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Is Google missing the mark with Dart?

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Chrome programmers punted the new language at the Google I/O event earlier this month, claiming faster speeds, simpler structures and superior potential for future improvements as reasons to be excited for the new language.

Lars Bak and Kaspar Lund, both programmers of V8 and Dart at Google, believe JavaScript's complex engine and highly modular and occasionally unproductive use of resources, coupled with V8's fast growing 500 000 lines of code, means getting any extra speed out of the Web's go-to language will be difficult.

"We question whether it's possible to get a factor of two [speedup] in V8 in the near term," Bak said in his talk at Google I/O, an impressive target, but one they don't believe can be achieved without Dart.

Continuing to build a case for their project, Bak and Lund explained how Dart could display 125 rendered monsters at 60 frames per second, while JavaScript could only manage 34. JavaScript's methodology often leads to the duplication of data and code, as instructions must be defined per element.

Dart, contrasts Bak, permits a processor technique known as SIMD (single instruction, multiple data), which allows for a chip to perform the same action on multiple elements, rather than in a sequence of identical commands.

"The ultimate goal is to get Dart into Chrome. I hope you all agree," said Bak, showing results from both the Richards and Deltablue benchmarks (both significant to the industry) that demonstrate Dart's impressive performance against JavaScript.

However, Mozilla and Microsoft, developers of Chrome's top competitors, have resisted Google's efforts to drum up support, and even the audience at the evangelical Google event only managed a single "woo hoo", reports CNET.


Critics have said Google should "put [its] money where [its] mouth is" and make the new offering integral to Android, if it wants people to take the language seriously, and many are sceptical it will end up as "another Google Reader".

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