Flutter and the Tao of Eclipse


I decided I wanted to investigate Flutter, Google’s mobile application SDK that can be used to create both Android and iOS applications. It purports to be easy to use even for beginners. Then I started down the gauntlet of installing and configuring it for Windows.


1 Install Git for Windows with a specific configuration and your choice of editors (and Powershell if not on Windows 10)

2 Download the Flutter SDK and unzip it and launch the bat file.

3 Update your path

4 Run Flutter Doctor to see if you are missing dependencies

5 Install Android Studio (even if you’re going to edit in a different editor. Why would you need if you are targeting iOS only?)

6 Setup your Android device running 4.1 or higher

7 Setup the Android emulator including enabling hardware acceleration on your PC


OK, that’s page one. Ever since Eclipse was introduced development tools have become almost more complicated to setup and configure than the actual application would be to write. IMO we’ve transitioned from our role as software developers to configurators and integrators. There’s nothing “integrated” in IDE’s these days.

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Flutter and the Tao of Eclipse”

  1. skane2600

    "Ever" not "Every". Must ... edit ... post... but ... can't.

  2. Paul Thurrott

    I agree with this, and just experienced this terribleness. It's ridiculous.

    Also, will fix the edit you note. Sorry about that.

  3. ecumenical

    Two small points on this subject:

    1. MS doesn't get enough credit for its dev tools. I know every die-hard VS user will chime in with their particular annoyance, but honestly VS and VS Code are the clear leaders in their categories.
    2. For Google, Windows is always a distant afterthought and I get the sense they still seek to "punish" Microsoft customers into switching platforms. Try getting this set up on a Mac and I'm guessing it's half the steps. It's BS but that's the Google MO.
    • skane2600

      In reply to ecumenical:

      The only thing simpler about installation on the Mac seems to be that you don't have to install some utilities that come with the OS since it's Unix-based. You still have to install the Android SDK regardless of whether you're targeting Android or not and (as I forgot to mention in my original post) that means installing Java as well. Kind of ironic that the first step in being able to write Android apps without Java is installing Java.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to ecumenical:

      I feel like Microsoft is in fact well respected by the developer community for the quality of its tools. The issue is that most new app/services development is not happening on Microsoft platforms.

      • ecumenical

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Agreed on both points. I just meant that VS and VS Code are fantastic products that get little attention outside the people who use them.

        The fact that VS Code took over as the most popular text editor in the span of about two years, against very well-established alternatives and developer habits, tells you all you need to know. If they did that in a more visible market it'd be huge news.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to ecumenical:

      My most recent experience with installing Flutter was on the Mac. It's not easy by a long shot and requires complex terminal command lines, etc. This thing is terrible.

  4. maethorechannen

    Why would you need if you are targeting iOS only?

    There's probably an assumption that if you're only targeting iOS then you're on a Mac and would be following the Mac instructions (which involves installing Xcode at that point).

    Though if you're only targeting iOS, why would you be using Flutter in the first place?

    There’s nothing “integrated” in IDE’s these days.

    What really bugs me with IDEs is that they're huge, complicated and often finicky, but it's always assumed that a developer just somehow knows how to use it so training is virtually non-existent. And who wants to go to their manager to ask for training, even if it was available? I get the feeling this is why so many people have gone back to code editor + command line, as that's basically all you were using an IDE for anyway.

    • skane2600

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      "There's probably an assumption that if you're only targeting iOS then you're on a Mac and would be following the Mac instructions (which involves installing Xcode at that point)."

      Except that you have to install Android Studio on the Mac too to use flutter, so the requirement has nothing to do with which platform your running on. In fact I should have made a stronger statement: Why should you have to install Android Studio even if you're just targeting Android with Flutter? The answer is that Google didn't want to bother to breakout what was needed for Flutter development so they make you install the whole thing including the Java environment you don't need.

      "Though if you're only targeting iOS, why would you be using Flutter in the first place?"

      I don't see your logic. One should be interested in using Flutter only to target both Android and iOS, but neither one separately?

  5. dcdevito

    I also am learning Flutter on Windows 10 but I'm using VSCode. Otherwise I guess I'm just used to setting up an Android device environment because I didn't find Flutter any better or worse than Android dev in general, and I already had Android Studio and adb set up. I always treat adb differently and separate so perhaps that's why I don't find it that horrible?

    • skane2600

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Well, you did some of the work before, so adding the Flutter tools was easier naturally. But to promote a new tool it's best to minimize the friction in installing and configuring it.

      Historically developers have been willing to put up with a lot of primitive s**t (perhaps as proof of their "manliness" as devs) but it's 2018 and there's no excuse for a "good enough for developers" attitude toward usability IMO.

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