Frontend Dogma

5 Questions for Bramus Van Damme

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Bramus Van Damme is a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google, where he focuses on CSS, Web UI, and DevTools. Jens was excited to ask him a few questions about his work, as well as frontend development in general.

Jens: What are you working on these days?

Bramus: As Chrome DevRel for CSS and Web UI I’m mostly busy with CSS-related topics. The biggest one that I’m working on is View Transitions—which recently got a big update in Chrome 126—but also some “smaller” features such as animating to height auto. Before that I was extremely involved with Scroll-Driven Animations, which I recently published a video course for.

The work involves participating in discussions in the CSS Working Group, identifying the needs web developers have, collaborating with the engineering teams to give feedback on their prototypes, syncing with the DevTools team so that we have proper DevTools support by the time a feature launches, and also doing the more visible work such as writing blog posts when we ship and speaking at events.

Jens: What addition to the web platform has you most excited right now?

Bramus: The recent addition of Cross-Document View Transitions is a very big win for the Web as a whole. Thanks to this you no longer have to rearchitect your website to an SPA in order to use View Transitions. Instead, a View Transition can now be triggered by a same-origin navigation from one page to another…

Really powerful and exciting stuff, especially because it uses the same building blocks and principles as Same-Document View Transitions—the only thing that’s different is the trigger for the View Transition.

Jens: What trend in frontend development are you most excited about?

Bramus: Zooming out a bit and looking at longer timeframes, I’d say that the thing that excites me most is that the Web eventually always catches up. Back in the day we needed Flash to do animations and play videos on the Web. Nowadays, that’s built-in. jQuery paved the way for powerful additions to more easily manipulate the DOM (and more). Scroll-Driven Animations used to require a separate library or a tad of blocking JavaScript, whereas nowadays, it’s only one extra line of CSS.

Jens: How do you follow news about frontend development?

Bramus: I follow a lot of individual blogs via RSS, which is my main source of information. I’m also subscribed to some sites that aggregate the news, such as Stefan Judis’s weekly roundup, Frontend Focus, CSS Weekly, Sidebar (RIP), etc.

And then there’s also social media of course, which saw a shift from X to Mastodon, where people often share nice things (if you’ve set up the right filters and what not on X).

Jens: If frontend developers could change (or do) one thing, what would it be?

Bramus: If there’s one thing that developers can do it’s to embrace what the web platform gives you: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—in that order. I’ve written about this before.

Jens: Thank you so much!