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The new programming language Carbon from Google aims to replace C++

Published on July 29, 2022

Carbon, Google’s latest programming language, is an experimental successor to C++.

Several programming languages have been created by Google over the years, some more popular than others. The Golang (or simply Go) language was created to improve the development of servers and distributed systems. Meanwhile, Dart, originally intended as an alternative to JavaScript, didn’t reach mainstream popularity until Flutter.

Conor Hoekstra, who was in attendance and documented the slides, shared the vision for Carbon at today’s Cpp North convention in Toronto. According to Carruth, most of today’s most popular programming languages have successors that are fast, efficient, and take advantage of modern language design.

As iOS developers know Swift is the successor to Objective-C, Android developers know Kotlin is the successor to Java. It remains easy to use and can be translated back to JavaScript, thanks to TypeScript, from Microsoft. C++, which is heavily used within Google, is similarly a successor to the original C language.

Carruth wonders if the analogy holds up with Rust, a Mozilla project that has gained significant public attention as a successor to C++. Despite Rust’s greatness, it doesn’t have the same “bi-directional interoperability” as something like Java & Kotlin, making it difficult to steadily migrate.

Carbon is intended to help developers create “performance-critical software” while also being fully interoperable with existing C++ code, just as Rust does. Additionally, if desired, migration from C++ to Carbon is made as easy as possible.

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