In the last few weeks, Google and Apple have each released the latest version of their respective operating systems. The latest update to Flutter, Google’s cross-platform app development framework, gives developers the best of both Android 11 and iOS 14.
Flutter, if you’re unfamiliar, is an app development platform that makes it possible to create apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, the Web, and most recently Windows devices — all from the same codebase. As it’s developed by Google, the team works hard to support the latest features of each new Android version, such as making Android 10’s dark mode almost too easy to add to your app.
With Flutter 1.22, the first stable release following this year’s Android 11 update, Flutter is adding two key, though admittedly minor, features. The first is the built-in ability to avoid putting important parts of your app inside of a display notch or camera punch hole. The second is that Flutter apps can now be in sync and animated properly when the Android keyboard is opened and closed.
Instead, the more exciting new features of Flutter 1.22 actually come from the iOS 14 update. Starting with this release, Flutter developers can preview the ability to create App Clips — essentially the iOS version of Android’s Instant Apps, check out 9to5Mac for an explainer. Flutter has also included their “Cupertino” styled take on the expanded set of icons that Apple added with iOS 14.
Also with this release, the Flutter team has worked out the issues specific to iOS 14 that made apps run less than perfectly, like crashes and unnecessary clipboard notifications.
Regardless of which platform you develop for, Flutter 1.22 includes a variety of other useful features. Fans of Google’s Material Design will find a new suite of more easily customizable button widgets to use in your apps. Meanwhile, two official plugins that have long been in preview, enabling developers to embed Google Maps or a website into an app, are now considered to be “production ready.”
Now the next big preview feature to look forward to, also arriving with Flutter 1.22, is “state restoration” for Android, or more simply, the ability for a Flutter app to be automatically closed in the background and resumed without losing your place. State restoration will still take a bit of effort on a developer’s part to get working correctly, but in the long run, it should help Flutter apps feel even more native on Android.
Flutter 1.22 also includes a variety of other fixes and improvements under the hood, like a new navigator, an app size tool, and all the upgrades of Dart 2.10, all of which you can read more about on the Flutter blog.
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