Thursday, April 30, 2015

The present and future of editors and IDEs for Dart

When we started the Dart project in 2011, we challenged ourselves to deliver a structured and lightweight language that can be supported with productive editors and tools. To bootstrap the tooling ecosystem for Dart, we built Dart Editor to explore how to make Dart developers productive with code completion, source navigation, and static analysis.

Today, there are more editing and IDE options for a Dart developer than ever before. Developers are using a range of command-line tools, text editors, and full IDEs that support Dart. In what comes as no surprise, we've found that developers have very strong affinities to their particular editors, and that one size does not fit all. We've also learned that many developers are outgrowing Dart Editor, as they require source control support, plugins, extended customizability, and more.

To that end, we've shifted our strategy from focusing on a single Java-based editor, to focusing on low-level tools, the Dart Analysis Server, and plugins for editors. We are retiring Dart Editor at the Dart 1.11 release. WebStorm is the preferred IDE experience for Dart, and the Eclipse plugin for Dart will continue to be supported.

WebStorm and IntelliJ are full-featured IDEs, and both ship with the Dart plugin. The Dart plugin uses the Dart Analysis Server for its errors, warnings, quick fixes, and more. JetBrains editors have a robust plugin ecosystem, strong support for numerous languages and libraries, and are very customizable. Learn more about the various WebStorm editions and licenses, or download a WebStorm trial.

The Dart plugin for Sublime has strong community support, and is great for developers looking for a lightweight text editing experience for Dart. It now displays real-time errors and warnings from the Dart Analysis Server. It also supports numerous build commands (for dart2js, pub, etc.), syntax highlighting, and more.

We built DartPad for developers that want a friction-free introduction to the Dart language and libraries. DartPad, also based on the Dart Analysis Server, is perfect for dabbling in Dart, sharing snippets, answering Dart questions on StackOverflow, and exploring Dart APIs.

Another option is the Eclipse plugin for Dart, which we continue to support. The Eclipse plugin, which currently shares most of its code with Dart Editor, is powered by the Dart Analysis Server.

Server-side Dart developers can use Observatory for profiling, debugging, insights, and more. Observatory isn't an editor or IDE, but its real-time VM stats and debugger are a great complement to your editor.

The tooling ecosystem for Dart has come a long way. Stay productive!