Save HTML5 Canvas Image to Gallery – Phonegap Android plugin


Readers of this post have raised issues with the plugin. I have to personally check for the issues but while using the plugin if you find any issues, you might want to debug it in ADT. I will come up with a working plugin soon. Thanks.

Sometime back I worked on a Phonegap Android plugin that helps to save an HTML5 Canvas Image to the device’s gallery. Well, the title of this post may be misleading but note that when you save an image, you actually have to save it on the SD Card or the device’s memory. The Gallery is just an app that shows the collection of images from various locations on the SD Card. So, there’s nothing like saving an image directly to the Gallery.
I had this working with Phonegap 2.2.0 (the version that I used). Newer versions of Phonegap/Cordova are available and things might have changed a bit, specially in the way custom plugins are written. Hence, if you are using newer versions of Phonegap you should have a look at the official documentation before proceeding.
Alright, here is what I did. I tried to save an image using the FileWriter – Phonegap API, but as it turned out, it can save only text data on the device’s memory. So, only way to do it was write a Phonegap plugin, pass the Canvas details from JavaScript interface to the Java side and let the Java class save the Canvas image on the SD Card.
Note that I am not a Java developer, and there may be better ways of writing this plugin.

How to install the plugin?
You need to get hold of two files :
1) The Java class –
2) The JavaScript interface – SavePhotoPlugin.js

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HTML5 SVG Support check using JavaScript – the simple way

My last post talked about how you can detect whether your browser supports HTML5 Canvas or not using simple JavaScript technique. Based on the same principles, this post illustrates how you can detect if your browser supports SVG elements. You may note SVG is Scalable Vector Graphics and HTML5 has native support for SVG tags. The difference with Canvas is that in case of SVG elements, they become a part of the DOM and you can manipulate each SVG elements, whereas in case of Canvas, the entire <canvas></canvas> tag becomes one node in the DOM and anything inside the Canvas <canvas> tag (for eg. a Rectangle) cannot be manipulated individually using standard DOM methods. Browse the web and you will find a hell lot of topics on this.

Alright, now back to the detection code. Just copy/paste this inside your window load / body load or in case of JQuery the $(document).ready() method,

  document.write('Your browser does not support SVG!');

So, if your browser does not support SVG, then it will not process further (in case your application cannot live without SVG). But if you have a back up plan and you can live without SVG in your browser, then you can add an else block along with the if so that you can write your backup logic.

Well, the code is very simple. Inside the if condition I create a SVG element using the standard DOM createElement() method. Now this will create a <svg></svg> object. Now next thing I do is to check if the getAttributeNS() method is defined or not. If you browser does not support <svg> then there is no way it will understand getAttributeNS() and that’s the catch.

HTML5 Canvas Support check using JavaScript – the simple way

This is how you can check for HTML5 Canvas support in your browser by using JavaScript, there’s no need of an external library like Modernizer to do a simple check like this. In fact most of the feature checks can be done natively, that’s what I prefer.

Here is the code,

var canvasEl = document.createElement('canvas'); //create the canvas object
if(!canvasEl.getContext) //if the method is not supported, i.e canvas is not supported
  document.write("HTML5 Canvas Not Supported By Your Browser");

As you can see in the first line I create a HTML5 Canvas element by using createElement() DOM method. As you might know that to work with Canvas, you have to get it’s context object (2d for now), which can be retrieved by the getContext() method. So, if a browser does not support the <canvas> tag or the canvas element, then no way the getContext() method will be defined for it. That’s what I check in the second line – the if condition. Remember that a function/method name is a variable which holds a reference to the function block. So we can check whether it is defined or not, in a normal way like we do for object properties. IE8 doesn’t support HTML5 Canvas. So try this code in IE8 for a quick test.

How can I use it with my code?
Use this code block inside the window load event handler or when the DOM ready event is triggered (using document.onreadystatechange, more). You can modify it as per your need.
Leave behind a comment if you are upset with this attempt.

Cooler modal popup example – how to open multiple popups, scrolling pop ups per page

Some time back I came up with a cooler modal pop up window using CSS3 and JavaScript specifically for mobile webkit browsers. The example that I presented had only a single button, a click on it would open a modal pop up window.

In this post I have a similar example but this time multiple pop ups can be opened from the same page. Opening multiple pop up’s from a single page was requested by some of my readers. And here it is. I will not go deep into explaining the bits and parts of how to create a pop up window. You can go through my previous post for that. But first let’s check a demo (meant only for web-kit based browsers):

Demo link (open in iOS or Android’s browser, you can also test this in Chrome or Safari in your computer) :

Open multiple pops from a single page

How to run this in Firefox, IE and other browsers?
For this you need to make changes in the CSS file. Add CSS3 prefixes for other browsers similarly as it is there for -webkit- . CSS3 junkies would already know what I am talking about.

Replicating the iPhone Swipe Gesture – Vertical swiping

For those who wanted a vertical swiping feature to the the swipe gesture gallery that I created earlier, this post has a new demo and minimal explanation about a vertical swipe gesture gallery. Now you can swipe the images up or down.
I will not go through the basics once again as I have explained them in details in my previous posts. You can refer them once again in these two tutorials – post 1, post 2. Check out the demo below. Open the link in a webkit browser in either your mobile device or your computer.

Demo link:

Below is a screenshot of the gallery in action. You can see that the images are being moved vertically.

