Google launches Dart, a JavaScript alternative

Earlier this month, Google unveiled a new programming language for the web named “Dart,” aimed at being a replacement for JavaScript. Dart’s purpose is to offer better performance, easier scaling, and more security than Java or JavaScript through a familiar and natural language construct that is easy to learn.

Dart addresses some of the limitations of JavaScript, especially in terms of new static types, better object-oriented support, and a language that is highly optimized for mobile devices.

According to a leaked internal memo, Google programmers designed Dart “to replace JavaScript as the lingua franca of Web development.” The same memo describes how JavaScript has become a bottleneck for evolution and that the best approach was simply to start a new language from scratch.

Currently Dart code can only be executed from a virtual machine or on top of a JavaScript engine by using a compiler to translate Dart code to JavaScript. Google, however, does have plans to have Dart supported natively by Google Chrome and is also working with other browser developers to integrate a built-in Dart engine.

It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of Dart by the development community. As with all other attempts from Google to introduce new standards (like the recent WebP image format), I have to admit that I am very skeptical. What is your take on Dart – is it something you plan on investigating further or using?