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Dart (programming language)

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Dart is a general-purpose programming language originally developed by Google and later approved as a standard by Ecma ECMA-408 It is used to build web, server and mobile applications, and for Internet of Things IoT devices It is open-source software under a permissive free software license modified BSD license

Dart is a class-based, single inheritance, object-oriented language with C-style syntax which can optionally transcompile into JavaScript It supports interfaces, mixins, abstract classes, reified generics, and optional typing


  • 1 History
  • 2 Usage
  • 3 Runtime modes
  • 4 Isolates
  • 5 Snapshots
  • 6 Native mobile apps
  • 7 Compiling to JavaScript
  • 8 Editors
    • 81 Chrome Dev Editor
    • 82 DartPad
  • 9 SIMD on the web
  • 10 Example
  • 11 Influences from other languages
  • 12 Criticism
  • 13 See also
  • 14 References
  • 15 Bibliography
  • 16 External links


Dart was unveiled at the GOTO conference in Aarhus, Denmark, October 10–12, 2011 The project was founded by Lars Bak and Kasper Lund


Ecma International has formed technical committee TC52 to work on standardizing Dart, and inasmuch as Dart can be compiled to standard JavaScript, it works effectively in any modern browser Ecma International approved the Dart language specification first edition in July 2014, at its 107th General Assembly, and a second edition in December 2014


There are four main ways to run Dart code:

Compiled as JavaScript To run in mainstream web browsers, Dart relies on a source-to-source compiler to JavaScript According to the project site, Dart was "designed to be easy to write development tools for, well-suited to modern app development, and capable of high-performance implementations" When running Dart code in a web browser the code is precompiled into JavaScript using the dart2js compiler Compiled as JavaScript, Dart code is compatible with all major browsers with no need for browsers to adopt Dart Through optimizing the compiled JavaScript output to avoid expensive checks and operations, code written in Dart can, in some cases, run faster than equivalent code hand-written using JavaScript idioms In the Dartium Browser The Dart software development kit SDK ships with a version of the Chromium web browser modified to include a Dart virtual machine VM This browser can run Dart code directly without compiling to JavaScript It is intended as a development tool for applications written in this language, rather than as a general purpose web browser There were originally plans to include Dart support directly in Chrome, but these were cancelled Stand-alone The Dart SDK also ships with a stand-alone Dart VM, allowing dart code to run in a command-line interface environment As the language tools included in the Dart SDK are written mostly in Dart, the stand-alone Dart VM is a critical part of the SDK These tools include the dart2js compiler, and a package manager suite called pub Dart ships with a complete standard library allowing users to write fully working system apps, such as custom web servers Ahead-of-time compiled Dart code can be AOT-compiled into machine code native instruction sets Apps built with Flutter, a mobile app SDK built with Dart, are deployed to app stores as AOT-compiled Dart code

Runtime modes

Dart programs run in one of two modes In checked mode, which is not the default mode and must be turned on, dynamic type assertions are enabled These type assertions can turn on if static types are provided in the code, and can catch some errors when types do not match For example, if a method is annotated to return a String, but instead returns an integer, the dynamic type assertion will catch this and throw an exception Running in checked mode is recommended for development and testing

Dart programs run by default in production mode, which runs with all dynamic type assertions turned off This is the default mode because it is the fastest way to run a Dart program


To achieve concurrency, Dart uses isolates, which are independent workers that do not share memory, but instead use message passing This is similar to Erlang actors Every Dart program uses at least one isolate, which is the main isolate When compiled to JavaScript, isolates are transformed into Web workers


Snapshots are a core part of the Dart VM Snapshots are files which store objects and other runtime data

Script snapshots

Dart programs can be compiled into snapshot files These files contain all of the program code and dependencies preparsed and ready to execute This allows fast startups

Full snapshots

The Dart core libraries can be compiled into a snapshot file which allows fast loading of the libraries Most standard distributions of the main Dart VM have a prebuilt snapshot for the core libraries which is loaded at runtime

Object snapshots

Dart is a very asynchronous language With this, it uses isolates for concurrency Since these are workers which pass messages, it needs a way to serialize a message This is done using a snapshot, which is generated from a given object, and then this is transferred to another isolate for deserializing

Native mobile apps

Google is working on full Dart stacks for native mobile app development on both Android and iOS

