Sun Feb 06 2022

Exploring Dart: Advantages and Benefits Over JavaScript

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Exploring Dart: Advantages and Benefits Over JavaScript

Writing a web app can be lots of fun,especially at the beginning when you experience instant gratification: code, reload, repeat.

Unfortunately, finishing and maintaining a web app are not so fun. JavaScript is great for small scripts, and it has the performance chops to run large apps. But when a script evolves into a large web app, debugging and modifying that app can be a nightmare, especially when you have a large team. This problem being solved by Dart

Understanding Dart

Dart is a open source project by Google that aims to enable developers to build more complex, highly performant apps for the modern web, server and mobile applications, and for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is a general-purpose object-oriented, class defined, single inheritance language using C# style syntax that transcompiles optionally into JavaScript. It supports interfaces, mixins, abstract classes, reified generics, and optional typing.

Using the Dart language, you can quickly write prototypes that evolve rapidly, and you also have access to advanced tools, reliable libraries, and good software engineering techniques.

Even though Dart is young, it already has tools such as -

  • Dartboard - which lets you write and run Dart code in your browser,
  • Dart Editor - which lets you create, modify, and run Dart apps.
  • Dart-to-JavaScript compiler - which produces JavaScript that you can put in any modern browser)and a Dart Virtual Machine. The latest tool to become available isa build of the Chromium browser, nicknamed Dartium, that contains a built-in Dart VM.

Features of Dart

1. Sound Null Safety

Dart introduced sound null safety, a groundbreaking feature that minimizes null reference exceptions. It ensures type safety by distinguishing nullable and non-nullable types at compile time, enhancing code reliability and reducing unexpected runtime errors.

2. Strong Typing

Dart is a statically typed language, allowing developers to catch errors during compile time rather than runtime. With strong typing, developers can write safer and more maintainable code, promoting better code quality and reducing bugs.

3. Asynchronous Programming Support

Dart provides native support for asynchronous programming, simplifying the handling of asynchronous operations. Features like async/await facilitate smooth execution of non-blocking code, improving app responsiveness and efficiency.

4. Just-In-Time (JIT) and Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) Compilation

Dart supports both JIT and AOT compilation. JIT compilation enables fast development cycles with features like hot reload, while AOT compilation ensures optimized performance for production by generating machine code ahead of time.

5. Flutter Framework Integration

Dart serves as the primary language for Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications. The seamless integration of Dart with Flutter enables rapid development and deployment of visually appealing, high-performance cross-platform apps.

6. Strong Tooling and Development Environment

Dart boasts a rich set of development tools and robust IDE support. Tools like DartPad, IntelliJ IDEA, and Visual Studio Code offer features for code completion, refactoring, and debugging, enhancing the development experience.

7. Isolates for Concurrency

Dart utilizes isolates for concurrency, allowing applications to perform multiple tasks simultaneously without blocking the main execution thread. This feature enhances scalability and performance by leveraging multi-core processors efficiently.

8. Expressive and Clean Syntax

Dart features an expressive and clean syntax that is easy to read and write. Its familiarity to developers from various programming backgrounds makes it accessible, facilitating quicker adoption and reducing the learning curve.

Advantages of Dart Over JavaScript

  1. Performance and Speed: Dart's Just-In-Time (JIT) and Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compilation strategies optimize performance. This results in faster execution and efficient resource utilization compared to JavaScript.
  2. Strongly Typed Language: Dart is a statically typed language, allowing developers to catch errors at compile-time rather than runtime, leading to more reliable code and easier debugging.
  3. Built-in Threading Support: Dart supports isolates, which are lightweight concurrent threads that help in handling multiple tasks without blocking the main execution thread, enhancing scalability and performance.
  4. Easy Learning Curve: Dart's syntax is familiar to developers with experience in languages like C++, Java, or JavaScript. Its readability and consistency contribute to a smoother learning curve.
  5. Single Codebase for Web and Mobile: Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase, uses Dart as its primary language, offering seamless cross-platform development.
  6. Static Analysis and Tooling: Dart comes with strong tooling support and a comprehensive set of development tools that assist in static analysis, code completion, and refactoring, aiding developers in writing cleaner and more maintainable code.
  7. Growing Community and Support: While JavaScript has a larger community due to its longer history, Dart's community is growing steadily. With the backing of Google and adoption in frameworks like Flutter, Dart continues to gain traction.

Conclusion

Dart presents itself as a powerful and modern alternative to JavaScript, offering performance, scalability, and a developer-friendly environment. Its advantages over JavaScript, especially in terms of performance optimization, strong typing, and cross-platform development with Flutter, make it an appealing choice for modern web and app development.

While JavaScript remains a dominant language in web development, Dart's unique features and growing ecosystem position it as a promising contender, particularly for projects that demand high performance and a consistent development experience across platforms.

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