Thursday, November 8, 2012

TodoMVC Now Has Dart Port

A Dart port of TodoMVC is now available thanks to a community contribution from Mathieu Lorber. Mathieu built the app using only the Dart SDK, so it's a good chance to see vanilla Dart in action. You can use the running app or browse the code.



We asked Mathieu about his experience working with Dart, and he shares some of his thoughts:


Q: How did you hear about Dart?

First time ? The famous leaked memo ;). As a user interface developer I am pretty interested by all technologies running in the browser. And I like a lot the Dart model (run in a dedicated VM or compile it to JS). I believe it's a good strategy to evolve. The browser is the "new" runtime, but good runtimes support several languages and I do not understand why the browser should only accept one. Moreover, the compilation step for web apps is relevant for a lot of reasons (optimizations, resources concatenation...).

Q: Was this the first Dart code that you wrote?

I played with the samples provided with the SDK, but making this TodoMVC sample was also the opportunity to make a "real thing" with Dart. I wasn't initially sure to submit the sample to the official project.

Q: How did you like porting TodoMVC?

It was very pleasant. Once the main concepts of Dart understood, the language is easy to use. For a Java/JS developer, a lot of things come naturally. And I think the final implementation stays very clear and simple. I personally find it simpler to read than the Vanilla JS one.

Q: What parts of Dart did you find useful or interesting?

One of the first issue I had was about templating. The multi-line concatenation and variable interpolation made a simple and elegant solution.  Combined with the query() method, creating and adding behaviour to a HTML element is pretty easy. The "on" keyword for event handlers is pleasant too. For the rest, if you are a C-syntax languages / object oriented developer, you can not get lost.

Q: What was challenging about this experience?

I wanted to take advantage of Dart features to make a component design which stays simple, and minimize DOM operations. TodoMVC is initially a project to compare MVC frameworks, this Dart sample is a Vanilla Dart example ; I tried not to think as a Vanilla JS developer, nor as a GWT one.

Q: What would you like to see Dart do in the future?

The code would have been even simpler if I could extend Element, and use "native" custom events. As a GWT developer, I missed a component model. But I understand the language part, not the "framework" part, is the priority ; I am impatient because of Dart's potential. By the way, I am going to try Hipster MVC as soon as possible!

Thanks Mathieu!

You can start using Dart by getting Dart Editor, visiting dartlang.org, and we encourage you to ask questions at Stack Overflow.