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Flutter Engage: A roundup of new announcements

Flutter Engage: A roundup of new announcements

Mar 3, 2021

Though this year’s Flutter event was in completely online mode, but that doesn’t impact the excitement even slightly. Rather, this year’s Flutter Engage event was one of largest yet, with the introduction of Flutter 2.

The tagline for Flutter Engage was “Flexibility & portability” (for an ambient computing world).

In this article, we will take a quick overview of the announcements made in the Flutter Engage event.

Flutter 2

The announcement of Flutter 2 (release notes) brought a ton of improvements spanning across multiple platforms, and also a lot of new feature support. It even broadened the Flutter framework from being mobile centric to a more portable framework.

Multi-platform support

Flutter 2.0 introduced support for 6 platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Web, iOS, Android). Of which Flutter Web is currently in stable, and the Flutter Desktop platforms are in beta, but you can still try it out on the stable channel of Flutter 2.0πŸŽ‰ (will cover more about these in a bitπŸ˜‰).

Flutter Engage event: multi-platform support
Flutter Engage event: multi-platform support

There was a nice demonstration of the Flutter Folio app created by gskinner running on all 6 platforms.

This was shortly followed by the Flutter support for foldable devices showcased on a Surface Duo device by the Microsoft team.

They also talked a bit about the API that is being used for the foldable devices.

Flutter Engage event: foldable APIs
Flutter Engage event: foldable APIs

Know more about Flutter support for foldable devices here.

Flutter Web

Moving on, the second and the single largest announcement made in Flutter 2 is STABLE release of Flutter Web. And, currently it is recommended for three scenarios:

  • Progressive web apps (PWAs)
  • Single page apps (SPAs)
  • Bringing interactive mobile apps to web

Some of improvements made to Flutter Web include text autofill, control over address bar URLs and routing, PWA manifests, interactive scrollbars and keyboard shortcuts, increased default content density in desktop modes, and screen reader support for accessibility.

An amazing animation running smoothly on Flutter web was showcased, you can try it out here.

Flutter Engage event: Flutter Web
Flutter Engage event: Flutter Web

One of the web apps showcased during the event is created by iRobot, check out their blog post for more details.

Read more about Flutter Web stable release here.

Flutter Desktop and embedded devices

The desktop support for Flutter has reached BETA πŸš€ That being said, you can still try it out on the stable channel of Flutter 2.

Flutter Docs: Desktop
Flutter Docs: Desktop

There was a short talk by Ken VanDine of the Canonical team about Flutter support for Linux platforms. Also, it was announced that the future Ubuntu installer as well as the pre-installed apps will be built using Flutter✨

Now you can easily install Flutter on Ubuntu using the Snap Store.

Flutter Engage event: linux support
Flutter Engage event: linux support

The Ubuntu theme suite called yaru also coming to Flutter.

Next up, Toyota team announced they are building their car infotainment system powered by Flutter.

Daniel Hall also explained how Flutter increased the developer productivity at Toyota.

Flutter Engage event: embedded devices
Flutter Engage event: embedded devices

Dart

The programming language optimized for Flutter, Dart also received some major updates.

Dart 2.12 is announced with stable version of null safety and Dart FFI. During the talk by Bob Nystrom, he also described a bit about the future roadmap of Dart as metaprogramming in order to introduce data classes at the library level.

Know more about Dart 2.12 here.

The latest version of Dart also helped the Google Pay team to reduce their app size.

Tooling improvements

Flutter 2 also introduced a number of tooling improvements. To talk specifically, four new tooling features are introduced:

Package ecosystem updates

There are some major overhaul to some of the most popular Flutter packages. The camera and the video_player plugins had major improvements.

Flutter Engage event: Firebase support
Flutter Engage event: Firebase support

Apart from these, if you are a Firebase user, the most popular Firebase packages now support null safety with updated documentation, they include the following:

  • Core
  • Authentication
  • Cloud Firestore
  • Cloud Functions
  • Cloud Messaging
  • Cloud Storage
  • Crashlytics

Especially, the Cloud Messaging package received a major overhaul.

Sentry announced support for Flutter framework which helps in maintaining a healthy codebase. Their Flutter SDK Docs is available here.

Check out Sentry’s blog post here.

Introduced Google Mobile Ads SDK for Flutter (BETA). It works with both AdMob and AdManager. You will also find some nice getting started and implementation guides on the Ads section of official Flutter site.

One of the early adopters of the Ads SDK program for Flutter, Sua Musica talked about their experience using it.

To make it easier to check whether the latest version of a package works on a recent version of Flutter, Codemagic team introduced a site called pub.green.

To know more about pub.green check out this blog post.

Some more updates

Talks

The Flutter Engage event talks:

In addition to these, there were 11 Community talks:

References

If you are living under a rock and you don’t know who Dash isπŸ€”. There’s a page on the official Flutter website telling exactly that.

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