We are having a great time using Canvas for Bespin and a few other projects. Having text, images, and boxes as the primitives on the Web just isn’t good enough, so leap frogging to HTML5-land where we have the ability to arbitrarily paint pixels is fantastic. Mix this with the ability to directly manipulate video, and you have new opportunities.
There is a time and a place for Canvas though. Rather than running the show, I much prefer the unobtrusive extensions that you can provide. I am also looking forward to seeing more tools that use a server side component to do some image manipulation… now work on the client through Canvas and ImageData. Vlad pondered why CSS spriting tools are all server-side for example.
Christian Effenberger has been doing this kind of work for a long time, and there is room for a lot more. I really like having Canvas available in more places, such as anywhere an image can be used (e.g. WebKit CSS extensions where you can use a Canvas as a background-image). That gives you full control to style something in zany ways, while still staying in DOM land. It also means that things can play together really nice. We continue to push more into CSS (transitions, gradients, etc.) and animation libraries (Scripty2 looks nice!).
There is still much work to be done on putting the pieces together. I don’t know about you, but doing some common things with layout and UI still drive me nuts. Having the low level new tools like border-image are cool, but I really long for a tool that graphically lets me take a mock, cut it up, and build it out as a generalized component (stretches in the right place etc). The tool could then spit out more than just a border-image version, but old style divs + CSS to make it work everywhere. One tool, run output anywhere.
So, time to take a breath, take a look at what bleeding edge folk are doing to get rich experiences, and push it into the core platform itself. This will mean less Canvas, but used in the right places, and we will move down the stack again. If we don’t push use cases down into the core, then we are doomed to stagnate or fork the Web.