Flutter, Google’s hybrid development toolkit has released its version 1.2. The new version offers better performance improvements, including support for iOS 14 and Android 11, various UI improvements, text autofill, a new unified Dart tool, and much more. With the new release, Flutter is trying to enhance app development as well as boost user experience.
Flutter took hybrid or cross-platform app development by storm since its initial days. It addressed many of the critical challenges faced by hybrid app developers in addition to improving the performance of a hybrid app vis a vis native app. With every new update, the platform has been bringing new features and fixing issues. In October, Google released a new version of Flutter 1.2.
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What Flutter 1.2 mean for hybrid app development? Let’s look at the key takeaways from the new release for hybrid developers.
- Extensive support for iOS 14 and Android 11: The new version focuses on supporting iOS 14 and Android 11 and provides great support for building apps on these mobile OS versions. For iOS 14, it offers an increase in its default from 8.0 to 9.0, support for the new Xcode 12, updated support for iOS’ new SF Symbols font, new icons, and preview support App Clips feature. For Android 11, the release supports new display cutouts, smoother animation when the soft keyboard is displayed.
- New universe of buttons: The existing Flutter buttons were hard to use, especially in a custom theme. The new version introduces replacement button widgets and themes which are in sync with Google’s material design specifications.
- Text autofill: Hybrid app developers for long wanted mobile autofill support in Flutter. Their wish has been fulfilled in the new release. Now, users don’t have to re-enter the text that has previously been collected by the OS. This new addition will directly enhance the user experience.
- Google maps and WebView plugins ready for production: With the release of 1.2, Flutter has announced Google Maps and WebView to be production ready. An alternative Platform Views implementation has also been added to fix the various keyboard and accessibility related issues for Android views.
- State restoration for Android: One of the most requested features on Flutter was state restoration for Android or killing background apps to reclaim resources for foreground apps. The new release offers a preview for developers on state restoration for Android. For automated testing of Android state restoration, a new restart and restore API to Widget Tester has been added.
- Smooth scrolling: Unmatched input and display frequencies can cause performance penalty while scrolling. The new Flutter 1.2 release offers a preview for developers using a new resampling-enabled flag. The new flag can result in up to 97% less jank in scrolling.
- New version of Dart (2.10): Flutter 1.2 provides a new version of Dart and a new Dart CLI tool that hybrid developers might find useful. The new version of Dart 2.10 is a unified dart developer tool, for all your needs like creating projects, formatting code, running tests, and compiling apps.
- App size analysis: The new release has a new output size analysis tool to help diagnose whether the breakdown of an app’s size changes over time. Developers can use the tool bypassing an analyze-size flag. A Flutter output artifact provides a summary of the artifact’s size and composition including native code, assets, and a package-level breakdown of compiled Dart code.
In addition to these, Flutter has several other big and small improvements including an updated version of the Network page or import statements and file renaming. Flutter 1.2 makes an honest effort to enhance the app development quality and user experience. There are many useful features in it for cross-platform app developers.