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Dart 1.17 is out: Performance boosts offer stability and speed

Gabriela Motroc
Dart 1.17

Success hitting target aim image via Shutterstock

Dart 1.17 has just been released. This time the team chose to focus on bringing more performance improvements to the table. Dart is moving full steam ahead and collects users’ praises with each new release.

Dart 1.17 can now be downloaded. The team’s goal was to make sure Dart is “even more productive for developers,” which is why they have optimized their core tools deal with large applications and have seen significant improvement over the last two releases. One of the strengths of Dart 1.17 is the increased stability of Dartium; the speed of the Dart Analyzer has been improved by over 200 percent on large codebases. Plus, Dartium startup time on large applications at Google has improved by a factor of 4.

This release also contains several smaller changes to core SDK APIs.

Why Dart can become the answer

Jeff Walker famously blogged about Dart’s problems two years ago, but a lost has changed since then. In Dart 1.15 the team updated Dartium to Chrome 45 from Chrome 39. In Dart 1.16, they updated the browser APIs – dart:html, dart:svg, etc. – to align with these changes. Plus, they optimized how Dartium loads applications, improving the time it takes to open an application up to 40 percent. They also continued to invest in faster code analysis and quicker JavaScript compile times.

Walker highlighted the special interop library that exposes wrapped versions of any JavaScript objects you access. While it enables Dart to “safely sandbox JavaScript away and prevent its problems from leaking into a Dart application”, Walker claimed this tends to ‘silo’ you into the specific platform that you’re working with:

Currently, many new and exciting JavaScript libraries are being released and the Dart platform is immature and hasn’t had time to fill out with all the options a developer might want. Being siloed into the Dart platform will be a very high price to pay to avoid the JavaScript minefield.

Despite Walker’s negative review, there are at least five reasons for using Dart. Here is the list.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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