Google releases Dart, a new language for the web

Google this morning announced the first public release and open-source availability of a new programming language for the web, called Dart.

Dart is an entirely new language that has been worked on in part by the team that created the V8 JavaScript engine that is used in Google’s Chrome web browser. The language has been designed from the ground up to be familiar to developers who work with programming languages already – it has features such as classes, interfaces and closures that a huge proportion of developers will be familiar with, and the syntax is an amalgamation of the common features of popular languages.

The primary use case for Dart is in the browser, with a compiler that directly translates Dart into JavaScript. Currently Chrome, Safari 5 and Firefox 4 are supported on the client side. It is also possible to run Dart inside a VM on the server, although the use cases for that are as yet not so well defined.

Along with the familiarity and structured approach to Dart, it also maintains some flexibility. Javascript developers will be familiar with its optional non-typed approach, the idea being that young projects can start off untyped and move to a typed structure when the code starts getting bigger and more people need to get involved. Built-in library functionality will enable larger teams to work with code more easily: “We believe Dart will be great for writing large web applications” writes Google’s Lars Bak, a developer on Dart.

Google is releasing this as a language preview – there is still a lot of tooling to be put in place before it becomes widely usable, and a lot of language development is required before developers can look to start using it on larger projects.

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