Google plays catch-up with Node.js

Dart goes server-side with mod_dart Apache module


Dart’s server-side ambitions were given a big boost over the weekend with the release of mod_dart, a module that embeds the Dart VM directly into Apache

With the rise of Node.js over the last few years, “server-side JavaScript” has become something of a buzzword (buzzphrase?). While Node’s key selling-point is its focus on asynchronous, event-driven architecture, there’s also something undeniably neat about having your client-side and server-side code written in the same language, readable (if not fully debuggable) by any JavaScript dev on your team.

With this in mind, it’s not really surprising that Dart, Google’s well-publicised challenger to JavaScript, has taken a few steps into the server-side arena — the dart:io library contains a number of functions essential for building web services, and these are illustrated by some simple examples. These tentative first steps were given a big boost over the weekend with the release of mod_dart, a module that embeds the Dart virtual machine directly into Apache HTTP Server.

“Today [i.e. Saturday], Sam McCall announced mod_dart: the ability to run Dart apps embedded in Apache”, writes Seth Ladd on the Dart blog. “Just like PHP, Perl, Python, and many other scripting languages, you can now use Dart to power your server-side web apps from inside the Apache web server.”

Binaries aren’t yet available, but anyone familiar with the build process for the Dart VM can go ahead and roll their own — instructions for Mac and Linux are here. McCall warns that the module is “[h]ighly experimental, probably broken and insecure”, but what else would you expect from a shiny new Dart add-on? The language itself is still in its early stages, and it doesn’t look like Google’s ambitions for total web domination are going to be fulfilled any time soon.

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