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The Best Tips You Should Know About Using Flutter

Tech giant Android is probably one of the most popular operating systems worldwide, but it is nowhere near to becoming the only mobile OS. So, if you want your app to reach most of the mobile users then you need to work on other platforms as well, including iOS.

Flutter from Google is a new UI tool that promises to make developers able to cut their development time by letting them develop UIs for both Android and iOS from a common code base.

The goal of this application is to enable developers to produce high-performance applications that feel natural on various platforms.

More About Flutter

This tool is built using C and C++ and provide us:

  • 2D rendering engine
  • React-inspired functional-reactive framework
  • set of Material Design widgets

Its current version is alpha:0.0.20 but in spite of its early stage, it’s already able to create:

  • complex interfacing
  • perform networking
  • file management

Flutter approach in a different way. For example, Cordova which runs over a WebView executing  HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Flutter just use Dart as a single programming language.

What Is Dart Language?

Dart is an open source general-purpose programming language. It is developed by Google and later approved as a standard by ECMA(European Computer Manufacturers Association).

Dart basically a class-based, single-inheritance, pure object-oriented programming language.

Why use Flutter?

1. Be highly productive

  • Using a single code base we can develop the application for iOS and Android both.
  • We can do more functionalities with less code, modern, expressive language and a declarative approach even on a single OS.
  • Easily iterable.
  • We don’t need to start from the first, after fixing we can continue debugging from where the app left off.

2. It’s highly customizable from the user experience.

  • Material design and Cupertino ( iOS flavor) widgets can be built using Flutter’s own framework.
  • Realize custom, beautiful, brand-driven designs, without the limitations of OEM widget sets.

How to install on Linux?

System Requirements

The development environment must meet these minimum requirements to install Flutter:

  • Operating System Linux (64 Bits)
  • Storage 600 MB
  • Tools: These command line tools must be available in your development environment
    • bash, mkdir, rm, git, curl, unzip, which

How to get Flutter SDK

  • Download the following installation bundle to get the latest beta release of the Flutter SDK from flutter_linux_v0.7.3-beta.tar.xz
  • Extract the file into a specific location using terminal command.
    • $ cd ~/development
    • $ tar xf ~/Downloads/flutter_linux_v0.7.3-beta.tar.xz
  • Just add the flutter tools in your specific path
    • $ export PATH=`pwd`/flutter/bin:$PATH

These commands set your path temporarily, for the current window. Use these command to permanently add Flutter to your path

  • Keep in mind where you have placed your Flutter SDK as you will need this in Step 3.
  • You have to open or create $HOME/.bash_profile but keep in mind that the file path or filename will be different in your machine.
  • You have to add the following line and change [PATH_TO_FLUTTER_GIT_DIRECTORY] to the path where you want to clone Flutter’s git repo:
    • $ export PATH=[PATH_TO_FLUTTER_GIT_DIRECTORY]/flutter/bin:$PATH
  • Run source $HOME/.bash_profile as you will need this to refresh the current window.
  • Verify that the flutter/bin directory is now in your PATH according to your machinery by running the following code:
    • echo $PATH

How to Install Flutter in Android Studio?

Flutter support in Android Studio version 3.0 and above.

Also, you can use IntelliJ Idea Community or  IntelliJ Idea Community Idea Ultimate version 2017.1 or later.

Two plugins are supported Flutter

  • Flutter developer’s workflow has been affected by a huge amount as it powers up by The Flutter plugin (running, debugging, hot reload, etc).
  • Code analysis is been offered by the Dart plugin (code validation as you type, code completion, etc.)

Installation steps are:

  • Start the Android Studio.
  • Go to Plugins (For macOS click on Preferences then go to Plugins, for Windows & Linux goto File, then click on Settings, then you will get Plugins option).
  • Click on  Browse repositories…, search and select the Flutter plug-in and click install.
  • Click on Yes when prompted to install the Dart plugin.
  • Click Restart Android Studio when prompted.

Give It A Try!

So, as you are reading this now, I feel like you have understood the basic structure and principles of Google’s newest installment, namely Flutter.

Found it worth giving a try? Then what are you waiting for?

Start developing and iterating!

Swarnendu De

Swarnendu is the Co-founder and Lead architect at Innofied. For the last seven years, he has been working with numerous JavaScript technologies including Backbone.js, Node.js, ExtJS, Sencha, and so on, and has developed more than 50 complex JavaScript-based applications thus far. He is the author of the book Backbone.js Patterns and Best Practices. Swarnendu regularly writes at his personal blog, Innofied Blog, the Tuts+ network, and provides support and assistance for JavaScript, Sencha and much more around the web. You can reach him through his website at http://www.swarnendude.com or via Twitter at @swarnendude