Google hopes to better the Web with Dart, but Microsoft has declared itself an opponent of the programming language rather than a potentially valuable ally.
Dart got off to a rough start, with Google alienating some potential allies with an insular early-stage development process. And allies are key: For Dart to live up to its potential, it needs support among browser makers. Microsoft's stance makes it look like it'll be very hard to build that support into Internet Explorer. In addition, Microsoft remains influential with programmers, and it just offered a very public vote of no confidence.
It arrived in Netscape Navigator 2.0, the dominant browser of the day, and has steadily spread in sophistication and popularity since. Its standardization, under the trademark-free name ECMAscript, has ensured many more than Netscape and its Mozilla descendant get a say in its development.
Dynamic typing adds flexibility, but it slows down program execution. And one of Dart's high-profile features is that it supported static typing.
One person who has high hopes for type inference is Paul Bakaus, CTO of Zynga Germany, which builds browser-based games.
Taking out the garbage
"V8's new GC [garbage collection] reduces pause times dramatically while maintaining great peak performance and memory use," programmers Vyacheslav Egorov and Erik Corry said in a blog post. "The new GC in Chrome improves interactive performance and opens up new possibilities for the interactive Web."
Garbage collection periodically frees up memory that a program claimed but didn't release, a very useful technology. But that process can hang up a computer while memory is tidied up. Incremental garbage collection breaks the process up into steps to reduce the pauses.
Mozilla also is working on incremental garbage collection. "This stuff is hard, and we don't know how much tuning work there will be, but we're currently targeting IGC landing for Firefox 11," Mandelin said.
Updated 10:57 a.m. PT to note that Firefox 9 is due by early 2012.