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InfoQ Homepage News Flutter Release Preview 1 Supports ML Kit and More

Flutter Release Preview 1 Supports ML Kit and More

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Google recently announced Flutter Release Preview 1. Flutter is an open-source framework for cross-platform app development for both iOS and Android. Flutter Release Preview 1 includes support for hardware keyboards and barcode scanners, video recording, ML Kit, an update on Flutter extension for Visual Studio Code, and more.

According to Google, Flutter has been growing rapidly since the first beta in February, compared to many other popular open source projects. One common measure of popularity and momentum is the number of GitHub stars, with Flutter recently becoming one of the top 100 software repos on GitHub. Furthermore, some early adopters of Flutter have started to publish their work on the Apple Store and Google Play, such as Alibaba, Groupon, and Google adWords.

Like other frameworks, Flutter supports using shared packages contributed by other developers. This allows developers to quickly build their apps without having to develop everything from scratch. The community has been contributing with many plugins, including:

  • Flutter platform widgets: an attempt to see if it is possible to create widgets that are platform aware
  • mlkit: a wrapper for the Firebase ML Kit APIs
  • Sequence Animation: which helps with constructing a series of connected animations
  • Device info: get current device information from within the Flutter application
  • Path provider: a plugin for finding commonly used locations on the filesystem

The Flutter team focus has shifted slightly towards scenario completeness, improving and broadening support for plugins, such as a video player package with broader format support and reliability improvements; extended Firebase support to include Firebase Dynamic Links; and support for 32-bit iOS devices with ARMv7 chips, enabling Flutter apps to run on older devices like the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5c.

The Flutter extension for Visual Studio Code has been updated, bringing a new outline view, statement completion, and the ability to launch emulators directly from Visual Studio Code.

Developers can also try Flutter Studio, a Flutter tooling from the community to create Flutter-based user interfaces. The tool has property editors for each of the 50+ Flutter widgets it supports, so it's a good way to explore the widget catalog. The tool itself is written in Dart.

You can learn more about Flutter from Google I/O 2018, newsletters, hands-on videos, developer shows, discussion groups, chat rooms, and community support. If you want to try out Flutter Release Preview 1, just follow the installation instructions.

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