The canvas element

The canvas element is the HTML tag where all the fun begins! You simply add this tag to your page and then you can get a reference to it, get the 2D context and then start using the API to draw on the canvas. You can add the tag to your page like this:

<!-- These are the  default width and height settings -->
<canvas id="cvs" width="300" height="150">[No canvas support]</canvas>

And then you can get a reference to it like this:

    window.onload = function ()
        // Get a reference to the HTML tag as with any other HTML element
        var canvas  = document.getElementById('cvs');
        // Get a reference to the canvas tag 2D drawing context. This is where all the drawing commands and
        // settings are
        var context = canvas.getContext('2d');

The getContext() function returns you the 2D context - this is the object on which all the functions and properties are located. There is a WebGL context for 3D drawing - but that's beyond the scope of this reference (and also significantly more complicated to use!).

Setting the canvas width and height

[No canvas support]
A scaled-up canvas because the dimensions are given by CSS instead of the HTML attributes

To set the canvas width and height you must use the HTML width/height attributes. You can use CSS if you wish but if you do then the canvas will be scaled up from the HTML dimensions to fit the CSS dimensions - so your canvas will look blocky and blurry like this example.