A few days ago Google hosted the Flutter Interact 2019 Keynote, a day full of excitement about all the latest releases concerning the Flutter UI development kit. A lot of very cool features have been presented during the event, so here are the most important ones in case you missed any of them.
Google Fonts for Flutter
The first big announcement they made was related to Google Fonts; there is now a Google Fonts Dart Package available allowing you to add and manage your Google Fonts very easily in your Flutter applications. After adding the package, you will get autocomplete available and fonts will get downloaded automatically and installed directly for you. Obviously, Google Fonts are dynamic and cached, and the package will smartly load only the required fonts that your users need, only when they need them; which is important for our APP package size.
The Flutter Engine get upgraded to a new 1.12 update, which include the following new things:
Dark mode available for iOS
New Cuppertino widgets
Android X is now default for new projects
Upgraded "add-to-app" support
A new Flutter Gallery (to try new widgets)
Flutter on Desktop
One of the things that I find very promising with Flutter will be the ability to develop frontend applications for any platforms with pretty good performance thanks to Dart's native compiling capabilities. There is still work to do, but they are definitely making great progress towards it. So let's welcome the release of Flutter for macOS, now in Alpha Version !
Flutter for Web
Another very impressive announcement concerning Flutter being cross-platform was Flutter for Web reaching its Beta milestone, making Flutter ready for active development for the web ! They admitted that there is still lots of fine tuning to be done in terms of performances and browser compatibilities, but another great step forward in making Flutter available everywhere !
If you're a Flutter developer, you are obviously already familiar with the "Hot Reload" feature that the toolkit is offering. But have you heard of the term "Hot UI" ? Although only available for Android Studio at the moment, Hot UI allow you to change directly on the UI some of your widget's parameters, and reflects them instantly into your code files ! I am personally using VS Code for development, and can't wait to see a feature like that being implemented in the near future.
Dev Tools improvements
The first thing to know about Dev tools is that the team proudly announced that they entirely rebuilt it using Flutter. During the keynote, we could see some interesting smart features which will basically help you to identify what could potentially be the issues in your design, by hinting you what widget or parameter could cause the problem. As a developer, I always appreciate this kind of improvements aiming to facilitate our debugging experience.
Multi session debugging in VS Code
I love that one. It is now possible to debug simultaneously on multiple devices using VS Code multi session debugging. They went a bit off track during the keynote by demonstrating it on what they call the "Flutter Octopus", a computer where 7 devices where plugged onto it with hot reload available for each of them. It is also possible to set breakpoints, and to see the call stack for the device from where the breakpoint was triggered ! Pretty awesome, isn't it ?
Supernova & Adobe XD
I will put these 2 together, since they're kind of providing the same capabilities, which is to break the gap there is between designers and developers, by providing a tool that will allow code to be generated from the designer studio directly. If we consider the Adobe XD example, they've partnered with Google in order to provide a solid integration with Flutter, allowing changes from the designer that will directly be reflecting to the code, therefore to your APP (benefiting from the hot reload capabilities); which looks quite amazing on paper. I haven't tested it yet myself, and I am always a bit perplexed about tools allowing code generation, but I believe it is worth having a look at it !
Feel free to let me know what are your thoughts on these recent announcements, but I personally feel that it has been such a strong year for Flutter in terms of adoption, with more and more support from third-parties. I can definitely see a bright future for the technology in the next following years. I see Flutter like what Unity succeed to do for Video Games, but for Application Development here. And you, what do you think about it ?