The new HTML5 CANVAS element gives the developer pixel-poking magic. Poke and peek are functions from the good old days that offered the only geeky way to set and read-out individual bytes in the (graphic) memory.
Sure things are better nowadays. To understand how canvas works, imagine an IMG element, of which every pixel can be set individually or loaded from a IMG source.
This means you can filter images, copy them, translate, rotate, scale, in short: a lot. It can also add drop-shadow, although at the moment this is only fully supported by Safari and partially by Opera. Probably Firefox will add support in the upcoming 3.1.
Rendering is best in Opera and Firefox. Safari and Chrome look awful. Webkits’ canvas seems designed to work only with integers while Opera and Firefox translates floats into some anti-alias rendering. Better but probably slower. Opera’s rendering is quite slow.
Rendering time screen:
Chrome 9 : 50 msec
Opera 11.01: 667 msec
Firefox 3.613: 2829 msec
Opera and Firefox look fine, Chrome’s rendering is jagged.