Dartium: Google’s New Dart Programming Language Comes to Chromium


It's only been a few months since Google announced its new Dart programming language. While the language is still going through some major revisions, though, Chromium, the open-source project behind Google's Chrome browser, is now starting to integrate Dart into its platform with the release of "Dartium" version of the browser for Mac and Linux.  It will likely take a while before Dart finds its way into mainstream Chrome releases, but the team also today announced that the long-term plan is to include the Dart virtual machine in Chrome.

While Google also offers the ability to compile Dart programs to JavaScript, which is supported in every modern browser, a native virtual machine makes executing applications written in Dart faster.

Google designed Dart to be a flexible programming language for the web that would be fast, easy to learn for programmers and work across all major modern browsers. There has been quite some interest for Dart in the developer community, though the language is obviously still too immature to be used in a production environment. Other browser developers, who are worried about fragmentation and adding support for yet another language to their software, haven't shown a lot of interest in adding support for Dart.



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Dart: Google’s New Programming Language is Coming Next Month


Next month, at the Goto software development conference in Aarhus Denmark, Google is scheduled to reveal Dart, its new programming language for “structured web programming.” Just a few days ago, Google registered a number of Dart-related domain names, so it was already clear that the company had something in the works for this. The announcement of a Dart-focused keynote at Goto marks the first public announcement of this new language.

“Structured Web Programming”

Obviously, we don’t know a lot about Dart yet. Given that Google already launched another language – Go – that is very C-like, we can safely assume that Dart will be something different. We can get some clues from the biographies of the keynote presenters: the two people who are giving the keynote are Gilad Bracha, who worked on Smalltalk in the middle of the 1990s and then on the specs and implementation of Java at Sun, and Lars Bak, who works on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine today, but also worked on Smalltalk and Java.

As ExtremeTech’s Sebastian Anthony rightly notes, given the two presenters’ background and the idea that this will be a language for “structured web programming,” chances are that the two will present a “Smalltalkesque” in-browser language similar to JavaScript or Python.

So far, Google’s attempt at launching new programming languages hasn’t been met with a huge success. Go, while stirring some interesting among some programmers, has remained a niche product and Dart – if it is indeed the kind of language I expect it to be – will go up against incumbents that are supported by massive ecosystems already. The same, however, could have been said about those languages when they first appeared, so it will definitely be worth keeping an eye on this next month.

Image credit: Jake Sutton

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