Gentle introduction to Dart with Gilad Bracha

Learning new languages has recently become quite an entertaining mental exercise to me. I’ve never been good at math, and moderately dismissed all the lectures about language designs and principles of lambda calculus or such during my CS studies, and it’s been only recently when I found it very enjoyable.

When my youngest son was born almost 11 weeks ago now, the idea of listening to screencasts and watching videos from miscellaneous conferences and meetings crossed my mind. There’s not much to do when taking a walk with him, after all. He sleeps all the time, and so the same places in an urban forest can easily turn themselves into boring ones.

And it all began a couple of weeks ago. It quickly became a daily habit and with a usual 2-hour walk I can listen to a bunch of recordings. That makes my day and everybody’s happy – my wife, my son, my other kids and me. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend time giving so much pleasure to the whole family.

The pile of recordings to watch and listen grows, however I’d greatly appreciate any pointers to other valuable sources you visit.

The recent walks with my baby has even greatly influenced my perception of the Java language itself. Even though it will take time to be able to use the knowledge in practice, if ever, watching how people present it while believing in its value always makes my day.

Along comes Dart.

I’m getting into dynamic and functional languages with Clojure, F#, JRuby (not much, but am going to change it soonish), and more recently Dart. They’re not to solve any practical problems I’m experiencing, but the spirit of their communities caught my attention.

I was a bit skeptical about trying out Dart, but SPLASH 2011: Gilad Bracha – Dart, Newspeak, and More left no choice. Dart seems very promising and Gilad is so sure about it. He speaks about the language for about 30 minutes and what made me want more is Dart’s optional types where a type explicit specification is only for…documentation (!) It’s the external tools to check whether the types are appropriate in a given context. That struck me a lot. My Java heart bled heavily. I’m into it wholeheartedly.

The video I watched today takes a bit longer to digest. Gilad again speaks about Dart, but what was only mentioned in the previous presentation is now quite elaborately explained. Wait no more and tune in to Transcription of A Quick Tour of Dart by Gilad Bracha. You won’t miss a minute watching it. Don’t count on Dart being the language of the future, but listening how Gilad spoke about the features of Dart brought so much knowledge about what I could expect from a language I’d ultimately call mine. It’s Java now, but no one can be sure how long yet.

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4 Responses to Gentle introduction to Dart with Gilad Bracha

  1. nickik says:

    Hi,

    If your getting into Clojure you should know that lisps are very easy to expand. So its relativly easy (or lets say possible) to add arbitrary typesystems (that can be haskell kind of creazy) and you can add more then one. People have done so look for Qi or Typed Racket. Dart however only provides you with a relativly weak typesystem. For Clojure work in this are has just started. Some of the work done in Clojure and a nice list of information you’ll find here:

    https://github.com/frenchy64/typed-clojure

  2. Jeff Heon says:

    Well, if you’re asking for interesting to watch and listen, have you heard that Smalltalk is the new Smalltalk? ;)

    Redline Smalltalk presentation.
    Grab the audio here (better sound quality than the video)
    http://bit.ly/uazPmX

    And the slides here:
    http://slidesha.re/rZefly

    And for something completely different haXe:
    http://haxe.org/doc/videos

    I would also mention Nemerle, if only because of the Ursula Le Guin reference, but could not find any screencasts.
    http://nemerle.org/

    Same goes for Fantom
    http://fantom.org/

    Happy viewing!

    • Jacek Laskowski says:

      I think I’ll stay with Clojure (and Dart) for a while. It was once when I developed a very cumbersome Smalltalk application and although brought so much fun, I don’t think I’m ready to get back to the language again. Not yet. I’d rather learn Haskell or Erlang, instead.

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