Google Announces Flutter for Windows
(4 February 2022)

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Google Announces Flutter for Windows
Flutter 2.10 enables the development of high-quality Windows apps that also run as native apps on Android and iOS devices as well as web platforms - all from the same codebase!

Flutter is an SDK (software development kit) first released by Google in 2017. It is used to develop cross platform applications from a single codebase. As New Media Aid are seasoned software engineers who are specialised in bespoke Android app development and advanced web app development, our ears pricked up when we first heard about Flutter. Could we really develop native-like apps for multiple platforms (Android, iOS, Linux, Mac & Web) from the same computer code? If so, the cost savings for both the initial development and ongoing maintenance and enhancements would be substantial meaning we could offer even lower prices to our customers for the development of their bespoke apps.

New Media Aid focuses on the development of complex bespoke enterprise apps (integrating with a multitude of APIs, libraries, Bluetooth peripherals, etc.) and therefore we wished to know if such a cross platform solution would cater for our complex needs. Our low cost app engineers have tested rebuilding some of the existing Android apps we developed in the Java programming language and recoded these in the Dart programming language to use Flutter. Dart is an object-oriented, class-based, garbage-collected language with C-style syntax so very similar to the C# language we use for .Net web app development and the Java language we use for Android app development.

Developing bespoke apps in Flutter is very different from "normal" software development as it is based more on widgets rather than code, the Dart code is used to define the hierarchy of the widgets used in the construction of every Flutter application. Basically you are placing widgets on screens (e.g. app bar, row, text, image, forms, scrolling grid, button, etc.) by writing Dart code and it is the Flutter engine which then creates the the native apps for the various platforms (e.g. .apk files for Android apps, .app files for iOS, .msi files for Windows etc.).

Just as with Android and iOS, the Windows implementation of Flutter integrates a Dart framework and C++ engine that communicate through an embedding layer hosting the Flutter engine that translates Windows messages. This allows our app engineers to create apps that look and run well Windows but still work well on other desktop or mobile devices, as well as the web - all from the same codebase!

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