Dart Programming Language: Why do I love it?

Dart Programming Language: Why do I love it?

There are several options when it comes to programming languages, and deciding which one to use entails a lot of considerations. Choosing the right programming languages is half the problem done, some may choose Java, some prefer Python, while some others stick to C, depending on what they want the end result to be. In certain scenarios, there is some amount of developer freedom when it comes to programming languages and frameworks.

Dart is one such programming language that developers vouch for. In this article, we will be discussing Dart, a programming language developed by Google developers in 2011.

What is Dart?

Dart is a high-level, interpreted programming language that lets you build mobile, server, desktop and web applications. Some people even consider it to be an alternative solution to Javascript. Though the first version of Dart was available by mid-autumn, its popularity grew when Flutter (ideal choice for many for cross-platform development) was released in 2017.

A major difference that Dart has from other programming languages is that it comes with its own package manager known as Pub; developers can use these packages to build Dart and Flutter apps.

If you’ve heard of Dart, but still not sure about its key benefits, read on:

1. Easy to learn language

Dart is a fairly easy language to learn, and Google developers have put in a tremendous effort in the documentation part. With its Java-like syntax, developers with OOPS background can quickly plunge into programming if they know the basics. Dart also allows for easy editing as they can test small sections of code even if the complete application is not ready yet. Dart is fairly easy to grasp, modern, functional, flexible and competitive. The ecosystem is simple, understanding the terminologies, the proper tools and SDKs for the language is easy, and accessing the frameworks and libraries is easier. If a developer is familiar with any programming language, not just necessarily an OOP language, they can intuitively start using Dart.

2. Comes with good documentation

Developers find that Dart is a good first programming language to learn because it has an excellent introduction and very good documentation. Getting started is also easy; just type the Dartpad url, and you can get started. More and more people have switched to Dart, thanks to its simple syntax, excellent community support, easy features that guides developers when they are in the training process.

3. High performance factor

Applications run in Dart run faster than in other programming languages. And features like JIT compilation and AOT compilation add to the performance feature of Dart. JIT compilation or Just in Time compilation helps you to enable hot reloads, while AOT or Ahead of Time compilation helps with fast startup and better execution of the app.

4. Dart syntax is clean

Dart looks almost similar to Java as it has clean syntax. So developers can pick up the code easily, but there is a chance they could get confused with many Dart language features.

5. Excellent tooling support

The programming language has incredible tools to support app development.

While looking at the advantages, you must be aware of the drawbacks as well, so as to help make a wiser decision.

6. Can compile to self-contained snapshots

This feature is possible with other languages, but it is fast and simple with Dart. The Dart scripts can compile to self-contained snapshots on its own, i.e without requiring any other programs or libraries

7. Can write the first program without installation or configuration

Dart comes with DartPad, a very simple interface, eliminating the need of installation or configuration. Just write the code, and click on Run command to execute the code. There is support for libraries, but it’s restricted to basic level.

8. A good support for the programmer

Programmers can opt to treat Dart as an ordinary, dynamically typed language, especially if they do not want to deal with type systems at all. So Dart is an optionally typed language. Developers can also benefit from the extra documentation that comes along with the type annotations in the code. Dart alerts the programmers about possible type inconsistencies and oversights and not errors. These alerts are calibrated to support the developers.

9. More type-safe than Javascript

If you compare Dart with Javascript, the former has a few advantages in certain aspects. For example, Javascript is not a type-safe language. It is only during the run-time, will you see the programming errors. On the other hand, Dart supports both strong and loose prototyping, where you can see the programming errors during compilation. So it is more type-safe than JS.

10. Dart is portable

There is no need for any specific hardware configurations or architecture for running Dart, as it functions on any operating system and in all web browsers.

Tools that integrate with Dart:

  • Dart Webdev — This is a framework for building web apps
  • Angular Dart — Acts as an alternative to WebDev
  • Aqueduct — Is a multi-threaded server-side framework
  • Flutter — Google’s Cross-platform mobile UI framework

Familiarize yourself with some risks as well

There are some disadvantages to Dart that you must be aware of:

The Dart is still developing

That’s not exactly a risk, but it is important that you know that things won’t be documented correctly and there is a chance the API will change at any time.

Absence of native support

In order to see the complete demo of Dart’s capabilities, the developers have to bring it to users’ browsers for lack of browser support. So they have to provide native support for all the browsers they are targeting the application to work.

It is not easy to find a Dart programmer sometimes

Since Dart is a fairly new program, there aren’t many developers around, yet. So if you look for a Dart programmer, or a job that requires such a programmer, you may find the search to be hard.

So, Dart wasn’t as popular as React Native until Flutter was introduced. When Flutter became popular, Dart also became popular, almost as popular as React Native. And this combination is used by big brands like Google Ads, BMW, Tencent, Groupon, eBay etc. A good choice when businesses need to make cross-platform apps, perfect for startups, small projects, big brands, etc.

With Dart in the picture, you can write a web client, mobile app and backend in the same language, database applications and scripting and all the things you love about Java and C#. There are some stark differences between Dart and C#, but it is a favourite choice among developers, as it is a multi-platform, general purpose language.

Backed by Google, Dart is a good choice for command-line applications, is scalable across projects, amazingly similar to Javascript. Though a simple language, Dart has enough features to build complex applications as well, using modern paradigms. So if you are planning to use both Flutter and Dart in building your applications, it would be a good choice.

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Tushar Khatri

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