Google’s New SDK for Making Cross-Platform Apps Launches in Beta

Google today released its mobile UI framework for building cross-platform applications as a beta. The open-source project, Flutter, lets developers build native cross-platform apps for Android and iOS in Dart.

Flutter is a lot like Facebook’s cross-platform React Native project: it’s designed to make it easy for developers to build cross-platform apps with a shared code base. Like React Native, Flutter lets developers build applications with platform-specific features and access core hardware features on Android and iOS. Flutter also includes one of React Native’s most popular features: Hot Reload, making it dead easy for developers to work on their app without needing to re-compile it every time they make a tiny tweak. Developers can build Flutter applications with Dart 1, but it also works with the pre-release of Dart 2.

Flutter is an open-source technology, so it already has a package library. Google says there are already more than 1000 third-party modules for Flutter that developers can use right away with their apps, including things like Firebase, and GraphQL. React Native obviously had a huge head-start, and its collection of third-party packages is significantly bigger. In addition to the third-party packages, Flutter comes pre-packed with some built-in widgets/components that will further speed up the development of apps which is pretty neat.

The first beta of Flutter is available here right now, and interested developers can also contribute to the development of the project on GitHub here.

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Conversation 11 comments

  • skane2600

    27 February, 2018 - 11:03 am

    <p>Because the future is PWA? Sounds like Google is hedging its bets.</p>

    • ProgrammerAl

      Premium Member
      27 February, 2018 - 11:32 am

      <blockquote><a href="#248977"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>PWA isn't necessarily HTML/Javascript only. In the future we will also have a lot of Web Assembly support to let native apps written in just about any language work through the browser. Google could eventually add support for PWAs to Flutter using Web Assembly (just like MS may someday do with Xamarin (though they already have something else called Blazor)). Since Flutter apps are written with Google's Dart language, it already has stuff built in for working with web UIs (I assume. I'm just guessing on this part). </p>

      • skane2600

        27 February, 2018 - 1:41 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#248987"><em>In reply to ProgrammerAl:</em></a></blockquote><p>Anything is possible, but PWA, Flutter (which, according to the article is about writing native apps) and Web Assembly appear to be more competing ideas than a single integrated approach. If any one of the three were very effective and widely adopted, I don't see why the other two would be necessary.</p>

  • dcdevito

    27 February, 2018 - 11:43 am

    <p>Building anything with Dart is risky, it never seemed to go anywhere. But I'm all for cross platform toolsets</p>

    • maethorechannen

      Premium Member
      27 February, 2018 - 12:10 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#248989"><em>In reply to dcdevito:</em></a></blockquote><p>It feels like it's risky to build anything with anything these days.</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2018 - 11:48 am

    <p>Would this make any difference with regards to PWA's?</p>

    • maethorechannen

      Premium Member
      27 February, 2018 - 11:59 am

      <blockquote><a href="#248990"><em>In reply to Bart:</em></a></blockquote><p>Nope. It's iOS and Android apps only. </p>

      • Bart

        Premium Member
        07 March, 2018 - 3:34 am

        <blockquote><a href="#248992"><em>In reply to maethorechannen:</em></a></blockquote><p>Thanks</p>

  • slbailey1

    27 February, 2018 - 11:51 am

    <p>And Windows is cut out of the picture!</p>

    • skane2600

      27 February, 2018 - 7:25 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#248991"><em>In reply to slbailey1:</em></a></blockquote><p>If Windows had a viable presence in mobile it probably would have been included. It wouldn't make sense for Google to spend additional resources to support an environment with such a insignifcant market share. </p>

  • carlman

    27 February, 2018 - 1:13 pm

    <p>I'm sure Microsoft will be publishig a PWA SDK soon, maybe even a UWP to PWA bridge too…</p>

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