Dart is Google’s new programming language designed for creating structured web applications. You’ll be able to run it on the server but it’ll also run on the client. In a browser.
I was initially skeptical about Dart but reserved judgment until more information was available. I can now categorically state that it’s almost certain to fail in the same way VBScript did in Internet Explorer.
Dart is an open source project with the following design goals:
1. Create a structured yet flexible programming language for the web.
Great. But what’s wrong with all the other structured and flexible languages? One of the web’s greatest benefits is you can use any server-side language you like: PHP, C#, VB, Perl, Java, Ruby, Python, etc.
There’s always room for improvement but we’re spoiled for choice. Dart doesn’t offer something different — just an alternative.
2. Make Dart feel familiar and natural to programmers and thus easy to learn
Syntactically, Dart is very similar to Java, C++ and C#. So why didn’t Google simply adopt one of those languages? That would have made it even easier to learn.
3. Make Dart appropriate for the full range of devices.
Google has stated that they’re “up against fragmented mobile platforms”. Wouldn’t another language fragment it further?
It’s possible Google will create a native Dart runtime for Android. Perhaps they’ll even create a version for Windows phones. What about Apple — the most successful smartphone vendor? Not a chance.
4. Provide tools that make Dart run fast across all major modern browsers.
Will Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple or Opera add native Dart clients to their browsers? It’s unlikely.
Google could create plugins for those platforms but web developers won’t write Dart code until the plugin has a wide installation base. Unfortunately, users won’t install the plugin until compelling applications have been developed using Dart. Catch-22.
Because You Can’t Fight it
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.