Google Announces Flutter 1.12, Adobe XD Support, Big Plans

Posted on December 11, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Dev with 3 Comments

Today at Flutter Interact, Google announced Flutter 1.12, the latest version of its cross-platform developer framework. But the firm also revealed new partners, including Adobe, and its big plans for the future, in which Flutter will evolve to support any device and form factor.

“It’s been great to see how Flutter has flourished in the short time since its initial release,” Flutter Product Manager Tim Sneath says. “Well over a million developers are already using Flutter for apps both large and small. In GitHub’s 2019 State of the Octoverse report, Dart and Flutter ranked #1 and #2 for fastest-growing language and open source project respectively over the last twelve months, and Flutter is now one of the ten most starred software repos on their site. And in a recent analysis by LinkedIn, Flutter is described as “the fastest-growing skill among software engineers”.

Flutter 1.12 may not seem like a major release, but it is, as Google says, the fifth stable release of the Flutter framework, and it brings some nice improvements, including a beta version of web support, an alpha release of MacOS support, iOS 13 Dark Mode support, an enhanced Add-to-App experience, and more.

Google also revealed that it is using Flutter more frequently for its own mobile apps. And the Stadia app is the latest example.

“Flutter enabled us to prototype quickly, demonstrate gameplay on Android, and then staff one team to build our cross-platform experience without compromise,” the Stadia team said of its experience with Flutter. “We’re delighted with the results and are continuing to build new features in Flutter.”

Google had previously announced its plans to bring Flutter from mobile—it originally supported both Android and iOS—to desktop (Windows and Mac) and the web. But this week, it revealed an even grander plan to evolve the framework into “a portable toolkit for building beautiful experiences wherever you might want to paint pixels on the screen.” And this will include new form factors like televisions, smartwatches and other wearables, and smart displays like the Google Nest Hub. Google calls this vision “ambient computing.”

To get there, the firm is partnering with others that are contributing tools for designers. For example, Supernova has integrated Flutter into its design and prototyping tool and are announcing a new browser-based tool, called Supernova Cloud, that is built entirely with Flutter’s web support. And Rive, previously 2Dimensions, will support importing Lottie files created with Adobe After Effects into existing Flutter workflows for animated content.

But here’s the biggest news: Adobe today is announcing support for Flutter in its Creative Cloud via a plug-in that exports Adobe XD designs directly into Flutter. The XD to Flutter plugin will be available as open source early next year, Google says, but you can sign-up for early access now on Adobe’s website.

“The XD to Flutter plugin generates Dart code for design elements in XD that can be placed directly into your application’s codebase,” Adobe’s Vijay Vachani says. “With XD to Flutter, you and your team can go from design to a real, working product in just a few minutes and accelerate any decisions you need to make in real time.”

You can learn more about Flutter from the Flutter website.

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Comments (3)

3 responses to “Google Announces Flutter 1.12, Adobe XD Support, Big Plans”

  1. dcdevito

    Flutter has always impressed me. I’ve written a couple of apps for work over the last two years and it’s a really great way to build a fast prototype in little time. I just hope Google keeps it and continues to support it. I wonder if they’ll open up Google Home for third party apps.

    • nicholas_kathrein

      In reply to dcdevito:

      They should be pushing for many years to come. Their new OS to replace all the things will have Flutter as it's primary app building environment. At least that is the word on the streets as they say. That new OS is still a few years away.

  2. christian.hvid

    One thing that the Flutter team still needs to address is the lack of default architectural patterns. There's a wide range of options for managing state, view models and change propagation (setState, Provider, BLoC, inherited widgets, streams, Redux, RxDart and more), but there is no standard, or "native", way to architect your app. The Flutter community will eventually coalesce around a small set of patterns, but in the meantime there will be plenty of confusion among new developers.

    Also on my wish list is that Microsoft would offer some basic level of support for Flutter, like providing SDKs for AppCenter and some key Azure services (mainly authentication, storage and notifications). The way things are right now, Flutter developers are more or less forced to use Firebase as back end, which cannot possibly be in Microsoft's best interest.

    By the way, I like how Dart is now following in the footsteps of C# 8 and introduces non-nullable types. This was always a pitfall in Dart, given how even primitive types like int and bool are nullable by default. Another thing that's sorely missing in Dart is access modifiers. Class members can be either public or private (somewhat crudely distinguished by an underscore prefix on the member name), but there's is no concept of protected members that can be accessed by derived classes.

    Although I generally like Dart - and it's really easy to pick up if you know two or three other languages - I sometimes feel that Flutter would be better off if it was based on the immensely more popular TypeScript. The only real weakness of TypeScript - that it cannot enforce type safety at run time - would be non-issue in an environment like Flutter, where there would be no transpilation into JavaScript.