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Advanced HTML5 – Part 1

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by Servage

Using HTML5 Canvas effectively requires a strong foundation in drawing, coloring, and transforming basic two-dimensional shapes. While the selection of built-in shapes is relatively limited, we can draw any shape we desire by using a series of line segments called paths.

The HTML5 Canvas API is well covered in many online forms. The W3C site has an exhaustive and constantly updated reference that details the features of the Canvas 2D Drawing API. However, this online reference lacks concrete examples on using the API. Rather than simply reprinting this entire specification, we will spend our time creating examples to explain and explore as many features as we have space to cover.

The Basic File Setup

As we proceed through the Drawing API, all the examples in this chapter will use the same basic file setup, shown below. Use this code as the basis for all of the examples we create. You will have to change only the contents of the drawScreen() function:

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<title>Ch2BaseFile - Template For Chapter 2 Examples</title>
<script src="modernizr.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.addEventListener('load', eventWindowLoaded, false);
function eventWindowLoaded() {
function canvasSupport () {
return Modernizr.canvas;
function canvasApp(){
if (!canvasSupport()) {
var theCanvas = document.getElementById("canvas");
var context = theCanvas.getContext("2d");
function drawScreen() {
//make changes here.
context.fillStyle = '#aaaaaa';
context.fillRect(0, 0, 200, 200);
context.fillStyle = '#000000';
context.font = '20px _sans';
context.textBaseline = 'top';
context.fillText ("Canvas!", 0, 0);
<div style="position: absolute; top: 50px; left: 50px;">
<canvas id="canvas" width="500" height="500">
Your browser does not support HTML5 Canvas.

The Basic Rectangle Shape

Let’s get our feet wet by looking at the single primitive, built-in geometric shape on Canvas—the rectangle. On Canvas, basic rectangle shapes can be drawn in three different ways: filling, stroking, or clearing. We can also build rectangles (or any other shape) by using paths, which we will cover in the next section.

First, let’s look at the API functions used for these three operations:


Draws a filled rectangle at position x,y for width and height.


Draws a rectangular outline at position x,y for width and height. This makes use of

the current strokeStyle, lineWidth, lineJoin, and miterLimit settings.


Clears the specified area and makes it fully transparent (using transparent black as

the color) starting at position x,y for width and height.

Before we can use any of these functions, we will need to set up the fill or stroke style

that will be used when drawing to the canvas.

The most basic way to set these styles is to use a color value represented by a 24-bit hex

string. Here is an example from our first demonstration:

context.fillStyle = '#000000';
context.strokeStyle = '#ff00ff';

In the example, the fill style is simply set to be the RGB color black, while the stroke style is a classic purple color. The results are shown below.

Example: Basic rectangles

function drawScreen() {
context.fillStyle = '#000000';
context.strokeStyle = '#ff00ff';
context.lineWidth = 2;
context.strokeRect(0, 0,60,60);



Sources for Further Reading

Advanced HTML5 - Part 1, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Categories: Guides & Tutorials


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