|Flutter 2.0 Increases Web Support|
|Written by Kay Ewbank|
|Monday, 08 March 2021|
Flutter 2.0 has been released. The new version adds support for web development and, according to Google, lets developers start not with the platform an app is targeted at, but rather with the experience the developer wants to create.
Flutter is Google's open source mobile UI framework that until now has provided a way to create native interfaces on iOS and Android. It is a combination of Google's Dart programming language and a runtime environment that is referred to as an app engine in Flutter.
Google says that Flutter is no longer a mobile framework, it's now a portable framework that you can use to create apps to run on multiple devices and platforms without having to change your code (much).
With this in mind, the main improvement in Flutter 2 is support for the web, specifically including platform APIs that support hardware-accelerated 2D and 3D graphics and flexible layout and paint APIs. The full list of technical improvements has been covered in detail in a technical blog on Flutter 2.
This release of Flutter focuses on three types of app: progressive web apps (PWAs) that "combine the web’s reach with the capabilities of a desktop app"; single page apps (SPAs) that load once and transmit data to and from internet services; and the means to bring existing Flutter mobile apps to the web, so code is shared for both environments.
To achieve this, Google has worked on performance optimization, adding a new CanvasKit-powered rendering engine built with WebAssembly. The developer have also added text autofill, control over address bar URLs and routing, and PWA manifests. The team has also added interactive scrollbars and keyboard shortcuts, increased the default content density in desktop modes, and added screen reader support for accessibility on Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS.
Google has also released a beta version of Google Mobile Ads for Flutter, a new SDK that works with AdMob and AdManager to offer a variety of ad formats, including banner, interstitial, native, and rewarded video ads.
Alongside the improvements in the new version, Google announced three partnerships showing how Flutter is becoming more mainstream. Canonical has worked with Google on moving Flutter to the desktop, and is making Flutter is the default choice for future desktop and mobile apps created by Canonical.
Microsoft is also expanding its support for Flutter, with both a collaboration with Google to offer "high-quality" Windows support in Flutter, and Microsoft contributions to the Flutter engine that support the foldable Android devices. Apps on foldable devices can either expand content or provide "side-by-side" experiences.
The third partnership sees car-maker Toyota using Flutter to build its in-car infotainment systems. Google says Toyota chose Flutter because of its high performance and consistency of experience, fast iteration and developer ergonomics as well as smartphone-tier touch mechanics.
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