If you’re not into blog posts that state the blindingly obvious, skip this one. It explains why Google’s whole Dart idea will fail miserably as a “structured language for web programming.” Most people will have already figured this out by themselves, but for those few who haven’t, here’s why:
That’s it, really; there’s little else to say. Still, since a blog post is supposed to be longer than two paragraphs, I’ll say a bit more.
(I wish I could be more precise here, but feature/basic phone OS breakdowns are notoriously hard to get, so I’ll leave it at “far more than half.” About 25-30% of all mobile devices are smartphones, and they all have a browser. Of the remainder many will also have a browser. I guess. I’m especially thinking of S40 and Opera Mini.)
Google wants to create a new language for the web. That idea will have to be accepted by all other browser vendors. Nowadays that doesn’t just mean Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, and Opera, but also Nokia, Samsung, RIM, and a host of minor ones. Why would they do as Google tells them?
Google Chrome, the only browser that’s slated to support Dart in the near future, now has about 24% of the desktop market. Its desktop share is on the rise, but the desktop market as a whole is losing ground to mobile.
Then again, Chrome will be ported to Android in the medium term, and Android has about 20% of the mobile browsing market, though I expect that share to drop because most Android vendors will switch to another OS somewhere in the first half of next year.
Too many variables. Let’s say Chrome has 20% of the browser market. Thus Dart serves 20% of the worldwide market.
Remember VBScript, the language supported only by IE? At a certain point IE had 85% of the market, and still VBScript languished. Dart will suffer the same fate, only much faster.
From the announcement speech; at 9:13:
So in order to de-fragment mobile you first fragment it even further by adding yet another programming language?
Besides, how fragmented is mobile, precisely? If you want to write native apps it’s extremely fragmented, but Dart isn’t going to help there. No hint of a rumour about doing native development in Dart.
If you want to create web apps, though, you just create a web app and reach about 2 billion users. Sure, these users will use all kinds of different browsers, some of which will fail to render the app properly, or don’t support some features.
But never mind that. Let’s pretend that using Dart to de-fragment mobile makes sense.
Why isn’t there an Android version? Why wasn’t it announced for desktop and Android straight away? If your aim is to address mobile fragmentation it would have been nice to actually mention a mobile platform Dart’s going to run on, wouldn’t it?
Enter the usual boring complaints: no classes, no other syntactic sugar, no nothing. Just powerful functions and object literals — but those don’t count because Java doesn’t have them. Only Java features count for determining whether a programming language is good or not.
This post sums it up (and it’s the best Dart breakdown I’ve found so far):
I don’t want that silly, ugly, badly designed
What about it?
Then why do you demand the same, only in reverse?
I’ll be around at the following conferences: