Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

According to this Wikipedia article, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, and others criticize Dart, a programming language Google introduced to work in web browsers, because they feel "it seems harmful (cf. VBScript in IE)".

But Dart also compiles to Javascript, so a web application written in Dart can run on any modern browser. So are their concerns valid? Can Dart really be a threat to the web's openness?

share|improve this question
Please do not repost the same question, if your question was closed you can edit it, bring it to shape and ask for it to be re-opened (via a flag for moderation attention). Now since this is a far better version of your question, I'll delete the old one, but usually if you repost a question we close it as a duplicate of the earlier one. – Yannis Jun 9 '12 at 9:13
Sorry about that. My old question wasn't closed, I voted to close it because I wanted to try again. – Hassan Jun 9 '12 at 9:20
The "Dart compiles to Javascript" thing isn't as cool as it sounds. The compiled code is far from optimal. OK for testing, bad for debugging or performance. Dart needs native support to soar. (Compare CoffeeScript, which compiles to JavaScript 1:1) – Kos Jun 9 '12 at 10:28
@Hassan, Dart is harder to compile to JS because its semantics are quite different (especially compared to CoffeeScript, which is essentially local syntactic sugar for JS), but our expectation is that we will be able to compile Dart to JavaScript that is as small and fast as the hand-written JS you would have written to solve the same problem. – munificent Jun 10 '12 at 3:55
@Kos, the team is working hard to get the compiled JS faster and smaller. While we expect the native VM to give a speed boost to Dart apps, there's also a productivity benefit developers gains from using the Dart language and tools. That is, a native VM isn't the only way Dart can soar, but it definitely helps. – Seth Ladd Jun 11 '12 at 18:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Dart doesn't threaten the open web.

There isn't one browser dominating the market right now so web developers can't afford having their site work well in one browser only. Even if Chrome has an optimized Dart VM it wouldn't make sense for a website to depend on it given the current browser landscape.

I don't see Dart being adopted outright by other browser vendors but it may have an impact on future web standards. For instance if JavaScript ever gets class based OO perhaps Dart can serve as an inspiration for the standard.

It's okay for vendors to introduce non-standard features once in a while. If Netscape and Microsoft didn't try a bunch of crazy things in the early days the web wouldn’t be the same today. (think JavaScript and XMLHttpRequest)

On a side note I don't think Dart is a particularly cool language. But it's still better than translating Java to JavaScript as Google is doing with GWT.

share|improve this answer
Out of curiosity, why don't you think Dart is a particularly cool language? – Hassan Jun 9 '12 at 8:08
Also, does that mean GWT isn't used / is obsolete now? – Hassan Jun 9 '12 at 8:09
@AlexandreJasmin "less of an impedance mismatch" -- come on, what does that even mean?! That's not a real reason at all, it's just fluff. The fact is GWT successfully translates Java to JavaScript in all cases and thus provides developers with a choice. I've never understood what's not to like about it. And also like Hassan I don't understand why you're referring to it in the past tense. – funkybro Jun 9 '12 at 9:13
@funkybro Also I didn't want to imply that GWT can't translate Java to JavaScript in all cases. Just that it's not the most effective solution in all cases. Sorry for the bad wording. I think in a green field client side web project Java may not be the best option. But that's just my personal opinion. – Alexandre Jasmin Jun 9 '12 at 9:31
@Hassan When I say that Dart isn't particularly cool I don't mean it's not useful. Just not hip. Or daring in language design. It was designed intentionally this way. Cooler languages might include Clojure or Gilad Bracha (who also works on Dart) other language Newspeak. Anyways don't read too much into the last paragraph. I won't go into more details about my language preferences here. The question was whether Dart would harm the web or not (at least it was before someone edited the title ;) and I've answered that already. – Alexandre Jasmin Jun 9 '12 at 10:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.