Flutter Framework is Google’s open source toolkit for helping developers build iOS and Android apps. It’s not necessarily a houshold name yet, but it’s also less than a year old and, to some degree, it’s going up against frameworks like Facebook’s popular React Native. Google’s framework, which is heavily focused around the company’s Dart programming language, was first announced at Google’s I/O developer conference last year.
As the company announced today, Flutter Framework is now officially in beta and a number of developers have already used it to build and publish apps that have hit top spots in both the Google Play and Apple App Store.
Developing for both Android and iOS usually involves working with two codebases, two UI frameworks, and two different design languages. There have been a few efforts over the years to remedy this problem, but they usually result in apps that don’t work well and don’t look particularly native. Google unveiled its ‘Flutter’ framework at Google I/O last year, which allows developers to quickly create native iOS and Android apps.
Flutter’s alpha builds have already proven to be extremely stable, to the point where Google felt comfortable to integrate it into their AdWords platform as a key tool for their development team.
The update to Google’s Dart programming language is fully integrated with the beta, bringing support for new tools that help remove boilerplate and speed up the development process. With Flutter’s package library reaching over 1000 packages, many commonly required tools are available, and more are being added frequently. From SQLite, to Firebase, to GraphQL Flutter is quickly gaining the widespread support from package maintainers that is needed for this type of tool to be useful.
Google is following the rapid release cycle that Chromium has been highly successful with, aiming for a new beta release every month, with a heavy focus on fulfilling the feature requests that the community expresses their desire for on the issue tracker. Feature requests on that tracker have led to some of the current primary roadmap features such as easier integration with existing apps, inline WebView, improved routing and navigation APIs, additional Firebase support, inline maps, and a smaller core engine. The Flutter community doesn’t stop at the issue tracker though; Google has put together a Gitter chat room for developers to help each other out, and the community has built multiple sites for discussion and learning such as the Flutter Institute, Start Flutter, and Flutter Rocks.