Compiling to JavaScript

The first compiler to generate JavaScript from Dart code was dartc, but it was deprecated The second Dart-to-JavaScript compiler was Frog It was written in Dart, but never implemented the full semantics of the language As of 2015, the third Dart-to-JavaScript compiler is dart2js, from Google An evolution of earlier compilers, it is written in Dart, and intended to implement the full Dart language specification and semantics

On March 28, 2013, the Dart team posted an update on their blog addressing Dart code compiled to JavaScript with the dart2js compiler, stating that it now runs faster than handwritten JavaScript on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine for the DeltaBlue benchmark


On November 18, 2011, Google released Dart Editor, an open-source program based on Eclipse components, for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux-based operating systems The editor supports syntax highlighting, code completion, JavaScript compiling, running web and server Dart applications, and debugging

On August 13, 2012, Google announced the release of an Eclipse plugin for Dart development

On April 18, 2015, Google announced that the Dart Editor would be retired in favor of the JetBrains integrated development environment IDE, which is now the recommended IDE for the language The Dart plugin is available for IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, PhpStorm and WebStorm This plugin supports many features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, analysis, refactoring, debugging, and more Other plugins are available for editors like Sublime Text, Atom, Emacs, Vim and Visual Studio Code

Chrome Dev Editor

It has been known since November 2013 that the Chromium team is working on an open source, Chrome App-based development environment with a reusable library of GUI widgets, codenamed Spark, later renamed as Chrome Dev Editor It is built in Dart, and contains Spark which is powered by Polymer A developer preview version is available in the Chrome Web Store


The Dart team created DartPad at the start of 2015, to provide an easier way to start using Dart It is a fully online editor from which users can experiment with Dart application programming interfaces APIs, and run Dart code It provides syntax highlighting, code analysis, code completion, documentation, and HTML and CSS editing

SIMD on the web

In 2013, John McCutchan announced that he had created a performant interface to single instruction, multiple data SIMD instruction sets for Dart, bringing the benefits of SIMD to web programs for the first time, for users running Google's experimental Dartium browser The interface consists of two types:

  • Float32×4, 4× single precision floating point values
  • Uint32×4, 4× 32-bit unsigned integer values

Instances of these types are immutable and in optimized code are mapped directly to SIMD registers Operations expressed in Dart typically are compiled into one instruction with no overhead This is similar to C and C++ intrinsics Benchmarks for 4×4 matrix multiplication, 3D vertex transformation, and Mandelbrot set visualization show near 400% speedup compared to scalar code written in Dart


A Hello World example:


A function to calculate the nth Fibonacci number:

int fibint n => n > 2 fibn - 1 + fibn - 2 : 1; void main ';

A simple class:

// Import the math library to get access to the sqrt function import 'dart:math' as math; // Create a class for Point class Point // Example of Operator Overloading Point operator +Point other => new Pointx + otherx, y + othery; // All Dart programs start with main void main

Influences from other languages

Dart is a descendant of the ALGOL language family, alongside C, Java, C#, JavaScript, and others

The method cascade syntax, which provides a syntactic shortcut for invoking several methods one after another on the same object, is adopted from Smalltalk

Dart's mixins were influenced by Strongtalk and Ruby

Dart makes use of isolates as a concurrency and security unit when structuring applications The Isolate concept builds upon the Actor model, which is most famously implemented in Erlang

The Mirror API for performing controlled and secure reflection was first proposed in a paper by Gilad Bracha who is a member of the Dart team and David Ungar and originally implemented in Self


Dart initially had a mixed reception and the Dart initiative has been criticized by some for fragmenting the web, due to the original plans to include a Dart VM in Chrome Those plans were dropped to focus instead on compiling Dart to JavaScript

See also

  • Computer programming portal
  • Free software portal
  • CoffeeScript
  • Fantom programming language
  • Go, another language developed by Google
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • Haxe, a language that can be compiled to JavaScript and several other languages
  • Opa programming language
  • Pyjamas software
  • TypeScript
  • AtScript


