JavaScript is on the height of its popularity, we all know JavaScript is in the fields of cross-platform mobile application development and server-side development. Node.js framework can be used for both frontend and backend development, thus JavaScript became highly popular among web developers. The rise of React Native by Facebook, also mobile app developers also moved towards JavaScript. This made JavaScript the most popular programming language to this day.

Google created the Flutter framework as an alternative to JavaScript or React Native for cross-platform mobile application development. Now the questions arise why did Google choose Dart over JavaScript or other programming languages for its mobile SDK

What is JavaScript

JavaScript the language for rendering web pages. However, JavaScript later extended its arm to server-side, non-browser and mobile application development. JavaScript supports both OOPS and functional programming style. Being dynamic in nature, it doesn’t require compilation of the code at the client-side. JavaScript has its own package managers like NPM. When Facebook launched the React & the React Native frameworks for web and mobile application development, JavaScript became the most preferred and popular programming language at this moment of time. Nevertheless, there are mixed opinions about JavaScript among developers.

what is Dart

Dart is a programming language that was initially used internally at Google to build web and mobile applications. Dart was unveiled during Oct 2011. Dart compiles the source code similarly to other programming languages like JavaScript but the standalone Dart SDK is shipped with a Dart VM. Unlike other programming languages, Dart has its own package manager called pub. I feel Dart started getting more attention in 2017 when Google officially announced Flutter beta for cross-platform mobile app development. since then the popularity of Dart has drastically increased, mobile developers are eager to adopt Flutter, but they have a learn Dart to get started. However, developers that have experience with OOPS languages can learn Dart easily.

JavaScript vs Dart Comparison

JavaScript has been around longer in the industry and is a mature and stable language.JavaScript is very easy to use. It has numerous frameworks and libraries available online, so developers can use the existing code for developing apps faster. However, in order to learn the JavaScript syntax, we need to have a basic technical knowledge of programming in general.

Dart is a fairly new language for most of the developers outside of Google. Although Google has put a lot of effort into documenting the Dart programming language, it’s still hard for developers to find solutions for specific problems. In terms of coding style and syntax, it has Java-like syntax, so developers from OOPS background can master and use Dart easily once they learn the basics.

At the moment, JavaScript is everywhere. There is no device in the world that doesn’t run JavaScript. There are many companies that are using JavaScript frameworks for developing web and mobile applications. JavaScript can also be used for writing server-side applications and backends, so more and more developers have got hooked on JavaScript as a language during their career.

Before Google announced Flutter, Dart was nowhere to be found. However, since the announcement of Flutter in Google I/O, Dart has got drastic attention among mobile developers as an alternative to React Native. The developers who didn’t like JavaScript as the programming language found Dart as an alternative option. As big companies like Google, Alibaba, etc adopted Flutter, the popularity of Dart raised considerably, but it’s not near as popular as JavaScript. JavaScript has countless frameworks and new JavaScript frameworks land in the market almost every year. As there is a need for developers to share and distribute code, there are thousands of JS packages available online. With the use of an existing package and experience of the developers, it’s easy for new developers to learn and adopt the JavaScript programming language. As JavaScript is a fast, lightweight and dynamic programming language, it boosts developer productivity. Solutions to common problems can be found online easily, which is another reason that developers prefer JavaScript over other programming languages. Although JavaScript has countless libraries and frameworks available, not all of them are equally good. Also, new JavaScript frameworks are released after a regular interval, so the developers constantly need to learn new frameworks, which hinders their productivity.

Dart has great documentation, but new or even experienced developers can get confused with the Dart language features. The Dart syntax is clean and mostly looks similar to Java, so developers with Java background can pick up the code syntax easily. However, developers may struggle a lot to find solutions to the problems in Dart. There is a comparatively small community and some online groups for Dart and Flutter, see the list here.

Learning curve

Learning JavaScript is not an easy task for non-programmers, but knowing the basic programming concepts makes JavaScript easy to learn. There are lots of online courses and tutorials out there for the developers who wish to learn JavaScript.

Learning Dart can be daunting task for beginners as Dart is not a commonly used programming language and there are very limited courses or books available online for the Dart programming language. However, Google has extensive documentation of Dart on its official website, which helps programmers from other OOPS languages to pick up the Dart concepts easily. Some of its syntaxes might be unusual and come as a surprise, but with a little bit of practice, developers will soon feel comfortable with Dart.

Speed

JavaScript is an interpreted language, so it might feel lighter and faster. It’s actually faster than other compiled languages like Java. However, Dart proved to be much faster when benchmarked against JavaScript. You can refer to the benchmark of Dart against NodeJS here.

Dart can be compiled both AOT and JIT which helps building apps in several ways as using JIT compilation can speed up development and AOT compilation can be used during the release process for better optimization. This technique has been used in Flutter app development.

Web vs mobile

JavaScript has dominated both mobile and web app development with different frameworks. At one point, with the release of React and React Native from Facebook, JavaScript become a no-brainer for developing web and mobile apps for startups and small businesses. There is a large number of JavaScript frameworks still available in the market for developing web apps, progressive web apps and hybrid mobile apps, e.g Angular, vue.js, etc.

Similarly to JavaScript, Dart can be used for both mobile and web development. Dart became popular along with the Flutter framework for developing cross-platform mobile apps. Dart can be also used for developing web apps, but is actually used for this purpose very rarely. There are some courses and tutorials for developing web apps with Dart for those who would like to give it a try. Nevertheless, as Flutter’s popularity is growing fast, developers are starting to pay attention to Dart. There are also new Dart packages landing in the market. In the end, the future of Dart depends on the success of Flutter.

Editor/IDE support

There are some great IDEs and editors out there for JavaScript development. JavaScript doesn’t always require a full-fledged IDE as developers can use lightweight editors like VIM, Sublime Text, Emacs or Atom. However, there are some IDEs like WebStorm and Visual Studio Code that can work well for JavaScript application development.

Dart code can be also developed with lightweight editors like Sublime or VIM, but there are IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio that come with the Dart plugin and are the most commonly used IDEs for Dart application development, especially for Flutter app development.



MuthuKumaraswamy B

MuthuKumaraswamy B is a technology evangelist, author and a blogger. A result-driven software engineer with 12+ years of experience working across all facets of isomorphic javascript and object-oriented JavaScript (OOJS) Software Development Life Cycle in world-class JavaScript-based systems. A true clean-code advocate, who loves to write about technologies in Mobile and JavaScript and flavours of JavaScript.

Get in Touch

 1551 McCarthy Blvd, #207, Milpitas, CA 95035

 [email protected]

 +1 408 708 9307

Send us a Message

Maximum 200 characters allowed