Google's JavaScript replacement, Dart, hits 1.0 release

Google's JavaScript replacement, Dart, hits 1.0 release

Summary: Two years after being first announced by the search giant, Dart has finally been deemed "ready for production".


Google has released version 1.0 of its Dart SDK, two years after first announcing the programming language.

Initially released in 2011, Google intended for the language to be a replacement of the ubiquitous JavaScript support found in all modern browsers, but without any native browser support, code written in Dart had to be translated to JavaScript in order to work.

The language soon found itself written off as a laughing stock for producing large amounts of JavaScript when translated.

Two years on, the Dart team has created a better translator, dart2js, which is written in Dart and claims performance quicker than "idiomatic JavaScript".

"dart2js output code size has been reduced substantially. The generated JavaScript for the game Pop, Pop, Win! is now 40 percent smaller than it was a year ago. Performance of the VM continues to improve as well; it’s now between 42 percent to 130 percent faster than idiomatic JavaScript running in V8, depending on the benchmark," wrote Lars Bak in the announcement blog post.

Accompanying the SDK is Dart Editor, a development environment based on Eclipse that supports code completion, refactoring, jump to definition, a debugger, hints and warnings.

The only browser to have native support for Dart is Dartium, a custom Chromium build.

Topics: Web development, Google


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Why?

    I admit that JavaScript may not be the best of languages, but the essential problem for any language is getting programmers to adopt it. Why learn Dart?
    • Adoption

      The problem for Dart is not whether it is better but will browsers support it in near future releases. If none but Google supports it, then it will be a yawn.
      • TypeScript

        TypeScript makes more sense. For small bits of Scripting, Javascript is still ok, but for large server or client javascript base project, TypeScript is what we need.
    • You answered yourself

      Why learn Dart? Precisely because javascript sucks.
  • Google's version of ActiveX???

    Only one question...Why? Don't we already have enough scripting languages to deal with? What problem does Dart address? It's already virtually intolerable to have to browse with JavaScript enabled...yeah, I know, I'm an old fuddy-duddy. However, how many exploits have we seen that utilize some weakness in JavaScript, in ActiveX, PHP etc.?
    • Well

      If you're productive with javascript, yours is a happy world and by all means you're finished, learn no more.

      But if you are managing a team on a big project, perhaps typing, provability and scoping rules that are more akin to those found in C, python, perl, or the commonly taught and understood OOP languages may have you searching for alternatives that generate safer javascript while making it easier to hire the coders you need for development and maintenance.

      Just a thought. Me, I have clojurescript in my sites. Not as a manager — I am not one — but because I think I want to look in on new things and coding in javascript feels like traveling through a minefield to an engagement. You want and don't want to be hasty.

      Go interests me more than Dart, but congratulations to the team for going 1.0, and remember all languages released in the last 20 years were greeted by shrugs from fellows like you. Didn't stop java, C#, or Ruby.
      • You missed my point...

        this is not just another "language", Dart is Google's attempt at "replacing JavaScript" in web browsers. Your examples, Java, C# and Ruby can be ran independently...can JavaScript or Dart? Many of us have gone to some length to limit the JavaScripts that are allowed to run in our browsers, so this move by Google seems more a way to bypass those limits to extract yet more details about the user. However, since at present only 1 "alpha release" browser has support for Dart, it may not be a does represent a trend that to some may be troubling.
        • Well...

          All three of the examples you listed require stand alone virtual machines installed to work just like Dart does. Though, also like Java and C#, Dart can run in the browser with a plugin (or in this case of Dartium, native browser support).
        • Agreed

          "Many of us have gone to some length to limit the JavaScripts that are allowed to run in our browsers, so this move by Google seems more a way to bypass those limits to extract yet more details about the user."

          I've noticed quite a few sites that now run huge chains of JavaScript.
          Most of the scripts in the chain seem to serve no function other than calling more scripts.

          The only explanation for this is, it is to make script blockers so painful to use that people will stop using them and just accepted the malware that is pushed to their computers.
  • Dart is not that amazing

    Then you should try Typescript from MS, it is a lot better, you should give a try....
  • TypeScript is Microsoft at its best
    • Things Dart has that TypeScript lacks currently

      Getters and setters
      Operator overloading
      Real block scope, no hoisting, no IIFEs
      No implicit conversion
      Lexically bound 'this' everywhere
      Mixins support
      An import system
      User-defined subscript operators
      Generics, with reification
      Better collection classes
      A cleaner DOM AP
  • Don't bother....

    Google has a record for developing things and in a few years dumping the project. Chrome OS will be joining that reject list I'm sure soon. Dart not far after.