Today one of the largest and the most used platforms for cross-platform app development is Flutter. Google’s constant efforts to make the Flutter framework better is making it more useful. Every few months, Flutter is launching new things to make their ecosystem stronger and easier to use for developers. This has made it a go-to solution for developers to develop cross-platform applications using a single-codebase. Today, it is the second most used framework globally and has one of the largest communities of developers. Its open-source nature, ease to learn and use makes it everyone’s favorite.
After a break of a year, Google came back this year with Google I/O, its much-awaited annual developer conference. This year it took some of the significant leaps in the various sectors like AI, ML, Quantum Computing, Material Design, Flutter, and plenty of others. Each of its products has some significant new features, which hopefully make the future of technology brighter.
Herein, I will throw some light on Flutter and its major updates, which make the Flutter ecosystem stronger and provide a better developing experience.
Flutter’s major aim is to provide ambient computing, which helps developers to develop interactive, intuitive, and feature-rich applications easily. This year their main aim was to make the ecosystem more robust and more secure than before. The flutter team is very active and constantly works on the feature requirements from its developer circle. Listening to developers’ requests, in Flutter 2.2, the team has made major changes that help developers.
New Updates in Flutter 2.2:
Flutter and Material YOU:
The Flutter team works closely with the Material design team to bring more versatility to the framework in terms of design. The new design named Material YOU supports Flutter which means, developers can develop their applications using Material YOU which provides users more personalization.
In simple terms, Flutter developers can get access to the new and old but tweaked widgets for Material YOU. Once the new design language releases its beta version, it will be available to use in your Flutter applications. Developers starting out with Flutter App Development can easily develop using Material Design and provide better experience to the user. The open-source nature of both platforms makes it easy to develop an application.
For years, developers were asking the Flutter team for payment options, and finally, it is here. Flutter now supports integration with multiple payment modules like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and In-App Purchases. Instead of following multiple steps to integrate payment modules, developers can use a single-codebase to develop and integrate it. Now, developers can also provide in-app purchases to their customers and make the payment process simpler. With the new update, the Flutter team has made the in-app purchase eco-system stronger by updating the documentation, building code labs, and re-architectured the plugin.
Monetizing an application is one of the important parts. Google Mobile Ads SDK was first available in the beta version, and developers loved it. In version 2 Flutter team has brought some new changes.
Flutter has migrated the GMA SDK and enabled null safety, which helps developers handle exceptions easily and be productive while developing applications. It also supports the latest iOS GMA SDK, which adds App Tracking Transparency in the applications. This makes it easy for developers to develop iOS applications by abiding by all laws of the iOS platform easily. Last and the biggest new feature is Adaptive Banner, which is a new way of responsive ads. This will help developers to maximize their app performance by making it responsive. So, now regardless of the device, you are building your application for, you can use Adaptive Banner using a single-codebase.
For years now, developers have been requesting a Flutter layout to develop applications fast and easily, directly in the browser. Flutter Flow allows developers to start with Flutter app development and build applications faster, easier, and with less code. This makes development fun for developers, and anyone and everyone can learn it easily. You can easily develop different UIs for your application. Flutter Flow uses Firebase authentication and Firebase database to store your information securely. Now, you can easily develop applications in less time and provide a better user experience.
Flutter UWP (Universal Windows Platform):
Flutter has now extended its support to Windows UWP, which helps developers easily start with the Windows platform’s Flutter app development.
Yes! You read it right. You can now develop applications for multiple Windows platforms like Windows 10, Xbox, and HoloLens. Instead of developing for multiple Windows platforms, using UWP, you need to write code only once. This is still an early Alpha version of Flutter UWP. To use it, set up UWP prerequisites, and go to the dev channel on Github to enable it. Still, the Flutter team has to update and bring many new features in the UWP, making it more stable and interesting to build applications. Let’s wait for future updates on Flutter UWP.
Null Safety is an essential part of the development to handle any kind of exceptions. It helps in increasing productivity by helping developers build applications faster and handle exceptions. Dart is a typeface programming language which means depending on the variable declared, it can know which data type it is. But, it could not develop null data variables due to which many exceptions were occurring and reported on the Github repository. Further, to solve these exceptions, there were thousands of commits to fix this issue. As a result, it was hindering developers’ productivity and not helping them have a stronger ecosystem.
To avoid these issues and build a stronger ecosystem, Flutter made Null Safety default. This means now developers don’t need to worry about handling exceptions and developing efficiently. Null safety works on three core principles:
- Non-nullable by default: Unless you tell that the variable is null, it will be considered non-nullable.
- Incrementally adaptable: You can have null safe and non-null safe products in the same project.
- Fully sound: Dart’s null safety is fully sound, meaning you can depend on it and rely on its type system. Once you migrate your full project, you will find smaller bugs and faster execution.
These principles help make Dart and Flutter a stronger ecosystem.
Apart from the major updates, there are certain minor updates, making the framework fun and easy to learn. Following are some of the miscellaneous updates:
- New Material Icon:
With the new updates, there are more than 7000 icons for your application. You can efficiently search for any of them using the search bar, and from now onwards, there are also Dash icons available for your application. You can download icons from here.
- Automatic Scrolling Behavior:
Mobile phones don’t need scrollbars, be it iOS or Android, but on a desktop, it needs scrollbars. Hence, many time developers need to call the in-built scrollbar widgets. But, with the new release, you can go without scrollbars. With this release, the application automatically takes the scroll bar, depending on your application’s content. If you are not happy with the default scrollbar, you can change the theme according to your desire.
- Mouse Cursors:
With the new version, you can make rich text applications that can help you to make the cursor more interactive. If you are using TextSpan with gesture recognizer you will automatically get the corresponding cursor.
These updates may look pretty small but have a huge impact. Such small updates collectively help in making intuitive and interactive applications and provide a better user experience.
With every new release of Flutter, the ecosystem is becoming stronger than before. With Flutter version 2, we can see some major changes coming for the developer circle, which will have a major impact on the future of app development.
Moreover, the recent collaboration between Google and Samsung for building smartwatches can also open the gateways for building smartwatch applications using Flutter. This shows that the roadmap of Flutter is stronger, and with time we can expect the framework to mature.
During the days when the Flutter is booming, it is a perfect time to invest in Flutter app development. If you want to develop a Flutter application, you can reach out to us. We have a strong team of expert Flutter developers who will help you with application development.
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