Earlier today, Google officially debuted Dart, their new programming language intended to make web development easy by offering a somewhat familiar structure with enough flexibility to open up new possibilities, including the ability to run on "all modern web browsers and environments."

Google's dedicated Dart website features the language spec and preliminary development tools as open source, giving developers a chance to get acquainted with the language during its early development. The site also has code samples and a few tutorials to get you started.

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Lars Bak, a software engineer on the Dart team, describes the new language on Google's code blog as a class-based, optionally typed language, aiming to fulfill the goals of being structured yet flexible, offering a familiar and natural feel for developers, and ensuring that Dart offers a high standard of performance on "all modern web browsers and environments ranging from small handheld devices to server-side execution."

The code blog goes on to explain that Dart has the ability to be implemented on a native virtual machine, or through a compiler that translates it to JavaScript, allowing the language to fulfill its goal of running on each and every modern browser. No Dart virtual machine is yet available for Chrome, but Google "plan[s] to explore this option."

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While Dart sounds great, many are questioning whether Google will be able to maintain another programming language on top of its various other open source projects, including Go. It seems, however, that tending to Dart would be in Google's best interest - by essentially offering the ability to simplify JavaScript coding, Google may be hoping to encourage more expedient web app development. This, in turn, would help the viability of Google's Chromebooks, which rely totally on web apps.

Additionally, Dart has the potential to allow for apps coded for cross-platform implementation, allowing developers to create apps that work not only on the web, but on Android and other mobile platforms as well. In the end, only time will tell whether Dart proves to be a major player in the future of the web, but its debut is the first step in testing the waters for yet another new coding language.

Source: Google Code Blog