Dart loses key browser interest

Microsoft shoots down Google Dart and targets improved JavaScript

Chris Mayer
Dart

Has Google alienated too many potential allies already?

Since Google banded about the concept of Dart – its aim to
eliminate JavaScript shortcomings for Web application developers –

the hackles of many luminaries
were raised within the community
with their brash stance. And it seems Microsoft have also turned
their back on Google’s intentions.

On Microsoft’s
Internet Explorer Weblog
, the Javascript team outlined
their stance clearly – opting to support Javascript in the future
and carry on the continous evolution of the language that has been
around for more than a decade.

Five members of Microsoft JavaScript team dismissed Dart’s
claims that Javascript had outstayed its welcome:

Some examples, like Dart, portend that JavaScript has
fundamental flaws and to support these scenarios requires a “clean
break” from JavaScript in both syntax and runtime. We disagree with
this point of view.

We believe that with committee participant focus, the standards
runtime can be expanded and the syntactic features necessary to
support JavaScript at scale can be built upon the existing
JavaScript standard.

The team also revealed new reference implementations in order to
achieve a much more functional JavaScript in the future. These
included a few prototype object and libary helpers to test out in
sample Web pages.

Math String Number
cosh, sinh, tanh
acosh, asinh, atanh
log2, log10, log1p, expm1
sign
trunc
startsWith, endsWith
contains
repeat
toArray
reverse
isFinite
isNaN
isInteger
toInteger
 
Number Format Date Format Collator
format ( number ) format ( date ) compare ( x , y )

 

Dart’s heavy-handed approach isn’t
exactly unexpected but is possibly naive, given that to really
challenge JavaScript in the future, they’ll need the backing of
major browsers and this vote of no-confidence from Microsoft could
be an early stumbling block in the long run .

Project Leader Lars Bak said back in
September around the launch of Dart that 

“It’s not going to replace
JavaScript…JavaScript is a cornerstone of the Web today, and it
will continue to be for a long, long time.”

But he also didn’t deny Google’s big
ambitions in a leaked memo to
knocking JavaScript off its perch. Google should realise however
that JavaScript got onto that perch by colloboration rather than
restrained relationship with others in the space. An in-house
strategy just won’t persuade vendors to switch over from an already
established language for web developement.

Dart’s ultimate goals are 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. 

It’s beginning to feel like a long road ahead. Today’s news may
come as a hammerblow to Dart’s attempts to get a foothold in an
already crowded place but JavaScript only got into its position
from 15 years of hard graft through colloboration with others. It’s
certainly a gamble trying to become the next-generation language
for web application development. Perhaps a reassessment is
needed?

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