What was the best part about using Pixopa?
Amit Shinde has been helpful in answering our questions and addressing many of the concerns and issues we had. Pixopa was able to get the plugin integrated and functional in our site within 1-2 weeks. However, a Magento plugin of this complexity is bound to introduce some bugs when integrated with our site (especially since our site is already pretty customized with other extensions/modules, class rewrites and so on). Sure enough, that's what happened...the vast majority (months) of the integration development process was spent fixing bugs, adding optimizations, adding a few customizations and tweaking. I think a lot of the fixes and optimizations that were made during our integration can be applied to Pixopa's other customers.
I'd also like to mention that the tool really does produce WYSIWYG PDF output nearly 100% of the time, especially if it's configured to produce vector PDFs. However, if you're really particular about accuracy, I recommend that you restrict image uploads to image formats only (JPG, PNG, etc.)...don't allow your users to upload PDFs, because the design tool will rasterize them into an image (which may cause color shifts) before displaying on the canvas. Also, when designing templates, if you're going to use an image for a background, Pixopa recommends that the image be a high-resolution JPG.
Pixopa's plugin does support MageWorx's "Advanced Product Options" extension, which is nice. Just note that the plugin scans the names of the product options for keywords such as "size" and executes additional behavior if a product option has that keyword.
Pixopa's Magento plugin is very feature-rich (some folks felt it was a tad TOO feature-rich) and for the most part quite intuitive. That was a huge reason why we opted to go with it instead of another company's HTML5 designer solution.
What would you change about your experience with Pixopa?
1) The support does need improvement when it comes to response speed, especially considering they advertise themselves as enterprise-friendly. Sometimes, we do get quick responses either same-day or within two business days. But other times it has taken a week or longer in order to get an email response to a question or an acknowledgement that they're looking into an issue. A few times we had to remind them of an issue/question. That has once or twice led to the integration development stalling briefly. I suspect these support issues are a result of them being a small and fairly young company that's simultaneously managing multiple accounts. If they can become more consistent in responding within a couple of business days, that would be good. Keep in mind that I'm specifically talking about responses...not how long it takes to actually fix an issue or implement something. As an experienced IT professional myself...I'm well aware that fixing/implementing things can take time especially if you want to do it right and test thoroughly.
2) The Text option in the design canvas tool does not support automatic text reflow and wrap, like you'd see in applications like Microsoft Publisher, Google Slides and many more. The way the Text feature works now is fine for things like headlines on a flyer or t-shirt, but it can be annoying for longer blocks of text such as a short paragraph on the back of a postcard. End users can learn how to work around that with a bit of practice (and if needed, guidance), but it may be a bit frustrating for users new to the design tool. I suspect Pixopa's Text option works this way because of a limitation in SVG 1.1 (it doesn't support reflow). We've let them know about this awhile back and have pointed them to some possible technical workarounds that they can look into.
3) Despite them advertising themselves as an "Enterprise Web-to-Print Solutions" company, their Magento plugin is currently best suited for Magento Community Edition, not Magento Enterprise Edition. The vast majority of the plugin (including the design canvas tool itself) does work fine with Magento EE, but one thing that currently doesn't work well with EE is Pixopa's automatic URL rewriting for template designs. This is an issue they are aware of. Fortunately, Magento allows you to manually create URL redirects...so for now, if you're using Enterprise Edition need SEO-friendly links for your design templates, you may need to create those links manually.
Note that we just integrated the online HTML5 product designer tool itself, not the whole storefront deal (because we already had a storefront). At the time of this writing, our site's using Magento 1.14 Enterprise Edition. Also, we worked pretty much exclusively with Amit Shinde.
My overall opinion is that Pixopa currently has a lot of potential...and with some more polish in the software and the client support it could be something truly great. After extensive testing, fixes and tweaks, our integration is already quite good and works pretty well. But Pixopa's software has room for further improvement in usability and performance. Keep in mind that their software is still pretty young and has undergone multiple iterations based on feedback from their clients and their own roadmap. That's normal in software development.
It's also nice that it's mobile friendly and has a different interface for smartphones. That said, I think that design tools like this are easier to use on tablets than on phones.
I do think that Pixopa could do more to describe some of the settings in Core Settings and Online Designer Settings. Some settings are self-explanatory and don't need clarification, but for others, we had to contact them and have them explain what the setting is. Basically, what I'm saying is that they need better documentation.
Lastly, the settings allow for a great deal of toggling things on/off...e.g. turn the "Path" tool off, disallow blur, etc. But they could do more. For example, currently there's no way to hide specific things within the QR Code interface.
Note that as of early August 2016, the HTML5 design tool is very buggy in Microsoft Edge. This is not Pixopa's fault...it's Microsoft's. Edge has significant bugs with SVG and MS has not fixed them yet despite multiple complaints. I've also confirmed that with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that was released on August 2nd...the SVG issues with Edge are still there. Fortunately, Pixopa's software works well in Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer 11.
In conclusion, I think integrations like these are more likely to turn out well if the client has a competent team of developers on their end to test thoroughly and collaborate with Pixopa. Do not expect things to work perfectly out of the box after ~2 weeks of the initial integration, especially if your site has multiple customizations at the code level. Plan for at least a few months of development and especially testing before your integration is truly ready for production.