Node.js head takes a breather, will momentum stall?

Ryan Dahl, the creator of Node.js, is taking a break, according to a short post to the Google Node.js news group Monday afternoon. Dahl wrote that he is stepping back from day-to-day Node.js gatekeeping duties, which will now be handled by Isaac Schlueter.

Node.js, a server-side JavaScript framework, has ridden a wave of popularity as evidenced by new support by Windows Azure. Developers like using the framework to write server applications because they can keep using standard libraries and their JavaScript skill set to build very efficient server applications. The question here is, does a change at the top of the project spark concern about that momentum, or is it just a natural evolution?

Judging from responses to Dahl’s post, the Node.js faithful are sorry to see him step back, but understand his need to do so. Some posted some last-minute requests for the framework, just in case.

According to Dahl’s post, he’s not really going anywhere, but after three years on this project it’s time for a change:

I am still an employee at Joyent and will advise from the sidelines but I won’t be involved in the day-to-day bug fixes. Isaac has final say over what makes it into the releases. Appeals for new features, changes, and bug fixes should now be directed at him.

The news comes just a week after the Node.js Summit in San Francisco, at which Dahl was a featured speaker. The conference attracted Node.js developers and users including Mozilla and Wal-Mart. When the news of his status change broke Monday, one Twitter poster, “PeterC,” summed it up this way:
“Genuinely surprised at the “Ryan Dahl stepping down as Node.js leader” news. Node has only just hit the big time really. Good luck to him!”
After three years and much effort on this project, which has shown incredible momentum, it really might be time for a break, but since Dahl was so visible with Node.js, there’s bound to be concern about this change of leadership.