Google throws Dart language over to GitHub

Strategy changes raise questions about future plans for Dart

Google has moved Dart, its rival to JavaScript, to GitHub, with the stated intent of making it easier to work with the Dart community.

Developers can contribute to the language at Dart's GitHub page. "The Dart SDK now has its own repository, joining the numerous Dart tools and packages already in our GitHub org [repository]. We've moved all the SDK issues over (keeping the original issue numbers), and now points to GitHub's issue tracker for the Dart SDK," said Seth Ladd, Google Chrome developer advocate, in a recent blog post

Dart, which compiles to JavaScript, has had its work cut out for it competing with not only the ubiquitous JavaScript, but other JavaScript alternatives, such as CoffeeScript and TypeScript. An analyst, however, views Google's moving Dart to GitHub as not necessarily a setback or a concession by Google. "It could just as easily signify that they want more external committers and need a commons to enable it," analyst Jeffrey Hammond, of Forrester Research, said in an email. "Before thinking of this as a 'drop and run' exercise, I'd watch the ongoing level of commits from Google email addresses to the project through something over the next few months. If check-ins lag, then I'd be concerned.

In another eyebrow-raising move, Google in March revealed that it no longer had ambitions to integrate the Dart VM into the Chrome browser. Instead, Dart will be focused on compiling to JavaScript.

Ladd advises that working on individual Dart packages -- such as args, which provide a command line parsing library, or http, which is an API for making HTTP requests -- can provide the easiest ways to contribute to Dart. "We hope our move to GitHub helps more Dartisans become active participants in the future of Dart," he said. Dart was launched in October 2011.

This story, "Google throws Dart language over to GitHub" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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