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Book Review: Canvas Pocket Reference

Book Review: Canvas Pocket ReferenceEarlier this year, the folks at O’Reilly were kind enough to send me a review copy of Canvas Pocket Reference: Scripted Graphics for HTML5 by David Flanagan.

Admittedly, this is not a truly legitimate review because, well, I haven’t actually read the entire book. But as you can tell from the title, this is not exactly something you’d read cover to cover and get much out of. I’ve gone through some of it, and since I have no immediate plans to use HTML5’s canvas element or its related API, I probably won’t be referring to it much any time soon.

Nonetheless, there’s good reason for a positive review here.

An Outstanding Author

If there’s anyone in the area of JavaScript book authoring that makes developers sit up and listen, it’s David Flanagan. Flanagan is well known for what many consider to be the Bible of JavaScript, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, now in its sixth edition.

So if you are having any reservations on the quality of Canvas Pocket Reference, then his reputation should be enough to sway you towards a purchase.

Book Contents

The book’s contents are pretty straightforward. It’s slightly under 100 pages and is divided into two chapters: Canvas Tutorial and Canvas Reference. The first chapter is a sort of how-to of the different parts of the API and is the much more readable of the two chapters. The second is a fairly technical reference describing many (all?) of the methods associated with the canvas API.

It should also be noted that, as Flanagan points out in the preface, this reference is an excerpt from JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. So if you have (or are planning to buy) that larger book, then evidently this reference would be redundant.


For anyone planning on doing some heavy duty canvas-based development, this book seems like a must-have, as it really does look like a solid and concise reference that would be a great alternative to the massive and intimidating Canvas spec.

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