It seems like new programming languages are coming out all the time. Some of these languages are highly specialized and difficult to learn – meaning that they are likely to be of interest only to a very small set of programmers. But when an industry heavyweight like Google puts out a new language, and that language is meant to compete with (or perhaps even eventually replace) one of the most well-established client side programming languages out there, it's worth taking at least a look to see what that new language is all about.

Late in 2011, Google introduced its “Dart” programming language. Meant to evolve into a replacement for JavaScript, the Dart language itself resembles a combination of the existing JavaScript and Scala programming languages. So how much time and attention should you devote to this new language?

Dart Programming Language Logo

Ease of Learning

Much of the Dart syntax resembles JavaScript, so experienced JavaScript developers are likely to have little difficulty in getting started. These small differences in syntax will require that any programmer familiar with JavaScript keep the two languages straight, but the similarities mean that many developers won't have to start completely from scratch.

Browser Support

Unfortunately, only certain builds the Chromium browser are able to support Dart natively. Makers of the other major browsers (including Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera) do not support Dart, and have stated that they have no current plans to add such support. While there are several tools available to compile scripts written in Dart into JavaScript, this simply begs the question of whether a developer’s time would be better spent learning Dart (only to compile into JavaScript) or on other areas of a given project.

Critical Mass?

Many developers would argue that any weaknesses in JavaScript (either real or perceived) are well known and easily dealt with. JavaScript is so well established that it’s common for a developer to be able to find and repurpose preexisting code to suit whatever project requirements there may be facing. Since there is such a well developed code base and a well established user base, new developers are drawn to the language and they will (eventually) contribute their own pieces of script into the collective In other words, there is a critical mass of support for JavaScript, but no similar critical mass yet for Dart.

The bottom line is that it is still probably a little too early to spend much time trying to learn the ins and outs of the Dart programming language. Unfortunately, without significant browser support it might take a long time before there is enough of a reason to start learning Dart, unless you simply enjoy the process of learning a new programming language.


Image: Dart Logo

Categories : Web Development, Programming
Tags : Dart, Google

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Author : Blue Cloud

Just a normal software developer who love to write code. Developing professional software since 1999. After working in the software industry for many years, I've started my own website to share knowledges and experiences.

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