InfoWorld interview: Why Google Dart beats JavaScript

Although some call Dart a JavaScript killer, lead engineer says it brings discipline needed to create large-scale JavaScript apps

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InfoWorld: Do you really think Dart can displace JavaScript or supplement it? What kind of impact do you think it's really going to have?

Bak: I think it will have a great impact if you write big applications because you get more structure. It's hard to predict what kind of impact because whether programming languages are accepted has a lot to do with taste and if people like it, basically, and that's really hard to predict. We have to make sure that we can display what we have, and we have good implementations of it so people can try it out and if they like it, I'm pretty sure it will be adopted. There's been, of course, language experts who have been questioning some of the design decisions, but most programmers -- mainstream Web programmers -- have been fairly positive toward it. Everything has been open source, so that's a very liberal license. You can just take it and use it without any restrictions. It's a BSD license.

InfoWorld: What is the difference between Google Dart and Google Go?

Bak: Google Go is a systems programming language, which is useful for back-end services, whereas the Dart language is used more for the client side. And one way to make that difference very clear is that Dart is also a scripting language, so the Dart VM will read any source code directly and execute it without any sort of apparent compilation process. Whereas if you use Go, you will have to compile it just like if you program it in C or C++.

InfoWorld: What is the status of Dart at this point?

Bak: It's a technology preview. We wanted to get the language out very early on. There's a draft of the language specification, that and a translator from Dart to JavaScript, and there is a Dart virtual machine available. And [recently] we also put in a programming environment, so you can have a nice tool for trying out Dart. It will take months before we have something ready that can be used for serious development, but we think it's very important to get it out early so we get feedback and can change the language and the implementation accordingly.

InfoWorld: What is the client platform support for Dart?

Bak: If you translate it to JavaScript, it should run in all modern browsers. I think if you're talking about the Dart virtual machine; it has been developed already, so it runs on a variety of operating systems.

InfoWorld: Is Dart is going to be applicable to Android programming?

Bak: Not right now it's not. Right now it's only out in this open source repository, and it's not integrated into Android at this point.

InfoWorld: So it might be in the future?

Bak: We hope that a lot of platforms will take our basic technology and integrate it. It's a little bit like when we did the V8 JavaScript engine. We put it out in open source and several companies picked it up and used it for their products. We hope the same will happen with Dart.

InfoWorld: Is there anything else you wanted to say about Google Dart?

Bak: Well, as part of the preview, if you go to the open source repository, we have an interesting app -- a newsreader called Swarm, which is composed of 15,000 lines of Dart. We have that running both on the VM and translated to JavaScript. That's an example of code where it works beautifully either if you run on top of an existing browser or if you use the Dart VM.

This story, "InfoWorld interview: Why Google Dart beats JavaScript," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in programming at For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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