Google Brings Flutter to the Web in Technical Preview

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Chrome OS, Cloud, Dev, Google, iOS, Mac and macOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 2 Comments

Google had previously announced plans to bring Flutter, its cross-platform mobile development framework, to the web. This week at I/O, however, the firm demonstrated this capability and released a technical preview.

“Today marks an important milestone for the Flutter framework, as we expand our focus from mobile to incorporate a broader set of devices and form factors,” a blog post credited to the Flutter Team notes. “At I/O, we’re releasing our first technical preview of Flutter for web, announcing that Flutter is powering Google’s smart display platform including the Google Home Hub, and delivering our first steps towards supporting desktop-class apps with Chrome OS.”

To date, Flutter has provided a way to build apps that run on both Android and iOS while retaining the unique look and feel of each platform. But the firm previewed Flutter’s coming desktop capabilities back in February, when it announced that its future involves web, Windows, and Mac development as well. Today, Google is adding Linux and embedded to that list, too.

This week’s technical preview is the first step, and it adds support for Flutter-based web apps.

“Flutter for the web is a great way to build highly interactive, graphically rich content, where the benefits of a sophisticated UI framework are keenly felt,” Google explains, “It is not as a general purpose replacement for the document experiences that HTML is optimized for.”

Flutter for the web will deliver “fast, jank-free” 60 fps interactive graphics, consistent behavior and visuals with Flutter on other platforms, high-productivity developer tooling that integrates with existing development patterns, and support for core web features across all modern browsers. Google says. Going forward, the firm will add support for basic text features (copy/paste, selection), plugins, Progressive Web Apps, DevTools debugging, and more.

On the mobile side, Flutter 1.5 is out now, too, adding “hundreds of changes in response to developer feedback, including updates for new App Store iOS SDK requirements, updates to the iOS and Material widgets, engine support for new device types, and Dart 2.3 featuring new UI-as-code language features.”

Flutter for Desktop and Flutter for Embedded Devices are both available in experimental forms, too, and Google is issuing a new comprehensive Flutter training course for those looking to get started with this exciting framework.

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