Flutter is an open-source mobile app development platform from Google. The framework allows developers to build native apps for Android and iOS from a single codebase. Flutter has grown in popularity over the last year. It's easy to use, produces high-quality apps, and is a great way to develop native apps.
One of the biggest trends in mobile app development today is the development of mobile apps using the Flutter SDK for Android and iOS platforms.
Google has been working on Flutter for quite some time, and there have been huge updates and releases since the initial release. With Flutter getting a lot of attention from developers and tech giants like Alibaba, it has been upgraded to Flutter 3.0.
In this article, we'll understand how Flutter has evolved over the years and what has changed with the release of Flutter 3.0.
With Flutter 3.0, you can now build apps for macOS and Linux using the same code base as Android, iOS, and Windows. This is possible because all platforms share the same Dart codebase. Once you've written your app in Dart, it can run on any target platform.
Flutter is the first mobile development framework to support a refresh rate higher than 60 frames per second. This means apps can now run at up to 120 fps on phones with high-resolution displays. It'll support variable refresh rates on iOS devices such as the iPhone 13 pro and iPad pro. Higher refresh rates help provide a smoother experience during animations. Therefore, it eliminates choppiness, which is usually experienced when you scroll through the device or during transitions.
Flutter supports single-page and multi-page applications across all major platforms (Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS). You can build cross-platform apps with Flutter that look amazing on foldable devices as well. You can also easily scale your app to suit different screen sizes with the help of this new feature.
Flutter has supported 64-bit builds since day one, but it has been limited by Apple's requirement that apps be built in Objective C or Swift. With Flutter 3.0, you can now write your apps in Kotlin (which runs on Android) or Dart (which runs on iOS). This means you no longer need to worry about building an AppStore-ready app because you will have complete control over what language your app uses!
The Flutter SDK provides a Cascading Menu widget that allows you to create an app-wide menu easily. The cascading menu combines the new popup menu and the native system menu bar to allow for a seamless transition between the app's main menu and its secondary menu.
The CascadingMenu widget provides several features:
Flutter 3.0 also includes a casual game toolkit, a collection of widgets that help you design games for iOS and Android. The game engine uses the GPU to render scenes, provides a high-performance animation system that supports physics and collision detection, and offers an extensive set of templates, guidelines, and tutorials to make it easier for you to build games.
The latest version of Dart, v2.17, is the biggest update so far. It has added major new support for working with enums, making writing code that uses named parameters in constructors easier. It refines how to use named arguments in constructors and streamlines writing code for forwarding parameters to superclasses.
Image decoding is the conversion of an image file into a format that is readable by the app. The best way to do this is through an image encoder, which creates a decoded version of the image that can be sent to your app.
Flutter image decoding was added as part of Flutter 3.0. It helps you write less code and makes your apps faster and more responsive.
In addition to improving image decoding performance, Flutter provides built-in support for many common image formats. It allows you to encode images differently depending on what you need them for.
Hot reloading means you can change your app while running without having to restart or reload it. This is great for development and debugging purposes. Flutter hot reloads your app on every change. You can see the changes made to your app without launching it again. This helps you stay in sync with your users and makes it easier to test differences in real-time.
Flutter 1.0 allowed you to create applications for both iOS and Android. But, you’re required to create a different codebase for running the apps on both platforms. It means you can’t write code for an application that looks exactly the same on both platforms. For example, if you have written a widget (a widget is like a control), then it can’t be reused across iOS and Android. You’re required to write a different code altogether.
Flutter provides native APIs for accessing many different APIs like cameras, contacts, push notifications, and more. You can use all of the native features of each platform in your app without writing any code for them yourself (except for the most basic ones).
Widgets are small, reusable components you can add to your app's UI. They can contain text and images, which you can use across multiple screens of your application. With Flutter 1.0, you got material design widgets for buttons, checkboxes, and more, with support for rounded corners.
The biggest news with Flutter 2.0 was the code reusability across platforms. With this release, developers can build their apps using Flutter and deploy them across desktop, mobile, and embedded platforms using only one codebase. This is a big deal because it opens up Flutter to a whole new audience of developers who may not have been able to use it before due to its dependency on Android or iOS.
Flutter hasn’t had desktop support since its first release as an experimental feature in beta 3. With Flutter 2.0, you can now build native desktop apps for Windows (and all other supported operating systems). This includes using Redux State Management to manage your UI state, a powerful tool that makes it easier to write maintainable applications.
Context menus are a great way to offer quick access to common actions, such as sharing or deleting an item or copying it to the clipboard. In Flutter 2.0, you can use the new context menu to provide users with quick access to system-integrated actions, such as search or calendar entries, without requiring them to navigate through a long list of options.
The Flutter 2.0 SDK includes support for ad integration in your app. It lets you easily start monetizing your app by showing ads directly inside it. This feature is supported by Google Ads and allows you to create an ad unit that looks like a native widget and can be embedded into your app's UI. You can also configure Google Ads on a per-app basis so that only those apps that have signed up with Google will show ads in them.
Flutter 2.0 introduced memory allocation tools, which allow you to allocate memory on the heap and manage it with a stack or a queue. This will enable you to create large objects that are eagerly allocated and deallocated. Also, you can create small objects that aren't deallocated until they're no longer needed. These APIs are useful for tracking how much memory an app needs at any given time, so you can ensure your app doesn't run out of memory while it's running.
Flutter 3's significant highlight was that it was first-hand available for 6 major platforms, with the addition of MacOS and Linux. Tim Sneath said that making these versions of Flutter a reality was Google's main goal with Flutter. He said this is a huge step towards developing a robust foundation for Flutter to build upon.
Ultimately, he agrees that developers will be more productive if they can take advantage of all the different versions of Flutter's supported platforms. Hopefully, in the coming days or so, we will be able to see what Google has in store for us next.