I spoke with Juriy Zaytsev, creator of Fabric.js and author of the feature series, about the library.
Michael Desmond: What motivated you to create the Fabric.js library? What problem did you see with the HTML5 canvas and how does Fabric.js address that?
Juriy Zaytsev: HTML5 canvas is very low-level, and any complex application could benefit tremendously from canvas abstraction. That’s why I created Fabric.js, based on some early canvas experiments. Fabric provides a simple but powerful object model on top of native methods. It takes care of canvas state and rendering, and lets us work with “objects” directly.
Desmond: Was there an initial point of inspiration for the Fabric.js concept?
Zaytsev: There was an article on Ajaxian four years ago. It was about photo collages with canvas, and I was amazed at how responsive and natural the demo felt. Until then, such interactivity was only possible with Flash. That’s when I started experimenting with Fabric, basing my experiments on the Ajaxian demo.
Desmond: Tell us about key challenges or issues you had to manage in creating your project. Did any surprises crop up?
Zaytsev: From the start, I tried to keep a few things in mind when developing a library — performance, cross-browser support, and extensibility. Performance meant a lot of testing and sticking to low-level and efficient abstractions under the hood. Cross-browser compatibility felt natural to me, as an ex-Prototype.js core developer, but there were certainly a few bumps along the way. An extensive unit test suite helped a lot to ensure everything is stable.
Desmond: Any advice for readers looking to work with Fabric.js?
Zaytsev: Aside from going through the introductory series on Script Junkie, there’s quite extensive API documentation. There’s also a wiki on github, and a constantly growing list of demos with corresponding code. You can always find interesting tidbits on Fabric on our Twitter feed @fabricjs, and get quick help on Google groups. The API itself is self-explanatory and could be explored quickly from within a console.
Desmond: What value have you personally gotten out of writing this feature?
Zaytsev: Writing an article like this makes me evaluate some of the Fabric features and get a perspective on how easy it is to use the library. Is it easy to get started with? Are there any confusing parts? What can we improve? Those are the questions I asked myself. In fact, there have been some changes to the API and bug fixes as a result of writing this series!
Desmond: Thanks, Juriy. Anything you’d like to add for our readers?
Zaytsev: I would like to get more feedback from people reading this series. Did you think it was cool? Can you think of a better way to achieve something? Was anything confusing or unclear? Is there anything you’d like to hear more about? (Ed. note: Feel free to add comment here in the blog or email me at email@example.com).