What’s new in Google’s Flutter mobile dev framework

The Version 1.2 release for Android and iOS developers provides new web tools and increases stability

What’s new in Google’s Flutter mobile dev framework

Flutter, Google’s UI framework for building native interfaces for Android and iOS mobile applications, is now in its Version 1.2 production release.

With the open source Flutter, you build applications and interfaces via a single code base that compiles directly to native ARM code. (Note: The Flutter framework project is not related to Google’s 2013 purchase of the gesture recognition startup of the same name.)

Where to download Google Flutter

You can download the production version of Flutter from the project website.

Current version: What’s new in Google Flutter 1.2

Flutter 1.2 has the following new features and enhancements:

  • Improvements to the core framework as well as to stability and performance.
  • Polishing of the visual UI and functionality of widgets.
  • Beta improvements to support in-app purchases, via a plugin.
  • Support for floating-cursor text editing in iOS.
  • New support for keyboard events and mouse hover support.
  • Improvements to the Cupertino and Material widget sets.
  • Bug fixes for the video player, WebView, and Google Maps. These capabilities are offered via beta plugins.
  • Support for the Android App Bundles packaging format.
  • The Dart 2.2 SDK.

Google also released Dart DevTools, a beta suite of web-based programming tools for debugging and analyzing apps. Capabilities include:

  • a widget inspector, for visualizing the Flutter tree hierarchy used for visualization
  • a timeline view for frame-by-frame diagnosis
  • a source-level debugger
  • a logging view showing application events

Dart DevTools is available for installation with extensions for Visual Studio Code and Android Studio.

Previous version: What’s new in Google Flutter Version 1.0

Released in December 2018, the first version of Flutter offers these features:

  • The Dart 2.1 language is supported, providing for smaller code size and faster type checks.
  • Support for 20 Firebase mobile development services.
  • Improved performance and a reduction in the size of Flutter apps.
  • Widgets to enhance iOS apps.
  • Applications can use the device’s GPU and access platform APIs and services.
  • The stateful hot reload capability allows for quick code changes, with results of changes viewed quickly without losing application state.
  • A set of interactive widgets.
  • Integration with other development tools so developers can use their familiar editor or IDE. Android Studio and Visual Studio Code are supported.
  • Widgets, rendering, and gestures are moved into the framework, providing control over pixels and offering the ability to build custom designs.
  • Platform conventions are followed, such as scrolling, navigation, and fonts.
  • Existing code written in Java and Kotlin for Android applications, and in Objective-C and Swift for iOS applications, can be reused with the framework.
  • Added iPhone X and iOS 11 support, along with inline video and additional image formats. 
  • Full enablement of the Google Dart 2 language, which is focused on client development. A more-terse syntax is offered for building Flutter UIs.
  • Making Flutter a “first class” toolkit for building Material Design apps.
  • A widget inspector to make it easier to see the visual tree for a UI and preview how widgets will look during development.
  • Support of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor as a development tool, with a dedicated Flutter extension.
  • A plugin for integration of ads via the Firebase AdMob API.
  • Localization support, including capabilities for right-to-left languages as well as improvements for building accessible applications.

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