Dart 2 Released With New Mobile Focus
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 09 August 2018

Dart 2 is now available as a stable release having undergone a complete rewrite. The open source language has been redesigned to focus on mobile and Web client-side applications.

The language has been in pre-release preview for the last eight months since Google first revealed the rewritten version. Dart was originally created as an alternative to JavaScript that would be supported directly by browsers rather than being compiled to JavaScript. Google did release a version of Chrome supporting it, but other browsers never added support so Dart fell from favor. In view of this, the developers of Dart said in 2015 that Dart wouldn't be included in future versions of Chrome, and would instead be developed as a better compiler.

The rewritten version is strongly typed by default, class based, and treats functions as objects. The stronger type support includes runtime checks to identify any type errors such as mismatched or incorrectly labeled types. Mike James described Dart 2 back when the beta was revealed as resulting from taking modern JavaScript - say ES2015 - and adding a true hierarchical type system to it, and with a chance of being used in the mobile app world.

Flutter uses Dart 2 as its language and it can create apps for iOS and Android using widgets for either Android or iOS. Flutter is Google’s mobile app SDK that can be used to create native interfaces on iOS and Android. A C++ engine takes your Dart code and runs it under either Android or iOS. Skia, Google's C++ graphics system that is used in Chrome and other Google apps, is used to provide a uniform graphics API which isolates the app from the differences in the actual graphics API the app runs under.

All this means the combination of Dart and Flutter makes it easier to write apps that work on Android and iOS. What remains to be seen is whether developers decide to use the combination to create apps. It would be more convincing if Google had an obvious reason for wanting yet another language and yet another way to create mobile apps. It is also disturbing that Dart can be completely revamped with so little apparent trauma.  Our advice is to still keep watching what happens and see if there is a long term future for Dart and Flutter.





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Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 August 2018 )