Google today announced Flutter 1.17, the latest version of its cross-platform developer framework, and Dart 2.8, the language used by Flutter.
“Our goal is to ship stable releases on a roughly quarterly cadence,” Google product manager Chris Sells explains. “However, this release took a little longer because we’ve been retooling our infrastructure for a new release process. We believe that the new release model will improve our ability to service the stable branch with quality hotfixes.”
Flutter 1.17 provides dramatic code performance and size improvements, especially on iOS, where its use of Metal improves render speeds by 50 percent. It also provides new Material design widgets—in Flutter, everything is a widget—including a NavigationRail for responsive app navigation and a new DatePicker. It also includes big changes to text theming via a new API to ensure that existing apps don’t break, new Google fonts, and improvements to the framework’s accessibility and internationalization capabilities.
“Flutter brings with it the promise of solving a problem that our industry has wrestled with for decades,” Mr. Sells adds. “How can you build great apps from a single source code base across multiple platforms? With all of the power and capability that Flutter provides, we think we’re on a good path to answer that question.”
As for the Dart programming language, Dart 2.8 delivers improved performance, a new tool for ensuring package dependencies are kept up-to-date, and it lays the groundwork for a coming null safety feature, which will one day allow code to access object references safely without triggering null reference exceptions.
As always, Flutter is available from the Flutter website, and the Dart SDK is available from the Dart website. Those using Flutter through an IDE like Visual Studio Code or Android Studio can upgrade to the latest versions using those product’s tools.