Wirfs-Brock preaches Harmony
Unlike many new languages that are born and quickly die or fade into obscurity, Dart is alive. Test versions of Chromium, the open-source browser that feeds into Google's Chrome, appeared in February featuring a Dart Virtual Machine capable of running programs built using the language.
"What browser manufacturers have you heard show interest in Dart," Wirfs-Brock asked The Reg slipping in to rhetorical-question mode at QCon. Er, nobody.
In fact, Dart in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari would be a major technology coup; Chrome is the biggest and arguably strongest growing rival to browsers from Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple both on terms of project roadmap. Such an inclusion would show technology leadership by Google in an important and sensitive area of web development and performance. Microsoft's only just come around to full HTML.
"What would it take to motivate all the major browser implementations to implement Dart in timely enough manor to have any impact," Wirfs-Brock continued.
Google does have scale on its size. It has a browser that's at least growing, unlike others, and it's the owner of influential web real estate from ads and search to email, docs and video. Arguably, all Google needs to do is sit still and let the web come to it.
Next page: Sweet harmony
Shades of VBScript
Microsoft used to be at the receiving end of a good kicking for pulling this crap with Internet Explorer. They'd shove in extensions into HTML and CSS as well as new tech VBScript, ActiveX, VML etc. in order to pollute the web and tie it to their own browser.
And now we see Google doing the same with the likes of Dart, PNacl, WebM and so on. They should be receiving an equally large kicking for what they are up to.
The excuse that some of the tech is open source doesn't really cut it either since it will still result in Chrome being the reference implementation and other browsers playing continual catchup. There are perfectly good standards bodies that Google can submit to if they want to see their tech adopted without shoving out some half baked standard and expecting others to jump when they say so.
Re: Reinventing the wheel
Java - because Sun and then Oracle really messed up by locking the language down to the extent that no-one can really leverage it for a client platform well. If you think MS were alone on this, witness Dalvik and android.
C# - because its from MS, basically. Not that I have an inherent bias against MS technology and certainly C# is what Java would be if Sun had bothered to continue developing it, but because the rest of the planet doesn't necessarily hold this view.
Re: Shades of VBScript
Except that Dart cross-compiles to JS. So, you don't really have to implement everything twice. If the Dart VM does end up being significantly faster than JS, then, there might be a significant win in getting the performance benefit where Dart is available.
No ripping of JS out of Chrome required. Either JS VMs catch up in performance, or eventually other browsers adopt Dart because it really is faster and then don't want web apps to suck on their browser compared to chrome.