Well, during a short period of time between (December 2018 and today), Flutter 1 did win many battles in terms of reduced code development time, rendering engine, better time to market, and more. New apps were ideated and brought to life just like the one in the tweet:
Alongside, there were some glitches too that surfaced in the history of flutter, which led to the advent of Flutter 2. The date was March 3, 2021–the developers mark this as a significant day for their course of development.
All thanks to Google for releasing Flutter 2 at an online event. Flutter 2 is everything that Flutter 1 lack, and a large Flutter community can swear by the fact.
Flutter app performance still has some room for improvement, which is brought by Flutter 2. After all, developers finally can cut short their efforts on writing different codes for various operating systems. Flutter 2 facilitates users to write the same code in Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
Though Flutter 2 has recently been here, its benefits over Flutter 1 has started scratching the surface and are coming into the known. All-in-all, if Flutter 1 was the base for optimized app performance among the other dart languages, it is also the stepping stone for the introduction of Flutter 2.
The challenges presented below can shed better light on the shortcomings that Flutter 2 is overcoming.
What are the key challenges observed with Flutter 1?
The recent mobile app development trends hinge on reliability, performance, appearance, and usability. As a result, Flutter developers are hard-pressed to achieve multiple goals under one umbrella using the Dart programming language.
Although the dart programming language features concurrency, flexible compilation, extensive libraries, and is easy to learn, developers of Flutter 1, in particular, did encounter some challenges.
Let’s understand the nature of Flutter 1 challenges:
Instability in 3rd Party libraries:
Though often perceived as a well-maintained and stable UI framework, there are numerous projects which defy popular beliefs. Take, for instance–Bluetooth low energy (BLE).
Now, when you are attempting to search for a library that can cover the unusual cases for working with Bluetooth low energy, you might encounter some challenges.
It is likely that you would narrow down your search to Flutter_blue when finding the most stable library for optimized flutter app performance.
However, when you begin typing–BLE–in pub.dev, you might not even find it in the search results. On the contrary, you might end up locating it at the bottom of the list alongside the disorganized maintained analogues.
Hence, one of the solutions is to copy-paste ‘flutter_blue’ in Gitlab rather than Github. As a result, some of the developers may select the wrong library. Though the solution is available, it does make the search process long and complex.
Numerous developers identify working with localization as a challenge in Flutter. Although it is possible for developers to determine the locale of any device without any complexity, the process for handling the locale-dependent resources is non-existent in nature.
Take, for example, Android. Android is often known for its organized resource management approach. If a developer wishes to use a resource, he has to use it from code. Besides this, the resources are located in different files.
In such a case, developers often bet on the common solution known to the community–JSON files. Though identifying constants as JSON fields might seem easy when it comes to exporting the string constants stored in simple structure in files, it may not protect from exceptions during runtime.
Even though you utilize the Android Studio flutter-i18n plugin, you may find it inconvenient, owing to the addition of special files when the project does not consist of different IDE with distinct configs. Hence, localization is a challenge when working with Flutter 1.
State Saving Issues:
Are you working with Android?
Let me remind you of the thing that you dread the most–the challenge to save state in an application. Regardless of the state saving type, be it saved state or orientation state change, if an operating system kills an application, the situation becomes difficult to handle.
In such a case, Flutter does manage the orientation without any kind of data loss, but an application killed by an operating system may not be able to restore the data using the last session.
In a nutshell, it is appropriate to say that Flutter is competent to resolve the struggle of orientation state change, it falls short when it comes to state saving in case the operating system kills the application and the issue remains unresolved.
Every year, companies launch a spectrum of new devices with new screens, varied pixel densities, as well as orientations. Though it is considered as a routine task, it needs intense attention. Android developers are trained to develop application UI components that are working alongside the density-independent pixels.
In such a case, Flutter 1 offers logical pixels. According to Google, the parent of Flutter, the UI framework does not consist of DPS. But the logical pixels and device-independent pixels are of a similar kind.
However, it is not possible from a practical point of view since building a user interface utilizing sizes using the sketches may not quite bring the same results for every screen.
Though there are numerous top Flutter advantages, when it comes to the aforementioned aspects, you need to shift your focus to Flutter 2 to improve Flutter web app performance.
Flutter 2: What’s New?
It took two long years for Google to introduce a better version–Flutter 2. The updated framework is expected to empower developers towards portable, fast, and beautiful applications.
With the Flutter new version update, it is going to be easier than ever for developers to reuse the code to native apps for the five top operating systems–Linus, macOS, Android, Windows, and iOS.
Besides this, Flutter can also work with the top browsers such as Edge, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. Wait…there’s more to it.
Flutter 2.0 features the capability to be embedded in IoT applications for cars and smart TVs. All-in-all, the underlying aim behind the advent of the Flutter new version update is to focus more on creating the experience for users rather than focusing on the platform.
Let’s find out what’s new in Flutter 2.
Progressive web application can be built with Flutter 2
As per the Flutter new update, the web support is shifted to the stable channel from the beta channel. Given this stable release, the reusability of the code that Flutter supported levelled up to another level. Hence, when a developer attempts to build a Flutter app, the web can also be supported.
Google released Dart 2.3 that provides sound null safety
Talk about Dart language, and you can’t not discuss Sound null safety. It is used to build the type system by separating non-nullable types and nullable types. As a result, developers can avoid null error crashes.
Developing desktop apps with Flutter
In the latest Flutter release, Google has announced the desktop support to the stable channel during an early release flag. Furthermore, text editing offers a native experience to the supported platforms.
