Fly my pretties!

Dart SDK 1.0 is here, and it’s on a quest to slay JavaScript

Lucy Carey

Google unleashes the language it hopes will conquer the web app building world.

Google’s intention to
build a front-end development language for building web apps was
first made public two years ago. Today, it was announced at Belgium
based Devoxx that Dart SDK 1.0 had finally been upgraded from test
version to production-ready option for web developers.

Since the project’s inception, there’s been one
question dogging the Dart dev team: outside of big G towers, will
anyone bother to pick this language up? Even at today’s event,
judging from the Twitter buzz, a ropey looking conference salad
appeared to be generating an equal, if not greater, buzz on the

According to Google, “The Dart SDK 1.0 includes
everything you need to write structured web applications: a simple
yet powerful programming language, robust tools, and comprehensive
core libraries.” What the promo materials often fail to mention is
that Dart’s aim is to replace JavaScript in rich web applications –
the type where an MVC JavaScript framework might currently be

At the moment, it’s only supported in an experimental
build of Chrome, but can compile to JavaScript to
accommodate current browsers
. Eventually, the Dart team hope to
add a Dart VM to the regular Chrome build. It’s very early days
however, and it’ll be a while before its success can be effectively

The team claim that Dart “can help make your development
workflow simpler, faster, and more scalable” when it comes to large
web apps.

Google are doing their utmost to get people on board.
Bundled up in Dart SDK is
everything the first timer needs to get going, including the Dart
Editor, a code editor, and IDE for the Dart language.

The team behind this newly minted language have
certainly set their ambitions high. They hope that, one day, in the
not too distant future, Dart will
run everywhere
; from browsers and servers to smartphones.

Akin to JavaScript
, Dart uses conventional classes and
interfaces for object-oriented facilities. Its syntax is high
redolent of C, making it not off-puttingly alien. It allows static
types to be added and optionally enforced, but its default is
dynamic typing. This allows developers to more tightly honeycomb
and monitor applications as they grow.

It’s got a host of other useful tools too, such as
method cascades for easy modification of objects, and named
arguments to improve readability and discoverability. Much of the
functionality of popular JavaScript library jQuery has also been

In spite of Google’s big plans for Dart, it’s got over
a decade of JavaScript legacy to contend with. Cobbled together by
NetScape in the mid-nineties, JavaScript is hugely ubiquitous. Even
if vendors wanted to suddenly decamp en masse to this sleek new
language, it would take a good few years for the transition to be

Still, if you want to have a poke around with this box
fresh language, Dart SDK 1.0 is available on the official page. To date, Google’s
seen teams from Blossom,
Montage, Soundtrap and Mandrill put it into production. And,
according to Lars Bak, Software Engineer and Chief Dartisan,
companies such as
,, and JetBrains have started to
add Dart support to their products.

The other thing to remember: this isn’t just some
humble lone-dev-in-the-attic project. This is fricking Google. The
guys who were revealed to have captured
81% of the smartphone market
with their iOS bothering system.
Dart may have just left the starting blocks, but we’d bet you a
KitKat that this is one language set to rocket up the popularity

Image by License vidalia_11

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