Google today released a new preview version of Flutter to developers. Flutter is Google's set of tools for quickly designing and implementing Android and iOS user interfaces. The company hopes to have a 1.0 release prepared in the near future.
Flutter first flapped to life in February. Google made its first beta release of the platform available then and followed it up with a more official release preview earlier this summer. This second release preview will probably be the last version we see before Flutter reaches full release status.
Google says there are plenty of new things aboard this release of Flutter. The company expanded its support for "Cupertino" controls in Flutter thanks to an extensive library of widgets and classes that specifically target building apps for iOS.
Some of the widgets include CupertinoApp for creating iOS-styled apps; CupertinoTimerPicker for a countdown timer picker; and CupertinoActionSheer for iOS-styled bottom pop-up sheets. In addition to these new tools, others, such as the CupertinoNavigationBar and CupertinoScrollbar have been updated with ways to improve fluidity of your UI.
Google offers assurances that there's plenty of documentation to accompany these Cupertino classes.
Peeking deeper into the release, you'll find that Flutter has added support for executing Dart code in the background, even if the app is in a suspended state. This suspended state is a great opportunity for plugin authors to create new plugins and execute the code when an event is triggered.
As always, Google is keeping an eye on size. It claims it has made beneficial improvements to the application size for both Android and iOS. The minimum app bundle for Android is just 4.7MB, or 2MB smaller than the APK was six months ago. Google notes that improvements are available to iOS as well, but it hasn't quantified how
Thousands of Flutter-based apps have already found their way to the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, according to Google. Some heavy-hitters include Alibaba, Tencent Now, and Google Ads. The toolset is now ranked in the top 50 on GitHub, and more developers adopt the platform every day. As many as 92% of developers who switch to Flutter say they are satisfied with the experience, with 79% noting that Flutter was helpful and quick.
Ready to upgrade? Those already running the beta or preview version of Flutter can run the upgrade from the command line. Those who haven't taken advantage of the early releases can check it out via flutter.io, where all the directions needed to run the platform are located.