New features and improvements in Google’s Flutter brings adaptive UI
The latest Flutter version now supports the production of apps with three platforms–Android, iOS, and web. In addition to this, it also supports Linux, macOS, and Windows. As a result, the source code can be commissioned to Folio for building an app adaptive.
Upgrading the Flutter SDK
Since the Flutter desktop has shifted to beta, Google further launched a Mobile Ads SDK as a new plugin that offers inline banner as well as native ads. Besides this, it also offers existing overlay formats such as rewarded video ads, interstitial, and overlay banners.
Different Between Flutter 1 and Flutter 2
Now that you know about Flutter 1.12, Flutter 2.0, and Flutter 1, you would be able to point out a couple of differences. While Flutter 1 remained the debut UI platform providing good computing, Flutter 2 offers some advanced features and solutions to challenges that had kept developers up with several doses of caffeine.
In order to understand how Flutter 2 is better than Flutter 1, it is crucial to draw a line separating the two UI frameworks.
Flutter 1 offered web support in the beta version. Hence, it required developers to build different codes for different platforms and browsers.
The web support provided by Flutter 2 offers a similar experience on both mobile and web. Owing to the portability of Dart, Flutter framework’s flexibility, and the power of the web platform, the same code can be used to develop apps for Android and iOS.
Sound Null Safety
While developing the Flutter apps, developers often suffered from app crash errors, owing to the null error crashes. This degraded the quality of the apps.
Google introduced Sound null safety to the Dart language. As a result, the system is able to differentiate between non-nullable and nullable types, which helps the developers identify the errors at an early stage in development.
In-built Context Menu
Flutter 1 did not have a built-in context menu, which led the developers to wait for the lag while managing the touch input.
Google introduced Flutter 2 with an in-built context menu that offers foundational features such as text selection and pivot points. In addition to this, the Flutter new features allow developers to use a high precision pointing device.
Flutter 1 did not have desktop support.
In the latest version of Flutter, Google provides a beta version for desktop support for developers to access it on switching to the beta channel.
Google Mobile Ads SDK
It was difficult for the previous Flutter version to load ads.
Besides shifting the Flutter desktop to beta, Google also announced the Google Mobile Ads SDK for Flutter. Using this plugin, developers can launch applications using the new formats.
iOS Search Bar UI
Looking for a library was tough on iOS. Hence, the developers had to undergo the cumbersome process to search for one.
Taking the cue from the feedback submitted by developers, Google introduced the iOS search bar UI.
Widgets: Autocomplete and ScaffoldMessenger
Flutter 1 did not have such widgets.
Flutter 2 has been launched with two new widgets ScaffoldMessenger and Autocomplete.
Add to App
Previously, developers had to write individual codes for both mobile platforms.
Flutter 2 has been introduced with the ability to reuse the Flutter code for Android as well as an iOS platform.
Predicting the Future of the Ionic Framework
Since 2013, the open-source SDK for hybrid app development. It was first developed on Cordova and AngularJS. The framework offers various services and tools for the development of desktop, progressive web apps, and hybrid mobile apps. Developers found it convenient to use Ionic for the development of user-friendly apps that require better market times.
However, in January 2019, Ionic 4 offered users to select the frameworks of their choice from Vue.js, React.js, or Angular.js, which began to create confusion among the developers.
One of the significant challenges of using Ionic is the slowdown of performance while native Android app development. The issue may not seem prominent. However, when heavy applications use Ionic, it enables the application to crawl. Besides this, the Ionic framework takes a lot of time to turn into a live mode, while it doesn’t offer hot reloading with live reloading.
Another issue faced by Ionic developers is the app size. The mobile application written in the Ionic framework is heavy in nature, owing to the inclusion of the plugins–Native Ionic plugins, Capacitor, and Cordova.
Frankly, the Ionic frameworks have numerous challenges, which has hard pressed the developers to rethink the app development approach using the now better version of Flutter.
What are the Top Advantages of Flutter 2?
The release of Flutter 2 is only recent. Hence, it may be possible that you might be sceptical about the use of Flutter 2 for your next project. If that is the case, it is crucial to understand the benefits that Flutter 2 brings to the table for the Flutter app development.
Find out the top benefits of Flutter 2
Same business logic and UI for all platforms
Take any cross-platform framework, for instance, it will offer a solution to reuse the codebase between the targeted platforms. However, there were no application frameworks that enabled the reuse of UI code as well as UI but Flutter 2.
Decreased time to code development
When you develop an Android app, sometimes it takes a long time to ship the code into the test device. However, the hot reload feature in Flutter 2 enables the developers to view the most recent changes without hampering the current application state.
Better time to market
Developers often find Flutter 2 functions better than the previous version. Since Flutter 2 is compatible with numerous operating systems, developers can reuse the code and save their numerous man-hours on the app development.
Better user experience
It is a known fact that the user experience of Native app development is way better than that of the hybrid app development. The current version of Flutter 2 offers better libraries and plugins for improving the performance of even hybrid apps.
Using Flutter, developers can explore a vast number of functionalities to use–Flutter Desktop Embeddings and Flutter for Web.
Key takeaway: Dart Programming language has a long way to go
However, all thanks to Google’s Flutter SDK launch, developers can now create natively compiled apps that popularized and led to the mass dissemination of the programming language. Flutter 1 set the benchmark for the advent of Flutter 2.
Similarly, when developers start using Flutter 2 for the iOS app development and Android app development, they will be able to identify the gaps, which the new version will again offset.
There is a vast community of Flutter, which keeps on using the framework and testing it. All-in-all, Dart and Flutter together hold high potential for the developers to chart the course of the future app development approaches.