I’ve just discovered what Dart’s about by watching Bob Nystrom’s video – Dart’s plan to make it easier for you to build web apps.

In a nutshell:

  • new language, can run on its own VM or be compiled to JavaScript
  • VM available for Chromium, compile to JS for use in other browsers
  • can debug the source Dart code in Chromium (as opposed to generated JS)
  • many nice language features, similar to JS but without many of the nastiness
    • lambda functions
    • proper scope, no hoisting
    • Java-style class declarations, but optional – everything doesn’t have to be in a class
    • avoids need for future proofing boilerplate – get functions have same syntax as variable access
  • new DOM API
  • dynamic, like JS, but with some optional static features at compile time e.g. optional types – that are enforced
  • leads to much better tool support – Dart Editor IDE
    • all the warnings, code navigation, refactoring support etc. you’re used to in IDEs such as Eclipse
  • Tree shaking – the compiled code only includes the parts of libraries that you actually use – a sort of linker
    • no need to avoid using that useful library just to avoid adding to page load time

It looks very promising to me and I look forward to experimenting with it soon.

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