On May 12, Flutter 3.0 was officially unveiled at the Google I/O Developer Conference. With the release of version 3.0, the Flutter development framework can finally support six platforms, realizing its vision of stable cross-platform operation.
Tim Sneath, product director of Flutter and Dart, said in a blog post that Flutter 3 completes the development roadmap from a mobile-centric to a multi-platform framework, now supports stable operation on Linux and macOS desktops, and introduces Firebase integration improvements, new productivity and performance enhancements, as well as support for Apple’s self-developed chips.
Flutter 3 is here
Today, with Flutter 3, developers can base themselves on six platforms: iOS, Android, Web, Windows, macOS, and Linux through a single code base.
In previous releases, Flutter has added support for Web and Windows in addition to iOS and Android. Flutter 3 now adds stable support for macOS and Linux applications. Adding platform support requires more than rendering pixels, but also handling new input and interaction models, compilation and build support, accessibility and internationalization, and platform-specific integration capabilities. “We want to help you make use of the underlying operating system more flexibly, while reusing as much of the original UI and logic as you choose.”
On macOS, Flutter supports both Intel and Apple chip families, providing common binary support, allowing applications to be packaged as native executables on both architectures. On the Linux side, Flutter has partnered with Canonical to deliver a highly integrated, best-in-class development option.
In addition, Flutter 3 has made many basic design improvements, including enhanced performance, support for Material You, and other productivity feature updates.
Sneath stressed that the new version also runs natively on Apple chips and supports development. While Flutter has been compatible with Apple devices with M1 chips since its release, the new version takes full advantage of Dart’s support for Apple chips, resulting in faster compilation on M1 devices and support for universal binaries for macOS applications.
Development of Material Design 3 is also largely complete in this release, allowing developers to take advantage of the dynamic color schemes and visual component updates in this cross-platform design system:
Flutter is developed by Dart language. During the development cycle of Flutter 3, the team completed the work of reducing boilerplate, improving readability, providing experimental support for RISC-V architecture, upgrading linter and updating documentation for Dart.
Firebase and Flutter
Application building goes far beyond UI frameworks. Application publishers need a complete set of tools to build, publish, and operate projects, covering services such as authentication, data storage, cloud functions, and device testing. Flutter is currently widely supported by many services, including Sentry, AppWrite, and AWS Amplify.
Firebase, an app service provided by Google, is one of them. According to the SlashData developer benchmark results, 62% of Flutter developers use Firebase in their applications. So in the past few versions, the development team has been working closely with Firebase, hoping to further enhance the integration and coordination effect of Flutter. Specifically, it includes upgrading Flutter’s Firebase plugin to version 1.0, adding better documentation and tools, and introducing new features such as the Flutter Fire UI, helping developers get reusable authentication and configuration UI UI.
In version 3.0, it was officially announced that the level of Flutter/Firebase integration has been further improved, and all core functions of Firebase are now supported. “**We are moving source code and documentation to the main Firebase repo and site, and will continue to sync Firebase support across Android and iOS.”
There are also a series of major improvements in progress, including support for Crashlytics, Firebase’s popular real-time crash reporting service, in Flutter apps. With the Flutter Crashlytics plugin update, you can track critical errors in real-time and get the same feature set as other iOS and Android developers. There are several important alerts and metrics, such as “Crash Free Users”, to help you understand the actual stability of your application. The Crashlytics analytics pipeline has also been upgraded with improved Flutter crash clustering to help you triage, prioritize, and fix issues faster. Finally, the plugin setup process has also been simplified, with Crashlytics up and running from Dart code in just a few steps.
Flutter Casual Game Kit
It’s worth mentioning that the most important aspect of version 3.0 is Google’s decision to support casual game development through its Casual Game Toolkit, a collection of templates and best practices, advertising credits, and cloud services.
Google’s Flutter team hasn’t tried to meet the needs of game developers before, although there have been some third-party efforts in these directions, most notably through the Flame game engine, which reached the 1.0 milestone last December .
Sneath said in an interview with the media that Flame is targeting the kind of games that are more demanding than casual game toolkits.
“A lot of what we’re trying to offer in our casual gaming toolkit is complementary to Flame,” he said, referring to tasks such as integrating with Apple’s Game Center or Google Play game services.
To give people an idea of Flutter’s potential as a game framework, Google developed a Flutter web pinball game as a demo, powered by Firebase and Flutter for the web. Combining four of Google’s most beloved characters: Flutter’s Dash, Firebase’s Sparky, Android bots, and Chrome dinosaurs, the game’s goal is to get the highest score.
It won’t blow your mind with surreal sphere physics or push the boundaries of browser-based games, but it’s a passable pinball simulation and might help convince aspirants of indie game developers use Flutter to create the next Wordle. “We think that in this interesting way, more friends can experience Flutter’s rich functional design.”
Over 500,000 apps built with Flutter
Sneath said with emotion: “When we embarked on a journey of discovery with Flutter, the purpose was to completely change the way applications are developed: combining the iterative development model of web applications with the hardware-accelerated graphics rendering and pixel-level control in previous game software. .”
He said that in the four years since the release of Flutter 1.0 beta, the team has gradually refined and polished on this basis, released more new framework functions and functional components, and deeply integrated with the underlying platform, while bringing a richer toolkit. Library and performance/tool improvements.
Today, there are more than 500,000 apps built with Flutter, double the number during Google I/O last year. According to recent official user surveys, Flutter has become a favorite application building solution for developers:
91% of developers believe that Flutter reduces app build and release time.
85% of developers believe that Flutter improves the visual look and feel of their apps.
85% of developers believe that Flutter helps them publish their apps on more platforms. Sneath also mentioned in the interview that ByteDance is a major user of Flutter, estimating that it has about 80 Flutter-based applications. “They’re really leading this multi-platform story,” Sneath said. “They’re able to unify their skills, they’re able to unify their development, their infrastructure and their models, and reach out to all these disparate platforms.”
When asked about the relatively small number of packages available to Flutter developers, Sneath said the Flutter community has been stepping up to fill the gap, both on an individual and enterprise level.
“Companies like Microsoft and Amazon are writing plugins, and communities are starting to band together and pool their resources around common packages that others use or want to see,” he said. “We now have over 23,000 in the Flutter ecosystem. bags, and that number is growing rapidly, both in terms of quantity and quality of those bags.”
The text and pictures in this article are from InfoQ
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