3 min read

Yesterday, the team behind Dark programming language has unveiled Darklang’s private beta version. Dark is a holistic programming language, editor, and infrastructure for building backends. Developers can write in the Dark language, using the Dark editor, and the program is hosted on Dark’s infrastructure. As a result, they can code without thinking about infrastructure, and have safe instant deployment, which the team is calling “deployless” development.

According to the team, backends today are too complicated to build and they have designed Dark in a way to reduce that complexity. Ellen Chisa, CEO of the Dark says, “Today we’re releasing two videos showing how Dark works. And demonstrate how to build a backend application (an office sign-in app) in 10 minutes.”

Paul Biggar, the CTO also talks about the Dark’s philosophy and the details of the language, the editor and the infrastructure. He also shows how they make “deployless” safe with feature flags and versioning, and how Dark allows to introspect and debug live requests.

Alpha users of Darklang build backends for web and mobile applications

The Dark team says that during the private alpha, developers have built entire backends in Dark. Chase Olivieri built Altitude, a flight deal subscription site. Julius Tarng moved the backend of Tokimeki Unfollow to Dark for scalability. Jessica Greenwalt & Pixelkeet ported Birb, their internal project tracker, into a SaaS for other design studios to use.

The team has also seem alpha users build backends for web and mobile applications, internal tools, Slackbots, Alexa skills, and personal projects. And they’ve even started building parts of Dark in Dark, including their presence service and large parts of the signup flow.

Additionally, the team will let you in the private beta of Darklang immediately if the developers have their project well-scoped and ready to get started.

Community unhappy with private version, and expect open-source

On Hacker News, users are discussing that in this time and age if there is any new programming language, it has to be open-source. One of them commented, “Is there an open source version of the language? …bc I’m not touching a programming language with a ten foot pole if it hasn’t got at least two implementations, and at least one open source 😐

Sure, keep the IDEs and deployless infrastructure and all proprietary, but a core programming language in 2019 can only be open-source. Heck, even Microsoft gets it now.”

Another one says, “They are ‘allowing’ people into a private beta of a programming language? Coupled with the fact it is not open source and has a bunch of fad ad-tech videos on the front page this is so many red flags.”

While others compare Dark with different programming languages, mainly Apex, Rust and Go. A user comment reads, “I see a lot of Parse comparisons, but for me this is way more like Force.com from Salesforce and the Apex language.

Proprietary language (Apex, which is Java 6-ish), complete vertical integration, no open source spec or implementation.”

Another one says, “Go – OK, it has one implementation (open-source), but it’s backed by one big player (Google) and used by many others… also the simplicity at core design decisions sound like the kind of choices that would make an alternative compiler easier to implement than for other languages

Rust – pretty fast growing open-source community despite only one implementation… but yeah I’m sort of worried that Rust is a “hard to implement” kind of language with maybe a not high enough bus factor… similar worries for Julia too

But tbh I’m not drawn much to either Go and Rust for other reasons – Go is too verbose for my taste, no way to write denser code that highlights the logic instead of the plumbing, and it has a “dumb” type system, Rust seems a really bad choice for rapid prototyping and iteration which is what I care about now.”

Other interesting news in programming this week

Introducing ‘ixy’, a simple user-space network driver written in high-level languages like Rust, Go, and C#, among others

TextMate 2.0, the text editor for macOS releases

GNU community announces ‘Parallel GCC’ for parallelism in real-world compilers

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