Dart 2.6 Adds Native Linux Support
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Google's Dart has increased support for native, ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation for Linux, Windows and MacOS. The extra support comes from an extension of Dart's existing compiler set called dart2native, which can be used to create command-line programs.

Dart is described as a client-optimized language for fast apps on any platform. It began life as an alternative to JavaScript that would be supported directly by browsers, but when this didn't work out it was redeveloped as a better compiler.

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Previous versions of Dart had already included various compilers designed to target a wide range of form factors, including Flutter apps on Android & iOS, the web and desktop, as well as AngularDart apps on the web, and Google Assistant on embedded devices.

The addition of dart2native in Dart 2.6 adds the ability to compile Dart programs to self-contained executables containing ahead-of-time-compiled machine code. With dart2native, you can create tools for the command line on macOS, Windows, or Linux using Dart. The advantage this offers is that because the executables created with it are self-contained, they can run on machines that don’t have the Dart SDK installed. And because they’re compiled with Dart’s AOT compiler, the executables start running in just a few milliseconds.

Other changes to the new release include a new version of dart:ffi, now in beta,  that has a number of breaking API changes to make Dart's APIs easier to use, provide more type safety, and to provide convenient access to memory.

Dart 2.6 also contains a preview of extension methods to provide a similar degree of functionality to that offered by scoped static extension methods in C# and Kotlin. The developers say they are still working on this feature, and hope to formally launch it in the next Dart SDK version.

 

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 November 2019 )