HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Testing to See Whether the Browser Supports Canvas
Now that we have a reference to the canvas element on the HTML page, we need to test to
seewhetheritcontains a context .TheCanvascontext referstothedrawingsurfacedefinedby
a web browser to support Canvas. Simply put, if the context does not exist, neither does the
Canvas. There are several ways to test this. This first test looks to see whether the getCon-
text methodexistsbeforewecallitusingCanvas,aswehavealreadydefineditintheHTML
iif ( ! theCanvas || ! theCanvas . getContext ) {
return ;
Actually, this tests two things. First, it tests to see whether theCanvas does not contain false
(the value returned by document.getElementById() if the named id does not exist). Then,
it tests whether the getContext() function exists.
The return statement breaks out and stops execution if the test fails.
Anothermethod—popularizedbyMarkPilgrimonhis HTML5website —usesafunctionwith
a test of a dummy canvas created for the sole purpose of seeing whether browser support ex-
function canvasSupport () {
return !! document . createElement ( 'canvas' ). getContext ;
function canvasApp () {
iif ( ! canvasSupport ) {
return ;
Our favorite method is to use the modernizr.js library . Modernizr—an easy-to-use, light-
weight library for testing support for various web-based technologies—creates a set of static
Booleans that you can test against to see whether Canvas is supported.
To include modernizr.js in your HTML page, download the code from ht-
tp:// and then include the external .js file in your HTML page:
< script src = "modernizr.js" >< /script>
To test for Canvas, change the canvasSupport() function to look like this:
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