Canvas tutorial

Table of contents

  1. 1. Before you start
  2. 2. In this tutorial
  3. 3. See also

<canvas> is an HTML element which can be used to draw graphics using scripting (usually JavaScript). It can, for instance, be used to draw graphs, make photo compositions or do simple (and not so simple) animations. The image on the right shows some examples of <canvas> implementations which we will see later in this tutorial.

<canvas> was first introduced by Apple for the Mac OS X Dashboard and later implemented in Safari and Google Chrome. Gecko 1.8-based browsers, such as Firefox 1.5, also support this element. The <canvas> element is part of the WhatWG Web applications 1.0 specification also known as HTML 5.

This tutorial describes how to implement the <canvas> element in your HTML pages. The examples provided should give you some clear ideas what you can do with <canvas> and can be used to start building your own implementations.

Before you start

Using the <canvas> element isn't very difficult but you do need a basic understanding of HTML and JavaScript.

The <canvas> element isn't supported in some older browsers, but is supported in Firefox 1.5 and later, Opera 9 and later, newer versions of Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 9.

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