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Friday, February 3, 2012

Developers: Before Throwing Darts At Dart, Consider This...

It's easy to throw "darts" at Google's nascent computer language from the comfy worlds of javascript, java, phython, .net, or whatever your favorite language is.

I get it.

You can look at the Dart spec and the roadmap and easily say "Nothing new here." (not true), or  "Nothing compelling enough for me to switch from my favorite language."

I get that too.  But there's one problem:  You're missing the point.

Dart Is An Opportunity For You

First of all, if you look at computer languages through a religious lens, then you should stop reading now, because nothing will convince you otherwise.  If however, you view computer languages as tools, and your focus is applying the right tools to the right jobs, then read on!

The point is Dart is a huge opportunity for you, yes YOU, to actually help shape the future of a new computer language; a language with the goal to unify client-side and server-side development, and to better enable rich, immersive applications for the Web.

Google has made the entire project open source.  You can submit patches directly to the project (following the guidelines) and your code may be accepted.  I know this has happened already on at least one occasion.

Google has opened a communication channel on many fronts, giving you access to the team who are actually writing the code.  This level of access is nearly unprecedented for projects of this scale.  In fact, as far as I can tell, the entire Dart team is involved in this discourse.  On several occasions, I've seen Gilad Bracha (he is writing the Dart specification) personally respond to feedback.

The Dart team provides a bug submission page, and they actively use it!  If you submit a bug, you can be sure that it will be evaluated.  Feature enhancements can be submitted there too.

The Dart team has made very early versions of the entire tool-set available for evaluation.  Out of the box, you already get a multi-platform IDE, a package manager (called "pub"), and an SDK, and the language spec is only at v0.10!

Don't expect every great idea you have ever had for a language to be accepted without scrutiny, however.  Do expect that you'll be engaged in a constructive dialog, and you can be sure that your comments will be, at the very least, carefully considered.

How To Engage
Before you submit suggestions or ideas, please do the read up to see if the topic hasn't been brought up before.  If you aren't sure, speak up anyway - it's OK.


  1. Dart is finally a huge step forward from the web which was blocked by M$icrosoft for 10 years. Why? Because of monopoly of IE no improvements was made in browsers and web standards until Firefox gained notable share. Whit Dart there is a chance to get decent programming language.

  2. I don't have enough information to comment on your "monopoly" point of view, but I am very happy to see the landscape open up in recent years. Competition, in this sense, is a good thing for everyone.

    1. Well if MS hadn't dicked about with Java back in the day, we may already have had a language "to unify client-side and server-side development" in Java - with a Java VM instead of Javascript being the browser application runtime, and spared the tens of thousands of unmaintainable lines Javascript out in the wild.