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Google Releases Dart 1.0

by Zef Hemel on Nov 14, 2013 |

Two years after its initial announcement and preview release, Lars Bak announced the first stable release of Dart at Devvox in Belgium today. Dart is Google’s new web programming language and platform for developing modern web applications.

Dart 1.0 comes with a redesigned website, the Dart VM, Dart2JS (to compile Dart to JavaScript code), an Eclipse-based IDE, and Dartium, a specialized build of Chrome with the Dart VM included.

Over the past two years performance of Dart has improved dramatically. Dart code can run in two ways: either using the native Dart VM, which in the past year beat the JVM in certain benchmarks. For browsers that do not support Dart natively (currently no production browsers do), Dart code can be compiled to JavaScript using the dart2js tool. Recently, certain benchmarks dart2js generated JavaScript surpasses hand-written JavaScript code. In addition, the size of generated JavaScript code has been dramatically reduced:

Similarly, dart2js output code size has been reduced substantially. The generated JavaScript for the game Pop, Pop, Win! is now 40% smaller than it was a year ago. Performance of the VM continues to improve as well; it’s now between 42% to 130% faster than idiomatic JavaScript running in V8, depending on the benchmark.

In its announcement blog post the team also revealed the names of some companies already using Dart in production. InfoQ spoke to the people of Blossom earlier this year, who are gradually porting their application to Dart. Other users of Dart include Montage, Soundtrap, Mandrill, and Google’s internal CRM application as well as Google Elections

A lot is also happening on the Dart library front. Dart Pub, its package repository now contains 500 user contributed packages. Google is also porting some of its own frameworks, inculding a Dart port of its popular AngularJS framework named Angular.dart and a port of Polymer, its web components shim library.

Dart is now officially declared stable and production ready. Dart 1.0 is free and open source, and can be downloaded from its website for all major platforms. The refreshed website contains a 5 minute walk-through of Dart, as well as an hour-long tutorial.

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