  1. ^ Kopec, David Dart for Absolute Beginners p 56 ISBN 9781430264828 Retrieved 24 November 2015 
  2. ^ Bak, Lars "Dart: a language for structured web programming" Google Code Blog Google Retrieved 31 January 2016 
  3. ^ "Web Languages and VMs: Fast Code is Always in Fashion V8, Dart - Google I/O 2013" Google Retrieved 22 December 2013 
  4. ^ https://wwwdartlangorg/
  5. ^ https://wwwyoutubecom/watchv=Hx2iGEAvZRk
  6. ^ "Dart, a new programming language for structured web programming", GOTO conference presentation opening keynote, Århus conference, 2011-10-10 
  7. ^ Ladd, Seth "What is Dart" What is Dart O'Reilly Retrieved August 16, 2014 
  8. ^ "TC52 - Dart" Retrieved 2013-12-16 
  9. ^ Anders Thorhauge Sandholm "Dart News & Updates" dartlangorg 
  10. ^ Anders Thorhauge Sandholm "Dart News & Updates" dartlangorg 
  11. ^ "Why", Dart lang FAQ, We designed Dart to be easy to write development tools for, well-suited to modern app development, and capable of high-performance implementations 
  12. ^ "JavaScript as a compilation target: Making it fast" PDF Dartlangorg Retrieved 2013-08-18 
  13. ^ "Dartium" Dartlangorg Retrieved 2013-07-21 
  14. ^ a b Seth Ladd "Dart News & Updates" dartlangorg 
  15. ^ "An Introduction to the dart:io Library" Dartlangorg Retrieved 2013-07-21 
  16. ^ https://flutterio/faq/#how-does-flutter-run-my-code-on-ios Retrieved 2016-10-02  Missing or empty |title= help
  17. ^ Flutter
  18. ^ Ladd, Seth 2013-03-28 "Dart News & Updates: Why dart2js produces faster JavaScript code from Dart" Newsdartlangorg Retrieved 2013-07-21 
  19. ^ "Dart Performance" Dartlangorg Retrieved 2013-07-21 
  20. ^ "Google Releases Dart Editor for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux" 
  21. ^ "Google Release Dart Eclipse Plugin" 
  22. ^ Ladd, Seth 2015-04-30 "The present and future of editors and IDEs for Dart" Dart News & Updates Google Retrieved 2015-05-18 
  23. ^ "JetBrains Plugin Repository : Dart" Pluginsintellijnet Retrieved 2013-07-21 
  24. ^ "Dart Tools" wwwdartlangorg Retrieved 2016-11-15 
  25. ^ Beaufort, François "The chromium team is currently actively working" 
  26. ^ – A Chrome app based development environment "GitHub: Spark" Check |url= value help 
  27. ^ "Chrome Story: Spark, A Chrome App from Google is an IDE for Your Chromebook" 
  28. ^ Ladd, Seth 2015-05-06 "Announcing DartPad: A friction-free way to explore Dart code" Dart News & Updates Google Retrieved 2015-05-18 
  29. ^ "Bringing SIMD to the web via Dart" PDF 
  30. ^ "Algol Family" c2com 
  31. ^ Bracha, Gilad; Griswold, David September 1996 "Extending the Smalltalk Language with Mixins" PDF OOPSLA Workshop OOPSLA 
  32. ^ "The Essence of Google Dart: Building Applications, Snapshots, Isolates" InfoQ 
  33. ^ Bracha, Gilad; Ungar, David 2004 "Mirrors: design principles for meta-level facilities of object-oriented programming languages" PDF ACM SIGPLAN Notices ACM 39 10: 331–344 doi:101145/10352921029004 Retrieved 15 February 2014 


  • Walrath, Kathy; Ladd, Seth March 7, 2012 What is Dart 1st ed O'Reilly Media p 20 ISBN 978-14493-32327 
  • Walrath, Kathy; Ladd, Seth November 7, 2012 Dart: Up and Running 1st ed O'Reilly Media p 144 ISBN 978-1449330897 
  • Buckett, Chris December 28, 2012 Dart in Action 1st ed Manning Publications p 475 ISBN 978-1617290862 

External links

  • Official website
  • Bullseye:Your first Dart App by Seth Ladd and Jaime Wren
  • A Walk on the Dart Side: A Quick Tour of Dart November 2011 — Lecture given at Stanford University by Google software engineer Gilad Bracha video archive, YouTube, transcript
  • Fletch: Experiment for Dart for embedded development
  • The Dartosphere – Aggregation of Dart Language related blogs

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Dart (programming language)

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