Flutter: Google’s new cross-platform mobile framework
Google has released Flutter, their open source, high-fidelity, cross-platform mobile framework. Being exclusively mobile, Google have been able to focus on delivering a single codebase that runs on both Android and iOS in the project’s early stages.
Google has unveiled a new open-source framework for building cross-platform mobile applications called Flutter. It offers predominantly low-latency input and a high frame rate for both Android and iOS.
The origins of Flutter date back to 2014 when some Google developers launched the Sky coding engine project, facilitating the creation of a completely new, mobile-first rendering engine. Not to be confused with the 2013 gesture control project by Google specialists of the same name, Flutter focuses on the development of high-performance, multi-platform mobile applications.
The tech behind Flutter
In addition to Dart, Flutter is built on C, C++, 2D rendering engine Skia, Mojo IPC and the rendering engine Blink, soon to be arriving to Chromium. To use it, Flutter requires at least Android KitKat or iOS 5 to work. An official list of compatible smartphones and tablets doesn’t exist yet, however.
For Android, the engine’s C / C++ code is compiled using Android’s NDK, while the majority of frameworks and application code run on the Dart Virtual Machine. The latter generates Just-In-Time-compiled and optimised native code on the device itself. For iOS, the C / C ++ code is compiled with LLVM; Dart code is Ahead-of-Time compiled into native code.
Flutter is optimised for 2D apps, with developers emphasising that a constant frame rate for both Android and iOS at 60 fps is achieved relatively easily. For desktop apps, Flutter is less suitable – for now. There are no plans to create a web version of Flutter at this stage.
The project is completely open source and is driven mainly by Google employees. You can find out more about Flutter here.