Google's Flutter developer tool has graduated from preview status. Google today announced Flutter 1.0 and made it available to developers. This interesting tool will let developers create apps that look and run the same on Android and iOS devices. The goal is to create a seamless experience for all.
Flutter should make things easier for developers who write apps for both Android and iOS. Flutter looks to solve the problem developers face today, which requires them to build the same app twice, or use plug-and-play code modules that bog down the experience. This new tool provides hardware-accelerated graphics and user interface for Android and iOS through native ARM code.
"Flutter doesn't replace the traditional Apple and Android app models for building mobile apps; instead, it's an app engine that you can either embed into an existing app or use for an entirely new app," explained Google in a blog post.
Google sees four tentpoles supporting Flutter: design tools, speed, efficiency, and openness.
Google wants apps to look good and run well. That's why Flutter lets develoeprs control every pixel on the screen. Compositing tools let developers overlay and animate graphics, video, and text without limitations. It includes a full set of widgets for "pixel-perfect experiences" on both Android and iOS. Google further calls it "the ultimate realization of Material Design."
Google wouldn't be Google if it didn't prioritize speed. Flutter relies on the hardare-accelerated Skia 2D graphics engine that's behind Chrome and Android. It will work hand-in-hand with device hardware to support glitch-free graphics. This is all powered by the Dart platform, which lets developers tap 32-bit and 64-bit ARM code.
Flutter introduces stateful hot reload. Google calls this a new way fror mobile developers and designers to iterate their apps in real time. For example, developers can change the code in their app and see the results immediately -- without restarting the app or losing its state. Google believes this will be transformational.
Flutter is open source. It relies on a BSD-style license and includes contributions from developers around the globe. An ecosystem of plugi-ins is available for augmenting code. Everything in the underlying operating system of Flutter is accessible, including the code and UI written in Kotlin, Java, Swift, and Objective-C.
Google has been testing Flutter since February. The platform saw major releases in May, June, and September. During this time, Google partnered with some early testers to see just what was possible. One such company was Capital One.
"We are excited by Flutter's unique take on high-performing cross-platform development," said Michael Jones, Senior Director of Engineering from the Capital One. "Our engineers have appreciated the rapid development promise and hot reload capabilities, and over the past year we have seen tremendous progress in the framework and especially the native integration story. Flutter can allow Capital One to think of features not in an 'iOS or Android-first' fashion, but rather in a true mobile-first model. We are excited to see Flutter 1.0 and continue to be impressed with the pace of advancement and the excitement in the engineering community."
Flutter 1.0 includes a handful of new tools. For example, it improves suport for pixel-perfect iOS apps with new widgets, added support for 20 Firebase services, improved performance, and reduces the size of the app. It also closed thousands of issues called out by the community. It also updates to Dart 2.1.