Introducing Dart, Google's answer to JavaScript

Google has revealed Dart, a web programming language that offers developers a class-based, optionally-typed alternative to JavaScript.
Written by Matt Weinberger, Contributor

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Google has taken the lid off an early preview of Dart, a new web programming language aimed at helping developers address what the search giant sees as the shortcomings of JavaScript, with a focus on developing apps that scale from tiny to huge.

In his Google Code blog entry, Dart software engineer Lars Bak lists the following as the new language's design goals:

  • Create a structured yet flexible language for web programming.
  • Make Dart feel familiar and natural to programmers and thus easy to learn.
  • Ensure that Dart delivers high performance on all modern web browsers and environments ranging from small handheld devices to server-side execution.

Seems pretty straightforward. And, as Bak goes on to say, Dart is facilitating scenarios from a one-man development project all the way up to bigger applications that require teams of programmers by enabling you to start coding without types and add them in later.

Dart comes with its own native virtual machine, but there's also a compiler that translates Dart to JavaScript. Between those two options, Google says that applications written in Dart can run in any modern browser. The Dart VM isn't yet integrated with the Google Chrome browser, but Bak indicates that they're looking into it.

The first wave of basic libraries and Dart tools are available as open source on their own site, and Bak says that Google is soliciting feedback from developers as the platform matures.

On a final note, if you're interested in a deeper dive into Dart, our colleagues at CNET got to talk to Bak, and there was plenty of interesting tidbits to come out of their conversation, including the roadmap to making Dart a common standard and the fact that Dart isn't designed to make JavaScript obsolete.

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