions has only increased. We expect this to continue, especially as adoption of the latest and greatest web browsers continues to grow.


Frameworks, Boilerplates and Toolkits


Last year, Paul Irish and Divya Manian introduced HTML5 Boilerplate to the world.

Over the last seven months, the project has exploded and grown in both scope and support. As we said last year, HTML5 Boilerplate is not a framework. Instead, it’s a template that can be modified by developers for their own use.

HTML5 Boilerplate 1.0 was released on March 21, 2011 with support for optimized build scripts, a custom boilerplate builder, and perhaps most excitingly for app developers — support for lighttpd, Google App Engine and NodeJS, as well as old favorites Apache, Nginx and IIS. The number of websites using HTML5 Boilerplate continues to grow and evolve.

Other companies like Sencha are also working to bring better and more evolved frameworks and toolkits to web app developers. The upcoming Sencha Ext JS 4 is a JavaScript framework optimized to support HTML5 and other web standards.


Examples in the Wild


When Google launched its Chrome Web Store last December, it was one of the best showcases of what HTML5 web apps could offer users.

Over the last few months, more apps have been added to the store and more companies have started to optimize or rewrite their web apps specifically with HTML5.

TweetDeck is one of the most popular Twitter clients on the desktop and is revered by users. Chrome TweetDeck (or ChromeDeck) was one of the big standouts last winter, and it continues to set a high standard for what users can expect from a web application. It’s also the most popular app in the Chrome Web Store.

Earlier this month, TweetDeck announced the limited beta for its TweetDeck Web product. Built using HTML5, TweetDeck Web takes the core of the TweetDeck Chrome app and applies it to other platforms and browsers. The goal i
s to make the TweetDeck experience browser- and device-agnostic, and it is part of TweetDeck’s broader strategy approaching mobile and desktop apps.

Creative web app company Aviary introduced Feather, its HTML5 Photo Editor, last year. Feather isn’t only a lightweight image editor with lots of cool effects. It can be seamlessly embedded into other web apps to give additional functionality to developers who don’t have time or money to create their own solutions.

In April, Aviary announced its plans to open up its Effects API to web and mobile developers. This will allow developers to easily add effects and filters, auto-correct photos and create thumbnails or quick crops without needing user interaction.


The Future is Bright


I firmly believe that we will continue to see the worlds of web applications and desktop apps converge. It’s already happened with email, chat and social communication — the next step is to make it viable for data processing, multimedia and, ultimately, web development itself.

HTML5 is going to play a big role in enabling web developers do more with pure web apps, without needing to rely on third-party plugins or extensions. As browsers become better attuned and optimized for the evolving HTML standard, the opportunities will only increase.


Series Supported by Elsevier


The Future Web Series is supported by Elsevier‘s SciVerse Application Marketplace and Developer Network. In 2010, prominent science publisher Elsevier launched SciVerse to provide developers with access to ample research data so they can build apps on top of trusted scientific content. SciVerse also sponsors “Apps for Science,” a $35,000 developer challenge to accelerate science. Learn more.


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How JavaScript & HTML5 Are Remaking the Web
8 Essential Developer Apps for Multiple Platforms
8 Essential Web Typography Resources

HTML5 Logo by W3C

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Online creation tools company Aviary has teamed up with digital marketing and creative agency The Barbarian Group and journalist Morgan Spurlock to create “No Ad: New York,” an online editor that lets users remove all ads from a virtual representation of Times Square.

If you’re a New York resident, you most likely avoid Times Square like the over-lit, tourist-sodden place that it is. Enter, “No Ad: New York” to save the gridlocked day.

The idea came to Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) after hearing about the city of Sao Paulo, where outdoor ads have been banned since 2007 (they were deemed visual pollution).

Spurlock wondered if the same situation could be possible in New York, and approached The Barbarian Group with the concept. The Barbarian Group turned to Aviary, and they created a website on which users can virtually expunge all ads for Times Square — together.

Via the website, ad enemies can use Aviary’s image editor to replace ads with building textures, as well as utilize some of the company’s other tools to rid the world of underwear-clad models and movie posters.

Oh, and if you’re from some other ad-riddled clime, the site also lets you contact the folks in charge to set up an online purge in your own city.

More About: ads, Aviary, MARKETING, morgan-spurlock, new york

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