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Google’s poison Dart – Weapon or defence?

JamesTrew
Dart

More like Java than expected – just some of the comments about Google’s new killer Dart

Yesterday Google announced its new programming language – Dart, something that will be of interest to the Java world for potentially a number of reasons. Firstly, because it’s a programming language, and what to coders like more than another language. Perhaps it solves their development issue, or maybe it gives them another reason to stand by their language of choice, either way, we all love a new platform, whether we think we do or not.

Dart is also of interest to the Java crowd because of deeper implications. Currently Google are in the midst of legal wrangles with Oracle, due to alleged patent infringements by Android. After the official Dart presentation, many prominent voices are commenting on how much more like Java than JavaScript the new language is. Coincidence? Would it be reckless to imagine that Android and Dart have a closely related future? 

Above everything else, the big question is, will Dart be useful to you and your project? It is upon this question that the success of the whole project lies, as if there are no users, no development groups, no communities formed, then nothing can come of it.

Google claims that the main purpose of Dart is to:

  • 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.

And it seems that they have had the foresight to get this working with major browsers from the off (Chrome, Safari 5+ and Firefox 4+) a wise decision if they want to stand any chance of fostering interest. At the moment Dart is working in current browsers by being compiled into JavaScript, but expect native browser support to start creeping in soon. 

Mobile is a big area for Google right now, and it will be interesting to see how this gets adopted by the mobile coding community. If however Google do start edging towards a Dart powered Android solution, then – much like when they bought Motorola – they might start alienating the establishment. Java Mobile will further struggle to get a foothold, and this will give developers an unwelcome choice.

Has anyone had chance to study Dart with a critical eye in relation to their own projects yet?

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