Shorthand for canvas context operations.
Last updated 3 years ago by mellowmelon .
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$ cnpm install shortvas 
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A wrapper around a 2D canvas context providing some shorter method names, altered interfaces, and chaining in an attempt to make it easier to do common canvas tasks with less typing. Compatibility with the original canvas properties and methods is preserved to make introducing the module easier.

The only real extra feature provided over a standard context is an implementation of getTransform.


With npm installed, run

npm install shortvas


In the examples below, two canvases canvas1 and canvas2 are made. canvas1 is operated on using the standard context interface and canvas2 is operated on with an equivalent sequence of Shortvas calls.

If run in a browser:

var Shortvas = require("shortvas");

var canvas1 = document.createElement("canvas");
var longhand = canvas1.getContext("2d");

var canvas2 = document.createElement("canvas");
var shorthand = Shortvas.get(canvas2); // A context can also be passed in.

// Draw a red diagonal line.

longhand.strokeStyle = "#FF0000";
longhand.moveTo(5, 5);
longhand.lineTo(10, 10);

shorthand.bp().M(5, 5).l(5, 5).stroke(0xFF0000);

// Draw a blue diamond with a green border using a 0 to 1 coordinate system.;
longhand.translate(40, 20);
longhand.scale(40, 40);
longhand.strokeStyle = "#00FF00";
longhand.lineWidth = 0.1;
longhand.fillStyle = "#0000FF";
longhand.moveTo(0.5, 0);
longhand.lineTo(0, 0.5);
longhand.lineTo(0.5, 1);
longhand.lineTo(1, 0.5);
  .toRect([40, 20, 40, 40]).bp()
  .M(0.5, 0).L(0, 0.5).L(0.5, 1).L(1, 0.5).Z()
  .fill(0x0000FF).stroke(0x00FF00, 0.1)



var Shortvas = require("shortvas");

Shortvas.get(canvas|context, [options]) -> ShortvasContext

Returns a ShortvasContext instance, a wrapper around either the given context or around the 2D context of the given canvas element.

Available options are noCache, which if true will skip the cached ShortvasContext attached to the canvas and make a new one. See ShortvasContext for details.

Shortvas.color(color) -> String

If the provided color is a string, return it. If it is a hexadecimal number in 0xRRGGBB format, return an HTML string representing that color. Behavior for other types is undefined.

var color = Shortvas.color(0x001AB2); // "#001ab2"

All colors that can be passed into the various Shortvas methods pass through this function, so you probably don't need to use it directly.


Extends the prototype of ShortvasContext with all methods on the provided object which are own and enumerable. Nonfunction values will be ignored.


var Shortvas = require("shortvas");
var canvas = document.createElement("canvas");
var shortCtx = Shortvas.get(canvas); // ShortvasContext instance

A ShortvasContext is returned from the module's top level get method and is a wrapper around a 2D canvas context. This wrapper supports all of the properties and methods that a typical context implementation would so that it can be easily dropped in to existing code.

A ShortvasContext instance stores itself under the custom property __shortvas__ in the canvas element, which will be retrieved if a second Shortvas is made with the same canvas or its 2D context. Besides making it a lot harder to break getTransform, it's also more consistent with how a canvas's getContext works.

All ShortvasContext methods that would ordinarily not return anything instead return the called ShortvasContext so that chaining is possible. This includes both inherited context methods and the new methods documented below.

ShortvasContext aliases many vertex methods with names consistent with the notation for the SVG d attribute. However, note that compatibility is not 100%. S, T, and A are not implemented, C cannot accept more than six arguments, and the behavior of the relative vertex methods may not be totally consistent.

Inherited Canvas Properties and Methods

As mentioned above, ShortvasContext implements all of the usual properties and methods of a 2D canvas context. Properties are implemented via ES5 getters and setters, so setting a Shortvas property will set it on the backing canvas context.

These are the standard canvas properties and methods supported by a returned Shortvas instance, conditioned on the environment supporting all of them. The list is based off information from the living standard, MDN, and what was implemented in Chrome 46.0.2490.80.

  • Properties: canvas, globalAlpha, globalCompositeOperation, strokeStyle, fillStyle, shadowOffsetX, shadowOffsetY, shadowBlur, shadowColor, lineWidth, lineCap, lineJoin, miterLimit, lineDashOffset, font, textAlign, textBaseline
  • Methods: save, restore, scale, rotate, translate, transform, setTransform, resetTransform, createLinearGradient, createRadialGradient, createPattern, clearRect, fillRect, strokeRect, beginPath, fill, stroke, drawFocusIfNeeded, clip, isPointInPath, isPointInStroke, fillText, strokeText, measureText, drawImage, createImageData, getImageData, putImageData, getContextAttributes, setLineDash, getLineDash, closePath, moveTo, lineTo, quadraticCurveTo, bezierCurveTo, arcTo, rect, arc

resetTransform will be implemented via setTransform if it is not native.

In addition to several documented below, the following aliases of existing canvas properties and methods exist on ShortvasContext:

  • save: push, sv
  • restore: pop, rs
  • transform: addT
  • setTransform: setT
  • resetTransform: resetT

ShortvasContext#context -> Context

The underlying canvas context, which may be useful if you need to use features not implemented/proxied by Shortvas. Using it in place of the ShortvasContext should normally Just Work, but beware of doing transforms through the context directly if you intend to use getTransform.

ShortvasContext#width -> Number

Equivalent to context.canvas.width on the underlying context, and can be assigned to like other proxied properties.

ShortvasContext#height -> Number

Equivalent to context.canvas.height on the underlying context, and can be assigned to like other proxied properties.

