Google Dart does Docker, but will developers follow?

Google Dart adopts Docker images, but the language's biggest problem remains: Developer uptake, not ease of deployment

Credit: jonrussell via Flickr

Google's Dart remains a curious project. Ostensibly, it's a long-term replacement for JavaScript as a cross-platform language, but it hasn't seen the uptake or demand it would need for that achievement. Still, Google forges ahead with its latest wrinkle: not a new revision or runtime, but a helping of everyone's favorite new devops and IT tool, Docker.

In a post on the Dartlang.org blog, software engineer Søren Gjesse reports Dart is now available as a set of ready-to-deploy Docker images: a base image with the Dart SDK, a runtime, and an application that features a simple HTTP server written in Dart. Google also offers a similar set of Docker images for Node.js, Python, and Go to be used with Google App Engine, but these Dart images can be used anywhere Docker is available.

This move hints at Dart's potential as more a server-side solution and less a client-side technology. Earlier notes about Dart discussed improvements in server performance, for instance. But Google's Go language has already made significant inroads with developers who are creating distributed and server-side applications, leaving less mind share for Dart to go around.

Also, one of server-side JavaScript's biggest boons is the massive library of software already written for it, thanks to the NPM repository. Dart has little in the way of software reuse so far. Dart's plunge into the Docker ecosystem might aid that in the long run, but only in that it'll make any applications already written in Dart easier to deploy.

If developers have their pick of languages to create Docker-ized apps, they'll more likely go with an established winner than an upstart whose use case is open to question. Still, as far as Docker goes, it's encouraging to see the software container system used as a tool for the adoption of other developing technologies apart from itself.

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