Best Dart Programming Books To Teach Yourself From Scratch

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Whether you’re building for the web or mobile there’s a lot you can do with Dart. It’s a free open source programming language and it’s one of the more interesting OOP languages based on its syntax.

Picking up Dart can be simpler if you already have programming experience. But knowing where to start can still be a huge hassle.

In this post I’ll share the absolute best books you can get for Dart programming. The language itself is fairly simple to pick up but you’ll learn a lot quicker with guided books and exercises.

Best Intro Dart Book

If you’re looking for a place to start with zero prior knowledge I’d recommend Dart for Absolute Beginners. The author has years of experience in software development and he breaks down the Dart language from the very beginning. You’ll work through exercises that cover all the features of Dart without being too complex for novice developers to follow.


What is Dart?

Looking for a unique yet free intro to Dart programming? O’Reilly has you covered with their free 30-page ebook titled What is Dart?

This book will not help you write Dart code or make you into a pro developer. It’s more like an intro to Dart looking over its history, current features, and overall purpose in the dev landscape.

You can’t expect much from only 30 pages but you also can’t argue with the price. This is one of the simplest books to read if you’re trying to figure out what Dart is used for and why you might want to learn it.

The writing style is very clean and easy to follow. It’s not the best book for actually digging into Dart programming so I’d only recommend this to developers on the fence about Dart’s real value in their workflow.


Dart: Up and Running

If you need a much more comprehensive book then Dart: Up and Running might be more your speed. This is also published by O’Reilly and covers 160 pages of intro guides for running with the Dart language.

You’ll learn a brief history of Dart and its cornucopia of uses. Then you’ll dive into web programming with Dart using types and name constructors in the OOP paradigm. The authors teach through example but they’re all very basic examples to get you started.

The more advanced chapters get into the Dart API including exercises that teach how to build a custom search app. You’ll work with existing libraries and you’ll learn how to compile Dart code on a local server.

This is one of the simplest intro books for Dart, but it’s also a much quicker overview. The exercises are perfect for beginners who have no prior OOP knowledge.


Dart Scripting Made Stupid Simple

Just as the name suggests, this book takes Dart and boils it down to incredibly simple terms for basic development. Dart Scripting Made Stupid Simple is very short with only 72 pages.

It covers all the fundamentals of scripting from the very beginning. You’ll learn about loops, classes, constructors, inheritance, and basically everything else that goes along with fundamental programming.

This book is great for absolute beginners who really just don’t know how to write code. The book doesn’t treat you like an idiot, but it does condense Dart into a very simplistic concept.

Unfortunately this book is only 72 pages and I wish it were a bit longer. The information is so detailed and the writing style is phenomenal. I just wish there was more of it to take you further into Dart programming.

But if you’re a complete novice who still doesn’t understand variables or functions then this book is the perfect resource to get started with Dart and basic programming concepts.


Dart for Absolute Beginners

This book does two things well: teaching Dart and sharing best practices for app development.

Dart for Absolute Beginners covers the fundamentals of web development on top of Dart from small sites to large enterprise projects.

The author David Kopec has years of experience building projects for the web. He explains the differences between Dart and JavaScript along with the benefits of launching custom webapps on Dart.

Every chapter delves a bit deeper into the Dart workflow explaining how it transpiles into JS. You’ll quickly learn best practices for simple applications like a calculator and a rock-paper-scissors game in the browser.

David’s writing style is very clear and super easy to read. This is undeniably one of the best Dart programming books on the market. You learn through practical examples and with a writing style that’s incredibly easy to consume.


Dart in Action

If you’re looking for an all-over book covering Dart as a language then Dart in Action is one of the most dense resources available. The author Chris Buckett teaches Dart on a web server and compares the syntax to JavaScript and native Java code for mobile development.

Since Dart can be used for both web and mobile apps there’s a lot of leeway in this book. Chris teaches how to write Dart code properly and why you should write Dart in a specific way. He explains object-oriented programming and uses live Dart projects as exercises to help you put these ideas into practice.

Practicality is the name of the game with this book. You’ll build custom apps with 3rd party libraries in the browser and on the server. You’ll learn the pros and cons of using Dart for web applications and how to follow a workflow that best fits your project goals.

I should mention this book gets complicated quickly. Beginners can learn a lot from this book, however the exercises can be draining if you keep getting lost or confused.

But one perk is that you get a free e-book copy along with a print copy if you grab Dart in Action. This is true for all Manning books which I think is a terrific deal.


Learning Dart

Since Dart is used prominently on the web it’s recommended that you already know HTML5 along with the basics of CSS and JavaScript. The goal of Learning Dart is to explain Dart development on top of HTML5/CSS3 development.

This book is pretty long with 370 pages full of exercises and tutorials for Dart on the web. You’ll learn how to use Google’s Polymer library for building a custom business dashboard with web components. You’ll also learn how to build audio/video players and even basic games in the browser.