Screenshot of vertical swiping through images
Screenshot of vertical swiping through images

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HTML5 Canvas – toDataURL() support for Android devices – working Phonegap 2.2.0 Plugin

Save HTML5 Canvas Image to Gallery – Phonegap Android plugin
I have a Phonegap Android plugin that helps to save HTML5 Canvas Image to the Gallery. See it here.

Back to the actual post,

I have been working on a Phonegap based Android app which involves the HTML5 Canvas. So this is what I had been trying for some time – get a png/jpeg image of the Canvas (its a Canvas paint app, something like this and I want to get an image of the drawing..) and then upload the image to Facebook on a user’s album. Let me tell you, it has been a heck of a task and around 15-20 days of restlessness.

The problem stood tall when I discovered that for Android 2.3 (in general Android < 4.0) devices the native HTML5 Canvas- toDataURL() function does not work, which would otherwise give a base64 encoded string  as image data which then can be used as a source for a HTML <img /> tag. It was working for 4.0 devices as I tested it on a Samsung Galaxy S3 and a Samsung Tab. Hence I Goggled a bit and found out various people had this issue before. So it seemed that older Android web-kits (a Phonegap app runs on the Android webview which is actually the webkit browser inside a native wrapper) does not support that native method of converting a Canvas to an image through toDataURL() generated base64 encoded strings. Guess what I had todo? I had to go for a custom Phonegap plugin as there was no other way. This is how I thought of implementing it – pass the canvas object from javascript side to the Phonegap plugin’s Java class and somehow get the base64 encoded string of the Canvas and return it back to javascript as the callback parameter. This is what the native toDataURL() method actually does – convert the Canvas to a base64 encoded image data string.

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Replicating the iPhone Swipe Gesture – auto scrolling feature

This is an update to the Replicating touch swipe gesture javascript implementation series that I have been writing for some time now and this time I have tried out the auto scrolling feature. Sometimes users may want a auto scrolling along with the normal swipe gesture feature. This post will talk about it and the changes to code that were made to make it auto scroll. First let’s check out the demo, the demo runs in both computer webkit browsers and mobile webkit browsers.

Demo link:

Now, let’s talk on the implementation,
First the features of this demo-

  • Auto scrolling – the gallery slides change automatically at periodical times. Based on the requirement specify whether auto scroll stops on user interaction or continues.
  • Looping – the gallery loops and is circular.
  • Direction – supports two direction – left or right. Specify which direction the gallery should auto scroll.
  • Click/Tap to URL – click or tap to open URL’s.
  • Swipe gesture – and then the touch based swipe gesture for mobiles is available as well.

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Circular swipe gesture gallery – looping through images

This is another update to the regular swipe gesture gallery that I created in two of my earlier post – post1, post2. This time I have implemented the looping feature for the images. The gallery never ends, instead you swipe it in a circular motion. So, whenever you reach the end of the list, swipe again from right to left across your device’s screen to see the first image and also when you reach the beginning of the list you swipe from left to right of your device’s screen to see the last image again. Try out the demo first and you will get a feel of it. Check out the demo in a webkit desktop browser (Chrome, Safari) or an iOS/Android device’s browser. Click on any image to open a URL as well. So, click/tap to open URL is included.

Demo link:

An instance of the demo application – with reduced opacity and exposed images, the darker one being the one currently displayed and is inside the wrapper div.

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CSS3 Coverflow animation for iOS – Adding Touch gestures

Here’s a sneak peak at the touch version of the Coverflow animation. The app is fully touch enabled, you can swipe across the screen to move the images or tap on any image individually to move it. The app works fine in iPhones, iPod touch and iPad’s. Have not tested it in Android 4.0 or greater. Since iOS browsers supports CSS3 3D transformations so it runs very smooth. In Androids < 4.0  it gives a horrible  look n feel.

Here’s the link to the demo. Check in an iOS device (open up in mobile safari),


and if you are looking for a desktop version of the Coverflow, you can check my previous post.

This is how it looks on an iPod touch

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Replicating the iPhone Swipe Gesture – common code for mobiles and computer browsers.

This is another update for the iPhone Swipe Gesture that I have created. This is the third update to the series – Part 1 and Part 2. In case you have missed out of the earlier tutorials and detailed explanation then you can have a look at them first, before proceeding with this tutorial. What I have been able to achieve is that, I have replicated the native iPhone swipe gesture for the iPhone web-kit browser. So, throughout the series I have been able to create a HTML/JavaScript/CSS3 version of the swipe gesture. If in case, again you are not sure of the swipe gesture and swiping, I would recommend to go through my previous tutorials – Part1 and Part2.

Now, the update and the agenda of this tutorial is that – I have developed a common universal code for mobile browsers and computer browsers. Note that when I am saying browsers I mean web-kit browsers – Chrome & Safari in computers, and then the default web browsers in iOS and Android mobiles. The major changes are in the javascript code, where I have automated the user event handling process. What this means is that for mobile devices touch based events are registered and listened to and then for computer browsers mouse based events are registered and handled by the script automatically. This way there is no need to hard code touch events for mobiles and mouse events for computers. The same code works everywhere.

But, still to support different device screen sizes you will need to make changes to the CSS or the asset (images) sizes. The demo that I have worked on, I have considered the iPhone resolution – 320 x 416.

Check out the demo (same link works in mobiles and computers):

An image/slide showing up in portrait mode
Common implementation for mobiles and computers

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