YC-Backed Markupwand Takes The Pain Out Of Translating Photoshop Files To HTML And CSS

For front-end developers, the process of translating a designer’s Photoshop file into a bit of usable code isn’t easy. It requires either breaking down different layers and coding a page by hand, or outsourcing the work out to a conversion shop and hoping for cross-platform capabilities. Either way, the translation typically takes a few days to get done.

Y Combinator-backed Markupwand thinks it has a better way: The startup has created a web application that allows developers to upload Photoshop files and get back well-written, cross-platform code in a matter of minutes.

While Markupwand hopes to reduce the amount of time it takes to hand code or outsource development, it could also replace existing tools like Dreamweaver and Fireworks, which neither developers nor designers like very much, and which tend to do a poor job of creating useable code. So the company puts an emphasis on creating code that looks as good as hand-written code. There’s no absolute positioning and minimal markup and CSS.

It’s kind of a niche application, but could become a life- and time-saver for front-end developers. In a closed beta period, Markupwand has attracted 3,000 developers from 250 companies and freelance firms across 54 countries.

While in beta, Markupwand is making the capability available for free, as it works out the bugs. But it’s planning to eventually charge for the service, either on an a la carte basis for one-off translations, or enabling developers to sign up on a subscription basis. It’s trying to determine pricing now, which could include enterprise licenses for access.

Markupwand was founded by front-end developers Raj Natarajan, Alagu Muthuraman, and Suren Mahendran. Muthuraman and Mahendran new each other from NIT Trichy, where they both graduated. Meanwhile, Natarajan and Muthuraman met at Yahoo! bootcamp after joining the company at the same time. The three founders have worked in various positions at Yahoo, Zynga, Interviewstreet, and Myntra.