Google Targets JavaScript with Dart

Google today pulled the wraps off an "early preview" of its Dart programming language. Dart is squarely aimed at providing an alternative to JavaScript, which has become the "lingua franca" for developers of web applications, but a nettle to Google.

From Google's point of view, JavaScript is just too flawed to keep up with the demand for robust applications on the Web and to cope with competition from proprietary alternatives like Apple's iOS. "Building delightful applications on the Web today is far too difficult," Google research scientist Mark S. Miller notes in an internal memo written in November of last year. "The cyclone of innovation is increasingly moving off the Web onto iOS and other closed platforms."

"Javascript has been a part of the Web platform since its infancy, but the Web has begun to outgrow it," he adds.

Miller maintains that programmers developing Web applications have to write more and more JavaScript code just to work around deficiencies in the language. What's more, JavaScript has become a real obstacle to large-scale app developers like Google because it can't be tooled and it has inherent performance problems.

"The Web has succeeded historically to some extent in spite of the Web platform, based primarily on the strength of its reach," he contends. "The emergence of compelling alternative platforms like iOS has meant that the Web platform must compete on its merits, not just its reach." 

"Javascript as it exists today will likely not be a viable solution long-term," he predicts. "Something must change."