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9/9/2011
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Google To Unveil Dart Programming Language

Coming in October, Dart has something to do with structured Web programming. But will anyone use it?

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At the GOTO developers conference in October, Google engineers plan to provide details about a newly created programming language.

The conference organizers perhaps overstate the importance of the event: "The whole world will be on alert when Google presents a new programming language 'Dart' in the opening keynote..."

If a global moment of silence isn't observed, at least a few developers can be expected to take an interest.

Google declined to provide any details other than, "one of our tech leads and software engineers will be unveiling more about Dart in early October."

Present at the unveiling will be Lars Bak, a Google engineer noted for his work on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine and for his experience with virtual machines. Bak holds more than a dozen patents, mainly from the years he worked for Sun.

Gilad Bracha, a Google engineer, creator of the Newspeak programming language, and veteran of SAP Labs, Cadence, and Sun, will also be there.

Dart, not to be confused with DoubleClick's DART for Publishers or other projects or groups with the same name, is described as a language for structured Web programming. While the specific merits of Dart won't be known for a few weeks, Bracha's description of Newspeak probably offers some guide as to the benefits of Dart.

Noting that while programmers need no justification to create new programming languages other than the desire to do some task better, Bracha wrote that two factors prompted Newspeak. One was the continuing evolution of the Internet, and the other was the emergence of multicore processing.

More hints can be derived from Bracha's blog posts, one of which suggests dissatisfaction with JavaScript. "JavaScript remains a seriously limited language for platform implementation," he wrote in March.

So perhaps Dart will be something like Node.js without the deficiencies of JavaScript, something suited for both client and server code, something that works on the Web and offline, tuned to Google's notion of scale and multiprocessing.

However, introducing a new programming language doesn't mean anyone will use it. Google has introduced two: Simple, in July 2009, and Go, in November 2009. While Google uses Go internally to a limited extent and has added Go support to App Engine, Simple appears to have languished. The Simple blog has not been updated since the language was introduced.

According to Tiobe's index, Go is the 24th most popular programming language at the moment, while Simple isn't among the top 100.

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