Chapter 1. What is Dart?

Dart is a new language developed by Google that’s getting attention in web app circles. We asked Kathy Walrath and Seth Ladd, members of Google’s developer relations team, to explain Dart’s purpose and its applications.

Writing a web app can be lots of fun, especially at the beginning when you experience instant gratification: code, reload, repeat.

Unfortunately, finishing and maintaining a web app are not so fun. JavaScript is great for small scripts, and it has the performance chops to run large apps. But when a script evolves into a large web app, debugging and modifying that app can be a nightmare, especially when you have a large team.

Enter Dart, an open-source project that aims to enable developers to build more complex, highly performant apps for the modern web. Using the Dart language, you can quickly write prototypes that evolve rapidly, and you also have access to advanced tools, reliable libraries, and good software engineering techniques.

Even though Dart is young, it already has tools such as Dartboard (which lets you write and run Dart code in your browser) and Dart Editor (which lets you create, modify, and run Dart apps). A recently released SDK contains command-line tools such as a Dart-to-JavaScript compiler (which produces JavaScript that you can put in any modern browser) and a Dart Virtual Machine (the VM, which lets you run Dart code on servers). The latest tool to become available is a build of the Chromium browser, nicknamed Dartium ...

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