Canvas is a Go drawing library based on OpenGL that is very similar to the HTML5 canvas API

go get


Go canvas GoDoc

Canvas is a pure Go library based on OpenGL that provides drawing functionality as similar as possible to the HTML5 canvas API. It has nothing to do with HTML or Javascript, the functions are just made to be approximately the same.

Many of the basic functions are supported, but it is still a work in progress. The library aims to accept a lot of different parameters on each function in a similar way as the Javascript API does.

Whereas the Javascript API uses a context that all draw calls go to, here all draw calls are directly on the canvas type. The other difference is that here setters are used instead of properties for things like fonts and line width.

The library is intended to provide decent performance. Obviously it will not be able to rival hand coded OpenGL for a given purpose, but for many purposes it will be enough. It can also be combined with hand coded OpenGL.

SDL/GLFW convenience packages

The sdlcanvas and glfwcanvas subpackages provide a very simple way to get started with just a few lines of code. As the names imply they are based on the SDL library and the GLFW library respectively. They create a window for you and give you a canvas to draw with.

OS support

  • Linux
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • iOS

Using gomobile to build a full Go app using gomobile build now works by using an offscreen texture to render to and then rendering that to the screen. See the example in examples/gomobile. The offscreen texture is necessary since gomobile automatically creates a GL context without a stencil buffer, which this library requires.


Look at the example/drawing package for some drawing examples.

Here is a simple example for how to get started:

package main

import (


func main() {
	wnd, cv, err := sdlcanvas.CreateWindow(1280, 720, "Hello")
	if err != nil {
	defer wnd.Destroy()

	wnd.MainLoop(func() {
		w, h := float64(cv.Width()), float64(cv.Height())
		cv.FillRect(0, 0, w, h)

		for r := 0.0; r < math.Pi*2; r += math.Pi * 0.1 {
			cv.SetFillStyle(int(r*10), int(r*20), int(r*40))
			cv.MoveTo(w*0.5, h*0.5)
			cv.Arc(w*0.5, h*0.5, math.Min(w, h)*0.4, r, r+0.1*math.Pi, false)

		cv.Arc(w*0.5, h*0.5, math.Min(w, h)*0.4, 0, math.Pi*2, false)

The result:

Implemented features

These features should work just like their HTML5 counterparts, but there are likely to be a lot of edge cases where they don't work exactly the same way.

  • beginPath
  • closePath
  • moveTo
  • lineTo
  • rect
  • arc
  • arcTo
  • quadraticCurveTo
  • bezierCurveTo
  • stroke
  • fill
  • clip
  • save
  • restore
  • scale
  • translate
  • rotate
  • transform
  • setTransform
  • fillText
  • measureText
  • textAlign
  • textBaseline
  • fillStyle
  • strokeText
  • strokeStyle
  • linear gradients
  • radial gradients
  • image patterns
  • lineWidth
  • lineEnd (square, butt, round)
  • lineJoin (bevel, miter, round)
  • miterLimit
  • lineDash
  • getLineDash
  • lineDashOffset
  • global alpha
  • drawImage
  • getImageData
  • putImageData
  • clearRect
  • shadowColor
  • shadowOffset(X/Y)
  • shadowBlur

Missing features

  • globalCompositeOperation
  • isPointInPath
  • isPointInStroke
  • textBaseline hanging and ideographic (currently work just like top and bottom)
  • full self intersecting polygon support
  • image patterns with repeat and transform

Version history


  • Line strokes are now scaled and transformed correctly
  • Added an ImagePattern type and a CreatePattern function (still missing repeat and transform)


  • Restuctured the code to have a single frontend and multiple backends, although currently only Go-GL and an automatically generated xmobile GL backend are available. This should in theory make it possible to write a software backend as well, or maybe Vulkan or some other libraries.

  • Got rid of the OpenGL interface and used Go-GL for Android and iOS. I also tried using it for Shiny and gomobile, but for some reason once the xmobile GL context is created, Go-GL no longer works, so those use the xmobile GL backend.

  • SetLineEnd is now SetLineCap