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Interview: Robert Nyman : Creator of DOMAssistant

· Web Dev Zone

After using DOMAssistant on a recent project and enjoying the benefit this library brings to developing JavaScript cross-browser I felt I really needed to speak to the creator of the awesome framework. Next follows an interview I recently had with Robert Nyman about himself, DOMAssistant and the future of the web. Enjoy!

Schalk: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and what you are currently doing.

Robert: I work mainly as an Interface Developer/Architect, doing consultancy work. Started out with HTML coding in 1998, and while I have dabbled with both design and some heavier System Development, coding web interfaces has always been my big interest. At the moment, I work in two projects: development work for an e-commerce web site and doing auditing and mentoring for Interface Developers at another company.

Schalk:
What gave you the inspiration to create DOMAssistant?

Robert: Looking at the major JavaScript libraries, I felt that they had become way too bloated for the needs most people have, and given the time they've been around, they're full of legacy code and functionality.

Schalk:
How does DOMAssistant help developers?

Robert: DOMAssistant is one of the most lightweight JavaScript libraries out there, while at the same time offering the key features everyone needs, such as selecting elements, handling CSS styling, event handling, DOMReady functionality, dynamic content creation and AJAX.

Schalk: What other similar solutions are there and why should we choose DOMAssistant?

Robert: Looking at least at the major JavaScript library players, they all support about the same subset of features, where CSS selectors are the base (jQuery, Prototype etc).

With the 2.7 release, DOMAssistant has the fastest and most accurate CSS selector support in the market, and at the same time the best Unicode support. And all this comes in merely 7 kb, if you gzip the compressed version. In the end, though, no JavaScript library is the ultimate solution for each and every scenario. Evaluate your needs and demands in the current context you're working in, and choose a JavaScript library from there.

Schalk:
Although initially created by yourself I see some developers have joined the project. What has led to this decision?

Robert:
Work load, and getting other perspectives, I'd say. Some of the people in the team are testing or doing evangelizing, while others contribute with great code that complements my ideas and visions. It helps me to avoid coding errors or missing some specific scenario, hence leading to better and more efficient and stable releases.

Schalk:
With the recent release of version 2.7 of DOMAssistant please give us some insider info with regards to your focus for the next release.

Robert: Currently, we're just doing minor tweaking to existing functions, to make the code even smaller and maintainable. Our next step is rather working more on useful plugins and spreading the word, than adding features to the core code.

Schalk:
How can the community and users out there get involved with the evolution of DOMAssistant?

Robert: They can participate in the discussion group (http://groups.google.com/group/domassistant) and help us in developing plugins (http://www.domassistant.com/plugins/) or porting plugins to other JavaScript libraries to DOMAssistant. But, most of all, they can try it out and give us feedback about what they think.

Schalk:
JavaScript has grown from the dark horse of the web to one of the corner stones current web sites. Frameworks such as DOMAssistant has gone a long way in creating this change. What do you expect or hope from the future and, how do you think the face of web development i going to change over the next 5 years?

Robert: It's lovely, isn't it? :-) At least if you're a JavaScript developer, that is!

It's very hard to say about the future, but I think there will be a lot of competition the upcoming years between Silverlight and Flex/Adobe AIR. HTML 5 will probably make it's way into the market during that time, and I sincerely hope Microsoft releases a kick-ass web browser with IE 8 (although seeing basically no new JavaScript support added, proper event handling etc I'm not really having high hopes).

Schalk:
Anything you want to leave us with?

Robert: Make sure you cooperate with the other skill sets around you. Develop code which is both accessible and cross browser/cross platform, since we have had enough of lock-ins throughout the years. And, naturally, I wish for you to try out DOMAssistant if you haven't already. :-)

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