ShortvasContext#getTransform() -> Array

Aliases: getT

Returns an array [a, b, c, d, e, f] representing the current transformation matrix with the same format as the arguments one would pass to Context#transform. The implied 3 by 3 transformation matrix is

a c e
b d f
0 0 1

ShortvasContext#rotateAbout(angle, x, y)

Aliases: pivot

A composite transformation equivalent to translate(x, y), rotate(angle), and translate(-x, -y), which has the effect of rotating everything by angle radians about the point (x, y).


A composite transformation that multiples the passed angle by pi / 180, then passes it to rotate.

ShortvasContext#rotateAboutDeg(angle, x, y)

Aliases: pivotDeg

A composite transformation that multiples the passed angle by pi / 180, then passes it and the other arguments to rotateAbout.

ShortvasContext#toRect(from[, to = [0, 0, 1, 1]])

A composite transformation of translations and scaling. Pass in two rectangles in [x, y, w, h] format. The rectangle corresponding to from in the old coordinate system will become the rectangle corresponding to to in the new coordinate system.

For example, if you wanted your context to have the top left corner be (0, 0) and the bottom right corner be (1, 1) and your instance is named shortCtx,

shortCtx.resetT().toRect(0, 0, shortCtx.width, shortCtx.height);


Sets the provided properties on the context. shortCtx.set(props) and Object.assign(shortCtx, props) are essentially equivalent.


Same as ShortvasContext#set except that save is called just before, meaning with should be balanced with a call to restore.

ShortvasContext#block([props, ]f)

This calls save, runs the function f, and then calls restore. If props is provided, it will set those properties between save and f, in a manner similar to ShortvasContext#with.


Wipes the entire canvas by temporarily resetting the transform and filling the rectangle spanning the whole canvas with the given color. color can be any value accepted by Shortvas.color.


Clears the entire canvas by temporarily resetting the transform and calling clearRect on the whole canvas area. This turns the canvas transparent, unlike blank.


Aliases: bp

Calls Context#beginPath and resets the internal position state used by the relative vertex methods.

ShortvasContext#moveTo(x, y)

Aliases: M

Equivalent of Context#moveTo. This method, along with all vertex methods below, supports passing in an array or array-like object in the arguments. The rule is that Shortvas will flatten the passed arguments down one level before forwarding to the underlying context while leaving nonarrays untouched.

ShortvasContext#m(dx, dy)

Relative version of Context#moveTo, moving to x + dx, y + dy where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#lineTo(x, y)

Aliases: L

Equivalent of Context#lineTo. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#l(dx, dy)

Relative version of Context#lineTo, drawing a line to x + dx, y + dy where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).


Same as ShortvasContext#lineTo, except that the y-coordinate is set to the value it had for the last vertex, meaning this command draws a horizontal line. Supports arrays (see moveTo).


Relative version of ShortvasContext#H, drawing a line to x + dx, y where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).


Same as ShortvasContext#lineTo, except that the x-coordinate is set to the value it had for the last vertex, meaning this command draws a vertical line. Supports arrays (see moveTo).


Relative version of ShortvasContext#V, drawing a line to x, y + dy where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#quadraticCurveTo(cpx, cpy, x, y)

Aliases: Q

Equivalent of Context#quadraticCurveTo. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#q(dcpx, dcpy, dx, dy)

Relative version of ShortvasContext#quadraticCurveto, drawing a quadratic curve to x + dcpx, y + dcpy, x + dx, y + dy where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#bezierCurveTo(cp1x, cp1y, cp2x, cp2y, x, y)

Aliases: C

Equivalent of Context#bezierCurveTo. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

Unlike SVG, Shortvas does not yet support more than six arguments.

ShortvasContext#c(dcp1x, dcp1y, dcp2x, dcp2y, dx, dy)

Relative version of ShortvasContext#bezierCurveto, drawing a bezier curve to x + dcp1x, y + dcp1y, x + dcp2x, y + dcp2y, x + dx, y + dy where x, y are the coordinates of the last path vertex (default 0, 0). Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#rect(x, y, width, height)

Equivalent of Context#rect. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

ShortvasContext#arc(x, y, radius, startAngle, endAngle, anticlockwise)

Equivalent of Context#arc. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

Note that SVG's A does not match this method. A is a planned but not currently implemented method.

ShortvasContext#arcTo(cp1x, cp1y, cp2x, cp2y, r)

Equivalent of Context#arcTo. Supports arrays (see moveTo).

Note that significant computation is needed to ensure this method plugs into relative methods like l correctly, which may be a performance liability.


Aliases: Z, z

Equivalent of Context#closePath(). Supports arrays (see moveTo).

This will not adjust the current x, y position, instead expecting the next method call (if any) to have absolute coordinates. This may change in the future.

ShortvasContext#stroke(strokeStyle, lineWidth)

Aliases: strokeAnd

Finishes the current path by setting strokeStyle and lineWidth to the given values, then calling Context#stroke. Missing arguments (null or undefined) mean those context properties are left untouched.

ShortvasContext#fill(fillStyle, fillRule)

Aliases: fillAnd

Finishes the current path by setting fillStyle to the given value, then calling Context#fill with the provided fillRule. Missing arguments (null or undefined) mean those context properties are left untouched, or in the case of fillRule the default "nonzero" will be used.


Aliases: clipAnd

Finishes the current path by calling Context#clip with the provided fillRule, which defaults to "nonzero".


Shortvas does not yet have a 1.0 release. Here are some things that will likely be implemented by that time:

  • Finish implementing missing SVG path vertex types.
  • Font utilities, including string-to-object and object-to-string facilities.
  • Gradient and pattern utilities.


With npm installed, run

npm test

To lint with ESLint, run

npm run check



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