If you have access to a remote server you can apply many of these lessons to data management. One chapter gets into memory/CPU usage and monitoring tools that run on top of Dart.

By the end you’ll learn how to work on Google’s App Engine to build a scalable webapp using MySQL and MongoDB for relational and non-relational storage.

This is one of the more practical Dart books and it’s also incredibly detailed. I would highly recommend this to anyone who already has web development skills and wants to move into Dart territory.


The Dart Programming Language

If you’re more interested in general Dart programming rather than web development I’d suggest reading through The Dart Programming Language by Gilad Bracha.

This book is a tad shorter at about 220 pages. The author covers Dart from a syntax point of view explaining the object-oriented features and basic principles of the language. It can feel very much like a detailed backend language but it’s often used for client-side web development.

However this book does not teach web development and doesn’t explicitly force you to use Dart in a web environment.

The author focuses more on Dart’s behavior as a language for writing functions, passing parameters, handling isolates & expressions, and working with 3rd party libraries.

How you apply this knowledge is left up to you. This book is very technical in regards to syntax, but not as useful for suggesting project-oriented exercises.

If you’re just looking for a raw intro to Dart as a language then this book is a fantastic place to start.


Dart By Example

For a much shorter intro to Dart on the web check out Dart By Example. It teaches Dart programming in lieu of JavaScript and it covers all the major features you’d expect from a webapp(databases, APIs, deployment, etc).

In 170 pages you’ll learn all the basics of Dart programming and how they apply to modern JavaScript. The author teaches you how to connect into existing APIs and how to analyze external data with Dart.

You’ll run unit tests over your code and learn how to compile everything down into JavaScript for running in a browser. Later exercises teach NoSQL data storage along with deployment tips for launching your site online.

Before picking up this book you must have some knowledge of web development, specifically with JavaScript. The author expects readers to already feel comfortable building on the web and each lesson builds upon this knowledgebase.

So if you’re a web developer looking for an intro to Dart’s true power on the web this would be the perfect book to get you moving.


Write Web Apps with Dart: Develop and Design

This book is pretty unique in the way it covers the entire web stack for all developers. You’ll learn Dart for frontend development and backend development along with techniques for both sides of the deployment pipeline.

Write Web Apps with Dart: Develop and Design offers 400+ pages of practical exercises for mastering Dart on the web. The author Jack Murphy writes each chapter in a step-by-step tutorial workflow that slowly teaches additional features as you work through the lessons.

By the end you’ll be comfortable working with Dart’s API to create custom webapps from scratch. You’ll even learn how to build a simple REST API on your own with Dart.

And the source code used in this book is available for free on the GitHub repo.

I consider this a much more advanced book targeting intermediate-level developers or anyone that’s somewhat comfortable writing Dart code. If you’re looking for a good intermediate Dart book for programming on the web then you’ll like this one.


Mastering Dart

Every programming language is best learned through practical exercises and real-world studies. This is the goal with Mastering Dart, a 350 page book covering more advanced exercises for Dart programmers.

The author Sergey Akopkokhyants has over 20 years of experience architecting software from scratch. In this book Sergey teaches you how to use Dart for asynchronous webapps and event-driven development.

You’ll learn how to authenticate users, store data, and how to optimize your webapps so they run smoothly on any server. This book goes far beyond the basics to push you into Dart programming for the real world.

I personally like this teaching style because it’s direct and to the point. The author knows how to teach without watering down any of the lessons.

But you absolutely must have some experience programming with Dart and HTML5 before you pick up this book. If you’ve never built an HTML5 webapp before then I’d recommend grabbing a secondary book like HTML5 in Action. I actually did a detailed review of that book if you want to learn more about it.


Dart Cookbook

Here’s another book made for skilled developers who already know a bit about HTML5 and web development. The Dart Cookbook is an exceptional book covering 350 pages full of recipes and solutions for common Dart pitfalls.

You’ll learn how to use custom mixins with Dart and reflections/annotations in your work. Many recipes also include NoSQL databases which blend nicely into modern web development.

The more advanced recipes talk about streaming and asynchronous development on the web. This whole book is basically made for web developers who want to bring Dart into professional project work.

Unit testing, security, OOP techniques and the addition of Polymer components are all covered in this book.

If you’re already comfortable with Dart and web development then I highly recommend adding the Dart Cookbook to your bookshelf. It’s one of the few books you’ll find yourself constantly referencing for solutions.

There is no specific path that everyone must take to master Dart programming. But free tutorials online can’t always stack up against quality programming books.

If you’re a complete newbie just getting into Dart programming I recommend picking up Dart for Absolute Beginners for an easy-to-read introduction to the language. If you’re a bit more confident you might instead try Dart in Action for an exercise-oriented teaching style.

Regardless there are plenty of Dart books in this list and they’re all fantastic to get you moving with Dart for web, mobile, and server-side development.

Author: Alex Turner

Alex is a fullstack developer with years of experience working in digital agencies and as a freelancer. He writes about educational resources and tools for programmers building the future of the web.