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Google shoots Dart at JavaScript

It's really not a JavaScript killer, insists author

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Google has previewed what could be a JavaScript killer while denying the new language is designed to rid the internet of JavaScript.

Two of the Google engineers behind Dart unveiled the search giant's new language at the opening of the Goto Conference in Denmark on Monday.

Dart has been built by Google's language experts to overcome what the company feels are "fundamental flaws" in JavaScript. According to a purportedly leaked Google email, the company hopes Dart will one day become the lingua franca of web development.

Google believes JavaScript is problematic for the job of building the sorts of complex web apps that the Chocolate Factory likes.

The problem is the lack of tools and people relying on a variety of libraries.

At least one of the people mentioned by name in that email, though, has distanced himself from the communication. Chrome Frame developer Alex Russell called it a draft that "doesn't reflect either the reality of what has happened in the meantime or even the decisions that were taken as a result".

Dart team software engineer Lars Bak on Monday kept up the JavaScript-friendly line.

"The competition is not JavaScript ... We're up against the fragmented mobile platforms," Bak is reported to have said on a live blog of the presentation here.

The Dart syntax is a mix of JavaScript and Scala, and can be compiled to JavaScript or run on a virtual machine, which can provide instant startup of a web app.

"You can write a web application in Dart and have it compiled and run on any modern browser. The Dart VM is not currently integrated in Chrome but we plan to explore this option," Bak said.

Dart is still not as fast as optimised JavaScript on the V8 engine used in Google's Chrome browser, Bak said on Monday morning. Dart runs in a single thread and is class-based.

Bak is reported to have listed "the bad parts of the web" Dart hopes to target: the development of large-scale applications, lack of static types, no support for libraries, weak tools' support, and poor startup performance.

You can read more here and here. ®

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