Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Google's Dart Language and Smalltalk

The Google Dart language failed to deliver what the Smalltalk community hoped for. The community wanted a Smalltalk variant with only optional typing added, but that was too optimistic.

Gilad Bracha, one of the creators of Dart, writes this about the Smalltalk community and its hopes for Dart:

As I watched the pre-launch speculation about Dart in the Smalltalk community, I knew that disappointment would follow. That's inevitable given the amount of wishful thinking involved. And the wishful thinking is natural too, but it is very much divorced from what we can do in reality.
Read the full post here.

The designers of Dart try too hard to please people using C-style languages. Dart has a C-like syntax, it does not use keyword messages, and it misses class extensions. They also include the Switch statement; not a good sign when you design a new language.
But Dart has many elements borrowed from Smalltalk. Therefore I expect it will be easier to learn Dart than JavaScript for the average Smalltalk programmer.

Right now my main interest is whether the Dart virtual machine (VM) can host other languages better than JavaScript does. Could this new VM make it easier to run Amber Smalltalk in the browser?


dg said...

Likewise disappointed here. You might find this discussion in the dart group interesting.


Conrad Taylor said...

I would recommend taking a look at Amber Smalltalk at http://amber-lang.net/