Flutter: The evolution of “Write once, run anywhere”
Earlier this year, Google announced the release of Flutter 3 at Google I/O. The statement that has often been used to describe this framework, “write once, run anywhere,” has never been truer. With Flutter 3, there is now stable support for 6 platforms: iOS, Android, Web, Windows, MacOS (Apple Silicon too!), and Linux.
Flutter is Google’s free and open-source toolkit that enables developers to build beautiful and fast user experiences across multiple platforms. Since its release in 2018, the framework has undergone multiple revisions by the Flutter community to enhance or improve its capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at how this framework has evolved into the truly multiplatform framework it is today:
This was the first stable release and was centered around mobile development for both iOS and Android platforms. Other notable releases in Flutter 1 saw the introduction of DevTools to help developers build apps more efficiently, an Add to App feature to add Flutter to an existing native application, and Platform Views, which is the opposite of Add to App and enables developers to embed Android or iOS controls in a Flutter application.
This version saw stable support for the web, introduced null safety features to provide better protection against null reference errors, and added initial support for Material You or version 3 of Material Design. The final major release in Flutter 2 was stable support for Windows platform, which meant that developers could create desktop applications in Flutter for the Windows operating system.
Flutter 3.0 is the current stable version of the Flutter framework. As mentioned previously, the framework now supports the Linux and MacOS platforms. This release also marked the completion of all the platforms that Flutter was intended to support. Other improvements are full support for Firebase plugins to easily use services for authentication, storage, cloud functionality, and real-time crash or error tracking, as well as full support for Material You with enhancements to typography and UI components.
Apart from the obvious benefit of Flutter, which is cross-platform development, the framework has other advantages that put it at the forefront of other cross-platform technologies.
To begin with, Flutter is unique because it uses its own high-performance rendering engine to draw widgets. This is different from other cross-platform frameworks that use WebViews or OEM widgets that come standard with the device. Flutter’s rendering engine allows developers to create beautiful, tailored, and branded experiences for users while maintaining the native look and feel of the platform.
Moreover, Flutter has a hot reload feature that eliminates the traditional edit, compile, deploy, and debug cycle with support for iterative, live coding, in which you can hot reload your changes without having to restart the application. This greatly speeds up development time.
To sum up, Flutter is a multiplatform UI kit for building stunning, highly interactive, near-native, and highly performant applications with a single shared code-base. It allows developers to hone in on their ideas and creative abilities without having to worry about the platforms they are targeting. A single code-base can also reduce costs by decreasing the development time without compromising app quality. This makes it an ideal choice for your business or organization to revolutionize the way you build cross-platform applications.
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