Google released beta version of flutter, which is a new mobile UI framework. This framework can be used by developers to speed up the process of building native mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The apps can be built using a single code base with Flutter and compile directly on native processor architecture code on mobile devices. It can even access the API of Android and iOS platform as per Google standards.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is the mobile UI framework from Google that allows app developers to build native interfaces on iOS and Android. This is an open source and free framework that can be used by developers and organizations around the world. The earlier version of Flutter was known as ‘Sky’ and used only on Android platform.
The major components of flutter are – flutter engine, foundation library and design-specific widgets that interfaces with platform specific SDKs provided by iOS and Android. However, the two frameworks of flutter are conformed to specific design languages.
Flutter is based on Dart programming language that is highly popular in Google. Instead of wiring up iOS and Android components, Flutter paints pixels to the screen — so that developers can build familiar experiences out of the box.
Highlights of Flutter
The main aim of flutter is to target the sweet spot of app development with multi-platform UI tool kits. Initially, flutter was designed for use by both beginners as well as experienced developers.
Flutter has a feature called Hot Reload that allows developers to experiment with their code. Developers can make changes to the code or fix bugs and see the impact of it immediately. It comes with a set of customizable widgets that can be used to build native Android and iOS apps. When it comes to navigation and scrolling, there are major differences between the iOS and Android platform.
There is an additional feature in Flutter that allows developers to localize their applications so that they can be used internationally. The beta version of flutter supports iOS 11 and iPhone X and has advanced image formatting capabilities.
It has an expressive and flexible user interface that focuses on enhancing the user experience. The layered architecture allows customization of UI with flexible designs.
The motto behind designing flutter is to make apps easy to use and stabilize. Google is making it easier for app developers to embed flutter into their existing app on WebView component so that the web content can be viewed within mobile apps.
Google worked with its development community to add multiple features to Flutter such as – support for iPhone X and iOS 11, inline videos, image formatting and screen readers. It is no doubt a great tool for app developers and makes apps run even better than the existing apps.
Though Flutter do not include visual designer, the designer could get in the right way of designing a responsive UI. Getting started with Flutter us just a matter of installing the usual components on the desired platform and adding Flutter SDK and related tools. Flutter Doctor is an important tool in Flutter that can check dependencies and even make recommendations.
Flutter goes well with a wide range of IDEs such as Visual Studio Code, Xcode and Android Studio. Google is currently sending updated beta version to the developers so that they can test it and identify the issues that need to be fixed.
Will flutter replace Java for android app development?
Flutter is native like Android and iOS and its design language feels more like Java. There is no templating language to build the UI. Initially, it reduces the amount of context switching and makes perfect sense. Flutter makes it easier to build high end apps. Moreover, it recommends developers to use good patterns such as reactive development. Flutter is no doubt is a great option to have a single codebase, regardless of the number of people on your team.
The main intention behind Google’s flutter is not to replace the existing frameworks, but make it easier for developers to build high end apps. There is a saying “No one size fits all”. You won’t be able to know if there is something better than the existing one, if you don’t try new things. Flutter is designed to support many languages. The exact purpose of building this framework is to build a platform that allow developers to share minimum codebase between platforms.
App developers have been working with React Native since its launch. However, they noticed a few issues in React Native — which led them to ‘Flutter’. This does not mean that flutter is going to replace other frameworks for app development. It is a new framework that eases the work of app developers.
The main objective of Google behind designing Flutter is to make the lives of app developers much easier. Google has been working on Fuchsia, which is an open source mobile OS that has been written in Flutter.We have to wait a few more months to see if Flutter would overshadow React Native. Experts believe that Google will come up with some more ‘devs’ this year along with few more advancements.
Another advantage of flutter is its own collection of widgets that paints on the canvas of OS platform. Since the launch of Flutter Alpha, Google has worked on better tool integration with support for visual studio. If you want to try Flutter, all you need to do is follow the installation instructions.