by David Geary
If you believe all you read, HTML5 is fast becoming the new way of writing all Web applications and mobile apps. While we know that adoption is in fact much slower, there is no doubt that HTML5 will be a key enabling technology for many years to come. For this reason, publishers have been releasing a steady stream of books on the topic, almost all of them overall introductions — that say pretty much the same thing. The first noteworthy book to break away from the pack is this excellent volume, which focuses on the canvas, which is the one part of HTML5 that is completely new and central to all of HTML5's capabilities going forward.
The HMTL5 canvas has long needed a thoughtful and thorough presentation — and this is that book. At more than 700 pages, the book explores in detail every principal capability of the canvas: curves and path manipulations, text in its many forms, image manipulation, and finally animation. The discussions are lavishly illustrated in full color. In fact, every page is in full color, so that all the code in every listing is printed with true syntax highlighting. This makes the book a joy to read and use.
The author does not stint on providing meaty examples, even in the text section, which is one of the weaker new capabilities of HTML5 canvas. Ultimately, he ends up showing how to build a small game engine in HTML5, with sound and video capabilities, and he creates a pinball-like game complete with flipper action, collision detection, and the like.
In many ways, this book reminds me of the old-style tutorials we all miss: complete, approachable, with high production values in the publication process, and covering the presentation of a substantial app with all necessary tools and techniques explained in detail. An excellent volume.