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Google Moves Dart to GitHub and Kills the Chrome Dev Editor

| by Abel Avram Follow 12 Followers on Jun 04, 2015. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Google designed Dart as a better language for the web, for developers who wanted a more solid language and tools than what existed in the JavaScript ecosystem. Also, they aimed for better performance. While Dart is certainly more robust and better designed than JavaScript and it outperforms JavaScript on several benchmarks, the language has seen several setbacks.

Google announced in March they would no longer push the Dart VM for the browser, but instead focus on compiling Dart to JavaScript. The reason mentioned was developers’ desire to have “better integration with JavaScript, and they need an easier way to debug and optimize their apps across all modern browsers” (emphasis added). Developers need to make web apps run on all major browsers, and the developing, testing and debugging process is desirable to be uniform across all these platforms. This made them avoid the Dart VM. And the VM for web got sidetracked. But the Dart team has not completely forsaken the Dart VM, continuing their “strong investment in Dart VM for server, embedded, and mobile.”

Another setback was the development termination of the Dart Editor, Google recommending using DartPad to play with Dart and WebStorm for actual development. And Google has just announced stopping development on Chrome Dev Editor, a JavaScript and Dart editor. This probably has to do with Google’s orientation towards IntelliJ IDEs, they also making the switch from Eclipse to Studio for Android. Related to this, Devon Carew, Software Engineer at Google, remarked: “The Dart team is doubling down on IntelliJ on the IDE side, and investing in adding infrastructure that can help all IDEs and development environments - specifically the analysis server.” This may also indicate that Chrome is losing some of its strategic importance, perhaps because it has not managed to become the default browser on the web and the competitors are catching up in terms of features and performance, including the upcoming Microsoft Edge.

Dart has been in competition with TypeScript, the later providing an easier path for JavaScript developers. And TypeScript is gaining ground. Even the AngularJS team rallied with Microsoft which in turn added annotations to the language.

Now Google has decided to move Dart to GitHub including the entire SDK, the VM, dart2js and various libraries. Will this step make the language more attractive to developers? It remains to be seen. One thing is sure: fighting inertia is hard sometimes. While many have complained about JavaScript’s shortcomings, and while Google has invested heavily in a language that is clearly superior, the fact that there are multiple browsers out there and developers’ familiarity with JavaScript seem to have an impact on Dart’s adoption. And many are taking the easier migration path, which TypeScript is providing.

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hm .. by Rüdiger Möller

all over a sudden abandonning projects after having pushed them hard seems to be a typical google pattern. Midterm this will lead to reluctant adaption of google provided technologies among the software industry

It remains to be seen. by Andrew Mezoni

Now Google has decided to move Dart to GitHub including the entire SDK, the VM, dart2js and various libraries. Will this step make the language more attractive to developers? It remains to be seen.

Probably not.
Attractiveness of some software projects not in that where they resides.
Mostly this depends on that (if some project owned by someone) how this project are positioned by the owner to the other potential customers.

Re: hm .. by Paul Topping

I think it reflects the fact that Google has so much cash it can afford to push a lot of things hard. Inevitably, some fail to gain traction. Unless you have adopted something they've just abandoned, they should be applauded for at least trying things out rather than sitting on a pile of cash and doing nothing with it. Apple?

This particular decision seems to acknowledge that cross-browser adoption of asm.js is at hand which means compiling to JavaScript is going to be a good path for implementing many programming languages. It may end up being the universal code generator.

Finally, it also may represent a signal that Microsoft's TypeScript has won the battle for best better-JavaScript language.

Re: hm .. by Andrew Mezoni

>> Unless you have adopted something they've just abandoned

The most amazing thing is that all these "Google was abandoned" are taken with a delight in the Dart community. At least by Dart members which are loyal to Google.
They always find arguments to explain it in a positive manner.
They always say: Some project was abandoned? It is better for all of us because now developers will be able to focus on new features.

Re: hm .. by Andrew Mezoni

>> Finally, it also may represent a signal that Microsoft's TypeScript has won the battle for best better-JavaScript language.

A possible rationale could be the following:
- Microsoft TypeScript is an ENHANCEMENT of JavaScript language
- Google Dart is a REPLACEMENT of JavaScript language

I think that this explains a lot (if not all).

Now when Google (and others) decided that it is not feasible to replace JavaScript language on a lingua franca of the web (Dart language) from the web the platform of the same name (which already not a platform) then they (Google) decided to change their attitude to the project (by phasing out the development of related projects).

When Google moved Dart to GitHub then it send a lot of spam messages. by Andrew Mezoni

I received more than 200 messages from DartBot about that my issues was moved on Github.
I did not agree to receive these messages. Who, how and why from Google has decided that they have a rights to send to me these 228 messages just because Dart was moved to GitHub?

Re: hm .. by Paul Topping

I agree. It is hard to justify the existence of a new language even if it is a well-designed one. There are a lot of new languages out there now. I suspect most are well-designed but none have any truly breakthrough, must-have features. And whatever good design elements these new languages contribute can usually be added to some more mainstream language.

Re: hm .. by Paul Matencio

Google does not abandon Dart but only Dart VM for browser. Why should Google continue if no other browsers will support it. However for server, mobile and embedded system, Dart is much faster than JavaScript, more modern and cleaner than Java.

Chrome Dev Editor is just a code editor written in Dart and Polymer. intelliJ IDE can replace both DART editor and CDE. I have been using CDE and it is far to be completed. However I will miss the DART editor.

Re: hm .. by Paul Matencio

Google did not abandon DART but just DART VM for browser. Why do you read that Google is killing DART?

Re: hm .. by weq qew

Dart lost. Get over it google fanboys. Javascript fanboys have way more pull. Open sourcing this is simply a last ditch effort to gain more fanboys "but but its OS now, we arent like MS, we swear!". MS has way more experience at converting people to new lanugauges, and Typescript shows this perfectly. Dont anlienate the fanboys with the most pull, and certainly in the days of the "modern browser" that is Universal Javscript pushers.

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