After releasing multiple stable versions for developing high-quality Android and iOS apps, Flutter has announced support for Windows. With this new support, Flutter aims to broaden its mission of providing developers with an open-source, efficient framework for building native apps. Flutter has already become a widely used tool for top-quality Android app development across the world. There is no denying that the popularity of Windows for desktop and laptop devices is unparalleled. So, this announcement is pivotal for Flutter’s growth as a development framework. It’s an alpha release that Flutter will stabilize over the coming months.
Microsoft has reported more than a billion active devices running on Windows 10. Besides, over half of the Flutter developers use a Windows device. With the native desktop app support, Flutter opens a world of possibilities. These include enhanced developer tooling, reduced friction for beginners, and the capability to use a single codebase, among other things.
Flutter for Windows App Development
Flutter is Google’s cross-platform UI toolkit that enables you to reuse code across operating systems. Besides, Flutter also allows applications to interfere directly with the underlying platform services. The core of the Flutter app development framework provides the primitives necessary to support all Flutter apps. The framework is also responsible for rasterizing composite scenes whenever you need to create a new scene. It provides a low-level implementation of Flutter’s core API that includes graphics, text layout, and plugin architecture, among other elements.
Whenever Google adds a new platform, Flutter expands the core framework with new services. This enables Flutter to excel on the new platform, like the newly supported Windows. And these changes are not limited to just the core engine. Here are some other key elements that are impacted when Flutter adds a new platform.
• Toolchain updates add new targets to the CLI and IDE tools.
• Shell support for handling input from a new platform.
• Runner capability to enable a shell application for supported targets.
• Plugin support for each new platform with added native code.
How to Get Started with Flutter for Windows
Install the Flutter SDK according to the Windows installation instruction. You first need to install the tooling described in Flutter’s desktop docs to target Windows desktop apps. Flutter assumes by default that you are developing production software and is not configured to develop Windows app. Nonetheless, you can easily fix that by using the below commands.
$ flutter channel dev
$ flutter upgrade
$ flutter config –enable-windows-desktop
The first command enables you to use the experimental-quality development channel instead of a stable channel. You can now use the alpha platform support to build Windows apps. With the second command, you can pull down the latest bits on the “dev” channel. The third command lets you execute Windows app development on your machine.
Flutter Plugins for Windows
With this alpha version of Windows support, Flutter has also released several plugins to boost your development. Here are a few of the plugins for Windows:
• url_launcher: Enables you to launch URLs in the browser from your app.
• path_provider: Lets you find the path to special directions on the user’s machine-like Documents or temp.
• shared_preferences: Keeps user preferences serialized on disk between sessions of your app
• biometric_storage: Allows storage encrypted by biometrics.
• flutter_audio_desktop: Enables you to play audio from your desktop apps.
Most of these plugins also support other platforms. So, along with Windows, they also enable you to target apps on Android, iOS, and web. A significant number of these packages don’t have platform-specific code. Besides, they are of the best quality and part of the Flutter Favorite program.
Build Your Own Plugins for Windows
You can also build your own plugin once you are on the dev channel. If you have windows enabled for your PC, you can use the below command.
$ flutter create –template plugin –platforms windows hello_plugin
The command will enable you to add Flutter code to the lib subfolder and the Windows code to the Windows subfolder in your plugin project. You can also use Dart FFI to load libraries and call it C-style APIs like the Win32 API.
Development Resources for Windows
Before starting your Flutter app development for Windows, make sure that you read the desktop documentation on flutter.dev. Also, you should consider reading the Flutter codelab for writing Windows, macOS, and desktop-targeted apps. This includes code for real-world scenarios.
Finally, keep in mind that this is an alpha release intended to provide a solid foundation for your Flutter app development journey targeting Windows. Google will stabilize this release over the coming months to improve its functionality and efficiency. This version offers support for Windows 7 and above. Flutter announced that it would soon complete the remaining work, including accessibility, globalization, localization, and enhancing text and keyboard handling, among other things. At Android Developer, a mobile app development company, we use the Flutter UI toolkit to build a feature-rich and flawless app for a diverse range of clients. We are excited to use the new Windows support to build seamless desktop apps.
Q. What is desktop app development?
Desktop applications are built to run on a desktop or laptop computer. Contrasting with Web-based application, which requires the Web browser to run, desktop apps can be locally installed on the computer using software such as Windows Installer and run on the Windows operating system.
Q. What is Flutter app development?
Q. What is Flutter for mobile app development?
Flutter is an open-source software development kit created by Google. Flutter is used to develop apps for operating systems including Android, iOS, and Mac. Flutter is user friendly and easy-to-learn.
Q. How much does it cost to build a Flutter app?
The costs of developing a Flutter app depend on several factors. Design complexity, development time, type of features, etc. play an important role in calculating the costs. Android Developer delivers flawless Flutter apps at a competitive price.