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Google unveils Dart

Dart: "Structured web programming"

Dart: "Structured web programming"

Google has unveiled Dart, its new programming language for writing web applications. In a blog post, Dart software engineer Lars Bak explained that the goal is to create a "structured yet flexible" language that performs well in all environments and is easy to learn.

He also writes: "Dart code can be executed in two different ways: either on a native virtual machine or on top of a JavaScript engine by using a compiler that translates Dart code to JavaScript. This means you can write a web application in Dart and have it compiled and run on any modern browser."

Gotocon.com attendees were this morning given a detailed briefing on the inner workings of Dart. Tweeting from the conference, Lanyrd developer Jake Archibald wrote: "So far, Dart looks like a JavaScript wish list rather than something justifiable as a whole new thing. JS should take the good bits".

He followed up with "JS could make it quickly irrelevant by adopting the good bits" and "Hopefully it'll give JS a kick in the scruttocks when it comes to adopting optional typing and classes".

We spoke to developer Ross Bruniges who gave this view: "In a nutshell I don't see the point of Dart at the moment, in the same way that I don't see the point of CoffeeScript, HAML or SASS. It feels like something created to allow people who can't or won't learn what I consider the core components of the web: HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

"We can already create mind-blowing functionality using these technologies. For instance, at Fronteers last week I saw Seb Lee Delisle use JavaScript to access the audience's 500+ smartphones and devices, detect their location and then run a Nyan Cat between them. It feels like people just like tinkering with something that while has limitations doesn't seem to stop people from creating incredible things with it."

A Google spokesperson said in response: "With existing languages, the developer is forced to make a choice between static and dynamic languages. Traditional static languages require heavyweight toolchains and a coding style that can feel flexible and overly constrained. Thus we believe the Dart language presents a comprehensive solution to current problems facing web developers. It's worth reiterating that Google continues to have a huge interest in keeping the evolution of JavaScript on track, and today's announcement does not alter this."

The language and some tools are available on dartlang.org. There's a cool app on the front page called Dartboard that enables you to type in code and press Run to see the output right there on the page.

Also check out @dart_lang, which was doing a Q&A this morning.

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