Google's Flutter SDK for Android and iOS apps now available in beta

Angelica Greene
March 2, 2018

And today, at the MCW 2018, Google announced a major update, as developers can now access the beta version of the Flutter Framework SDK. Google wrote, "Since our alpha release past year, we delivered, with help from our community, features such as screen reader support and other accessibility features, right-to-left text, localization and internationalization, iPhone X and iOS 11 support, inline video, additional image format support, running Flutter code in the background, and much more".

When the folks behind "Hamilton" wanted to build an app for the smash musical quickly a year ago, they turned to a little-known mobile software framework called Flutter that Google quietly previewed just a few months earlier to help developers create user interfaces more easily.

Furthermore, unlike other cross-platform alternatives, Flutter doesn't run in a device's WebView or use some kind of bridging mechanism to leverage native iOS or Android widgets such as buttons, listviews and so on. The Flutter community doesn't stop at the issue tracker though; Google has put together a Gitter chat room for developers to help each other out, and the community has built multiple sites for discussion and learning such as the Flutter Institute, Start Flutter, and Flutter Rocks. It features high-velocity development with features including stateful Hot Reload, new reactive framework, rich widget set, and integrated tooling.

"Flutter compiles to native ARM code".

Flutter is an open-source technology, so it already has a package library. That includes the iPhone and the iPad which allows developers the luxury to create apps with the least of fuss. You get your app, a new engine to run the Flutter code on, and enough native code to get the Flutter platform running on Android and iOS.

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With an entry into beta, Flutter is quickly becoming a big deal at Google.

Officially, Flutter is in beta but has been under development and used internally at Google for quite some time now. Use of the Dart language allows for a "hot reload" developer cycle, where many code changes can be seen instantly, live in the emulator. These packages support a variety of third-party solutions and services, including SQLite, Firebase, Facebook Connect and GraphQL. He said there have already been millions of installations of the Flutter alpha version, and several hundred apps built with Flutter have been published.

What's more, Flutter has a limited amount of C and C++ code. Google says there are already hundreds of Flutter apps out there in the Android and iOS app stores, but the most popular example is the Hamilton: The Musical (iOS/Android) app. If you want it to, a Flutter app really can feel just like a native app on both platforms.

New beta builds are expected to arrive about once every four weeks.

Other reports by GizPress

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