Google’s Flutter is getting improved Graphics Features, and More

Google’s Flutter is getting improved graphics features, web integration, and More

Google’s Flutter is getting improved Graphics Features, and More

Google’s Flutter framework has revolutionized the mobile app development landscape. By offering developers a streamlined and efficient way to build top-notch cross-platform applications. Its adoption by top-tier applications such as Google Ads, eBay Motors, and Philips Hue serves as a testament to the versatility and capabilities of Flutter.

Now at the “Flutter Forward” event in Nairobi, it has even raised the bar by introducing advancements in graphics, web integration, and support for RISC-V architecture. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the latest improvements to Flutter and what they mean for developers everywhere. 

So, if you are looking to build the next big app, read on to discover why Flutter is the platform to watch in the coming months and years. 

  • Support For Seamless Integration of Web & Mobile

The team demonstrated the seamless integration between Flutter and Dart (the programming language used for building Flutter applications). And highlighted several innovative methods for integrating projects into various other frameworks and code. 

They have announced a revolutionary new feature for the web, known as “Element Embedding”. This allows Flutter content to be effortlessly incorporated into any standard web <div>. 

This feature seamlessly integrates Flutter into the web DOM, transforming it into a web component that can be styled using CSS selectors and transformations. 

They are also working on a new package called “js” which will provide an unparalleled level of interoperability between JavaScript and Dart code. This package enables annotating any function in Dart code with the @JSExport  attribute which allows for seamless call capabilities from JavaScript code. 

Additionally, this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities by which developers can bring their projects to new heights of success. 

Overall, the combination of these two cutting-edge features ushers in a new era of opportunity for utilizing Flutter on the web. The seamless integration of Flutter content into web pages and the interoperability between JavaScript and Dart code open up a world of possibilities. Here is a proof of concept. 

Now in the realm of iOS and Android app development, Flutter has previously enabled integration with system APIs through platform channels. This offers a message-based approach to communication with code written in other languages like Kotlin or Swift. However, this approach requires a solid understanding of multiple languages and substantial boilerplate code. 

That’s why to address these challenges, they are taking a new approach to system interoperability that allows libraries to be called directly. On Android, they are utilizing the JNI bridge to Jetpack libraries written in Kotlin. And On iOS, they are building upon existing FFI for C interoperability, adding support for Swift and Objective-C libraries. 

With a new command, Dart will automatically generate bindings for cross-language communication and converts data classes with ease. 

Once this feature will be launched, it has the potential to empower Flutter developers to call new Jetpack or iOS libraries without the need for plugins or learning a different API syntax. 

  • New & Emerging Architectures

Now comes early support for new and emerging architectures. All credit goes to Dart’s broad support for a wide range of processor architectures, as well as its highly-optimized JavaScript compiler. 

At Flutter Forward, they have showcased early support for Flutter compilation to WebAssembly. This will allow for even greater speed and size optimizations for web support. And also provide mobile app developers with the tools they need to create truly dynamic and high-performance web experiences. 

  • Support For RISC-V Architecture

Tim Sneath said that “We believe RISC-V support will be of particular interest for embedded scenarios, where Flutter can provide a powerful UI toolkit for a diverse set of needs. ”

The team has started working on RISC-V which is a rapidly growing open standard instruction architecture. The open-source nature of RISC-V makes it a highly versatile and sought-after solution across a multitude of industries. Including consumer tech, internet of things devices, automotive, industrial, medical, telecommunications, and more. 

As a result, Dart has now added support for RISC-V, allowing Flutter to run on these devices as they become available. This move showcases their commitment to providing developers with the tools and resources they need to build dynamic and versatile applications. 

  • Dart 3 

At Flutter Forward, Google also formally announced Dart 3 in alpha. This new version brings significant upgrades to the language including

  • Sound null safety feature that greatly improves the reliability of the code by detecting potential errors related to variables being set to “null” prior to deployment of the app.  
  • Several enhancements aimed at increasing developer productivity such as the addition of records. This allows for the quick creation and declaration of data structures and patterns that provide the ability to break down composite data into its individual components. 

Overall, these improvements aim to streamline the mobile app development process, making it easier and more efficient to create robust and error-free applications. 

In addition to the technological advancements, the team is also dedicated to enhancing the developer experience for Flutter. After the successful introduction of the Casual Game Toolkit at I/O, they have now announced the first version of the News Toolkit. 

This is specifically designed to cater to the needs of news publishers and content providers who aim to reach a wider audience through mobile devices. The News Toolkit includes everything required to create an article-centric app, featuring seamless navigation, search functionality, secure authentication, and subscription options. All this adheres to the best practices as recommended by Google News Initiative’s research. 

Below are the names of three early adopters who used this toolkit to build applications. 

  1. Hespress (One of the largest news sites in Morocco)
  2. Bold Sports (A popular Nigerian sports site)
  3. The Standard (The oldest newspaper in Kenya)
  • Improved Graphics Feature

Tim Sneath, product manager of Flutter and Dart said that “ Historically, cross-platform frameworks have required compromise on visuals, due to the challenges of creating an abstraction layer. And Flutter has taken a different approach than most, with its own rendering layer that offers hardware-accelerated graphics and a consistent visual appearance on every device. ” 

Flutter has disrupted the cross-platform app development procedure with its innovative approach to graphics. Unlike other frameworks that comprise visuals, Flutter has its own rendering engine layer that offers a consistent visual experience across all devices. 

At Flutter Forward they have shown progress with Impeller which is Flutter’s rendering engine. It takes advantage of Flutter’s unique strengths, offering developers even greater flexibility and control over the graphics pipeline. 

With Impeller, developers can expect more predictable performance and fewer dropped frames due to runtime shader compilation. Additionally, it leverages the power of Metal and Vulkan (modern low-level APIs for Android and iOS). And effectively utilizes concurrency to distribute single-frame workloads across multiple threads

Impeller also offers support for custom shaders which allows developers to create eye-catching effects within their apps such as radiant glow, god-rays, and more. The Flutter team is also embarking on a new frontier with early being done to support 3D in the framework. This will allow importing models created in popular 3D design tools like Blender, further expanding the creative potential of their app. 

Furthermore, Google has also started early work on supporting 3D with Flutter. This will allow developers to import models that are created with Blender. Also, the hot-reload feature can be used to iterate with Blender in real time and see the results in a running app. 

Overall, adding 3D and custom shaders will raise the bar for graphics performance in the UI toolkit to a new level.

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As the Flutter community continues to thrive, we are given an insightful look at the impact it has had on the Google Play Store. With over five million developers and over 700,000 apps utilizing Flutter, it has established itself as one of the top three open-source projects in terms of contributors.

As the Flutter app development company continues to evolve and improve, it is likely that we will see even greater utilization and support in the future.


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