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Added in HTML5, the HTML <canvas> element is an element which can be used to draw graphics via scripting (usually JavaScript). For example, it can be used to draw graphs, make photo compositions, create animations or even do real-time video processing.

Mozilla applications gained support for <canvas> starting with Gecko 1.8 (i.e. Firefox 1.5). The element was originally introduced by Apple for the OS X Dashboard and Safari. Internet Explorer supports <canvas> from version 9 onwards; for earlier versions of IE, a page can effectively add support for <canvas> by including a script from Google's Explorer Canvas project. Google Chrome and Opera 9 also support <canvas>.

The <canvas> element is also used by WebGL to do hardware-accelerated 3D graphics on web pages.


The <canvas> element is part of the WhatWG Web applications 1.0 specification, also known as HTML5.
Canvas tutorial
A comprehensive tutorial covering both the basic usage of <canvas> and its advanced features.
Code snippets:Canvas
Some extension developer-oriented code snippets involving <canvas>.
Canvas examples
A few <canvas> demos.
Drawing DOM objects into a canvas
How to draw DOM content, such as HTML elements, into a canvas.
A basic raycaster
A demo of ray-tracing animation using canvas.
Canvas DOM interfaces
Canvas DOM interfaces on Gecko.

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  • libCanvas is powerful and lightweight canvas framework
  • Processing.js is a port of the Processing visualization language
  • EaselJS is a library with a Flash-like API
  • PlotKit is a charting and graphing library
  • Rekapi is an animation keyframing API for Canvas
  • PhiloGL is a WebGL framework for data visualization, creative coding and game development.
  • JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit creates interactive 2D Canvas data visualizations for the Web.
  • Frame-Engine is a framework for developping applications and games

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