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.
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.
🌟 Now introducing, Flutter 2 at #FlutterEngage!— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Learn more about this major upgrade to the portability of Flutter that opens up a broad range of new target platforms like web and desktop from a single code base.
Check it out 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/G8kgCDvjsw
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 2.0🎉 (will cover more about these in a bit😉).
There was a nice demonstration of the Flutter Folio app created by gskinner running on all 6 platforms.
🏃♂️Rapid iteration and high-quality results.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
To demonstrate Flutter's versatility in action at #FlutterEngage, we asked our friends at @gskinner to create a demo app that spans across all six platforms that Flutter 2 supports.
Watch 📺 → https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/wMQqna7qFX
This was shortly followed by the Flutter support for foldable devices showcased on a Surface Duo device by the Microsoft team.
✨Foldable, dual-screen devices are ready for your Flutter app!— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
The Surface Duo is a combo of the best of Android with the @SurfaceDuoDev team’s hardware engineering expertise. @gmerin is here from @msdev to share more!
Watch 📺 → https://t.co/T9025C5NCV #FlutterEngage pic.twitter.com/t7Wj6TEORJ
They also talked a bit about the API that is being used for the foldable devices.
Know more about Flutter support for foldable devices here.
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.
One of the web apps showcased during the event is created by iRobot, check out their blog post for more details.
The #iRobotCoding App is at your service!@iRobotEducation is officially launching the web version of their educational experience! Check it out at #FlutterEngage.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
🤖 Did we mention they also have coding robots?
Check it out 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/GvYe9EWE5i
Read more about Flutter Web stable release here.
Flutter Desktop and embedded devices
The desktop support for Flutter has reached BETA 🚀 That being said, you can still try it out on the stable channel of Flutter 2.
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✨
🤩 Flutter is the default choice for future @ubuntu apps.@kenvandine joins us at #FlutterEngage to tell you about some of @canonical's contributions to Flutter at #FlutterEngage.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
On now 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/xVzwIZSCIt
Now you can easily install Flutter on Ubuntu using the Snap Store.
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.
🚙 The future of @Toyota's infotainment systems will be powered by Flutter.@ToyotaConnected is building Flutter right into the heart of their vehicles. Catch @danielthall at #FlutterEngage as he talks more about their plans with us!— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
On now 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/pSn299QF9P
Daniel Hall also explained how Flutter increased the developer productivity at Toyota.
The programming language optimized for Flutter, Dart also received some major updates.
🧑🍳 Dart: the secret sauce behind Flutter.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Join @munificentbob as he tells you about some of the work we’ve been doing in @dart_lang to upgrade your app and more.
Streaming 📺 → https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/l3FZDfHEWX
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.
🤔 What's one of the largest @Google apps using Flutter?— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
In this #FlutterEngage segment, @timothyjordan sits down with Peeyush Ranjan to ask him about @GooglePay's experience with Flutter in supporting their 150 million users.
Watch 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/E5F7BXlMsi
Flutter 2 also introduced a number of tooling improvements. To talk specifically, four new tooling features are introduced:
- Flutter Fix tool
- Null safety migration tool (in stable)
- Inspect widget (embedded in the IDE)
- App size tool (to analyze the total size of your app)
🛠 Flutter 2 tooling highlights!— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Let’s welcome @kenzieschmoll, from the Flutter team, to talk about 4 new tooling features available with Flutter 2!
Let’s go 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/dFBEg3PIDA
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.
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:
- Cloud Firestore
- Cloud Functions
- Cloud Messaging
- Cloud Storage
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.
💰 Building apps is great, but making money by building apps is even better!— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Monetizing apps using @GoogleAdMob is a popular path for many mobile developers. @ZoeyFan723 shares another major package update that we’re releasing today.
Check it out 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/85sAYPs3iy
One of the early adopters of the Ads SDK program for Flutter, Sua Musica talked about their experience using it.
🎶 Alan Trope, CTO of @suamusica, a music platform for independent artists, talks about how the new Flutter ad plugin performed better for their needs.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Learn about their journey using Flutter, on now, at #FlutterEngage!
Watch 👉 https://t.co/T9025C5NCV pic.twitter.com/qyOD9YgCGT
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 (Update: starting from January 2022 pub.green is discontinued).
To know more about pub.green check out this blog post.
Some more updates
Talked about how Flutter has made a huge impact in Africa.
🌍 The creative freedom of Flutter.— Flutter (@FlutterDev) March 3, 2021
Flutter has made a huge impact in Africa, drawing attention to an often overlooked part of the world. Meet some of our friends!
Tune in 📺 → https://t.co/T9025C5NCV #FlutterEngage pic.twitter.com/PbavLCpAQh
Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up AR/MR app (Unity + Flutter)
That was fun! Thanks for having us #FlutterEngage 🙌https://t.co/vT7V1ZNtlE pic.twitter.com/acrnJzyCib— Fictioneers (@FictioneersLtd) March 3, 2021
Mac’s M1 architecture improvements are available in Flutter 2.0
The Flutter Engage event talks:
- Let’s migrate this app to null safety
- From mobile app to web app
- The little things: Becoming the mythical designer-developer
- Monetizing apps with Flutter
In addition to these, there were 11 Community talks:
- Choreographing transitions with Flutter animation framework
- Flutter Plugin Development
- Strategies to port your Android & iOS apps to Flutter
- Flutter Animations: Interactive Page Flip Widget
- Featherweight Isolates in Flutter
- Custom selectable text in Flutter
- Faster release builds and better integration tests with Flutter
- New and easy internationalization in Flutter
- How to Use New Material Buttons
- Efficient Flutter debugging with Dart DevTools
- Animating a Flutter App
If you are living under a rock and you don’t know who Dash is🤔. There’s a page on the official Flutter website telling exactly that.