Google Flutter 2.8, the latest version of the company’s open source, cross-platform toolkit for building web, mobile, and desktop applications, has been released, highlighted by mobile performance improvements and improved compatibility with back-end services.
The Flutter 2.8 release on December 8 coincided with the 1.0 release of the Flame modular 2D game engine, a game engine built on Flutter that offers a collection of tools for building games quickly.
Google said mobile apps built with Flutter 2.8 should start faster and use less memory. The company said it has leveraged its experiences with large Google apps like Google Pay to make Flutter more performant and to provide better tools to guide profiling and optimisation.
Flutter 2.8 also makes it easier to to connect to back-end services including Firebase and Google Cloud. Production-quality support for Google Ads is featured, along with major updates to the camera and embedded web plug-ins.
The Flutter 2.8 release also includes Dart 2.15, an update to the programming language that brings concurrency improvements, enhanced enumerations, and optimisations that provide a 10 percent reduction in memory utilisation.
Developer productivity is boosted in Flutter 2.8 with capabilities including stateful hot reload. Google also is exploring higher-level abstractions to make it easier for developers to get running faster. Among these is a sign-in widget that uses Firebase to handle authentication. The widget deals with tasks such as two-factor authentications and users’ password resets.
Flutter is for building multi-platform applications from a single codebase. It is intended to change how apps are built, allowing mobile, web, desktop, and embedded applications to be developed using a single toolkit. The framework now features 375,000 apps on the Google Play store, as well as iOS apps available on the Apple App Store. Instructions for getting started with Flutter 2.8 can be found at the Flutter website.
Beyond Flutter 2.8, engineering teams on the project in the past year have rewritten developer tools, shipped null safety and web support, completed a foreign function interface for native code integration, and added initial Material You design support.
For 2022, plans call for more investments in the core developer experience, including language enhancements, documentation updates, and higher-level abstractions for building sophisticated apps with Flutter. Stable desktop support will be completed as well. Interoperability also will be expanded with other platforms.