Today Google is launching Flutter 1.0, the first stable release of its open-source, cross-platform UI toolkit and SDK. Flutter lets developers share a single code base across Android and iOS apps, with a focus on speed and maintaining a native feel. The announcement was made today at Google’s Flutter Live conference in London—a show dedicated entirely to the launch of Google’s new developer track.
Flutter enables cross-platform app code by sidestepping the UI frameworks of both Android and iOS. Flutter apps run on the Flutter rendering engine and Flutter framework, which are shipped with every app. The Flutter platform handles communication with each OS and can spit out Android and iOS binaries with native-looking widgets and scrolling behavior if desired. It’s kind of like applying a “video game” style of development to apps: if you write for a game engine like Unity or Unreal, those engines are packaged with your game, allowing it to run on multiple different platforms. It’s the same deal with Flutter.
Flutter apps are written in Dart, and the SDK offers programmers nice quality-of-life benefits like the “stateful hot reload,” a way to instantly make code changes appear in the emulator. For IDEs, there are plugins for Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, and IntelliJ. Apps come with their own set of Flutter UI widgets for Android and iOS, with the iOS widgets closely following Apple’s guidelines and the Android widgets following Google’s Material Design.