Code Sharing with Bloc

One cool aspect of Dart is that it can be used to write applications that run on mobile (iOS and Android), in a browser and on the server.

Today we’re going to take a look at how to share code between a mobile application written with Flutter and a web application written with AngularDart.

Not only are we going to learn how to share code between web and mobile applications, but we’re also going to build a pretty cool Github Search app at the same time.

The application we’re building is inspired by https://github.com/brianegan/github_search_angular_flutter and is going to look like:

Flutter Github Search App
AngularDart Github Search App

Let’s get started!


At a high level, our Github Search codebase is going to be broken up into three subprojects:

  • common_github_search
  • flutter_github_search
  • angular_github_search

Common Github Search

The common_github_search project will contain models, the data provider, the repository, as well as the bloc which will be shared between AngularDart and Flutter.

Setup

We’ll start off by creating a new directory for our application.

mkdir github_search && cd github_search

Next, we’ll create the scaffold for the common_github_search library.

mkdir common_github_search

We need to create a pubspec.yaml with the required dependencies.

Lastly, we need to install our dependencies with

pub get

That’s it for the project setup! Now we can get to work on building out the common_github_search package.

Github Client

The GithubClient will be providing raw data from the Github API.

You can see a sample of what the data we get back will look like here.

Let’s start by creating github_client.dart.

Our GithubClient is simply making a network request to Github's Repository Search API and converting the result into either a SearchResult or SearchResultError as a Future.

Next we need to define our SearchResult and SearchResultError models.

Search Result Model

Create search_result.dart.

Notice that we aren’t including all properties from the Github API. Instead, we only include the properties we are going to use in our application.

The SearchResult implementation depends on SearchResultItem.fromJson which we have not yet implemented so we’ll create that next.

Search Result Item Model

Create search_result_item.dart.

Again, we are only including the properties we care about and SearchResultItem depends on GithubUser.fromJson so we’ll implement that next.

Github User Model

Create github_user.dart.

At this point we have finished implementing SearchResult and its dependencies so next we'll move onto SearchResultError.

Search Result Error Model

Create search_result_error.dart.

At this point, our GithubClient is finished so next we'll move onto the GithubCache which will be responsible for memoizing as a performance optimization.

Github Cache

Our GithubCache will be responsible for remembering all past queries so that we can avoid making unnecessary network requests to the Github API. This will help improve our application's performance and save our users’ data.

Create github_cache.dart.

Now we’re ready to create our GithubRepository!

Github Repository

The Github Repository is responsible for creating an abstraction between the data layer (GithubClient) and the Business Logic Layer (Bloc). This is also where we're going to put our GithubCache to use.

Create github_repository.dart.

Notice that the GithubRepository has a dependency on the GithubCache & the GithubClient and abstracts the underlying implementation. Our application never has to know about how the data is being retrieved or where it’s coming from since it shouldn’t care. We can change how the repository works at any time and as long as we don’t change the interface we shouldn’t need to change any client code.

At this point, we’ve completed the data provider layer and the repository layer so we’re ready to move on to the business logic layer.

At a high level we are going to build a GithubSearchBloc which converts GithubSearchEvents into GithubSearchStates using the bloc package.

Github Search Event

Our bloc will be notified when a user has typed the name of a repository which we will represent as a TextChanged GithubSearchEvent.

Create github_search_event.dart.

We extend Equatable so that we can compare instances of GithubSearchEvent; by default, the equality operator returns true if and only if this and other are the same instance. Those are all the events our bloc is going to respond to so we’ll define our states next.

Github Search State

Our presentation layer will need to have several pieces of information in order to properly lay itself out:

  • SearchStateEmpty- will tell the presentation layer that no input has been given by the user
  • SearchStateLoading- will tell the presentation layer it has to display some sort of loading indicator
  • SearchStateSuccess- will tell the presentation layer that it has data to present
  • SearchStateError- will tell the presentation layer that an error has occurred while fetching repositories

We can now create github_search_state.dart and implement it like so.

Now that we have our Events and States implemented, we can create our GithubSearchBloc.

Github Search Bloc

Create github_search_bloc.dart

Our GithubSearchBloc converts GithubSearchEvent to GithubSearchState and has a dependency on the GithubRepository.

Notice that we override the transform method to debounce the GithubSearchEvents so that our application doesn’t spam the Github API while the user is still typing.

In addition, we override onTransition so that we can log any time a state change occurs.

Awesome! We’re all done with our common_github_search package. The finished product should look like this.

Next, we’ll work on the Flutter implementation.

Flutter Github Search

Flutter Github Search will be a Flutter application which reuses the models, data providers, repositories, and blocs from common_github_search to implement Github Search.

Setup

We need to start by creating a new Flutter project in our github_searchdirectory at the same level as common_github_search.

flutter create flutter_github_search

Next, we need to update our pubspec.yaml to include all the necessary dependencies.

Notice how we are including our newly created common_github_search library as a dependency. This allows us to import it and use it just like any other dart package.

Now we need to install the dependencies.

flutter packages get

That’s it for project setup and since the common_github_search package contains our data layer as well as our business logic layer all we need to build is the presentation layer.

We’re going to need to create a form with a SearchBar and SearchBodywidget.

  • SearchBar will be responsible for taking user input.
  • SearchBody will be responsible for displaying search results, loading indicators, and errors.

Search Form

Our SearchForm will be a StatefulWidget because it will need to create and dispose of a GithubSearchBloc.

Let’s create search_form.dart.

Notice how we are importing our common_github_search package which gives us access to things like GithubRepository. In this case, the GithubRepository is injected into the SearchForm. In addition, the GithubSearchBloc is created and disposed by the SearchForm.

That’s it for the SearchForm, now let’s move on to the _SearchBar.

Search Bar

SearchBar is also going to be a StatefulWidget because it will need to maintain its own TextController so that we can keep track of what a user has entered as input.

If we were going to reuse SearchBar then we could make it a public class and move it to its own file but since it’s only going to be used by the SearchForm we will keep it in the same file and make it private.

The implementation will look like this.

Note that _SearchBar has a dependency on GitHubSearchBloc because it is responsible for notifying the bloc of TextChanged events on user input.

We’re done with _SearchBar, now onto _SearchBody.

Search Body

SearchBody is a StatelessWidget which will be responsible for displaying search results, errors, and loading indicators. It will be the consumer of the GithubSearchBloc.

Again, it will be a private widget in the same file, but in practice you can break it out into its own file and make it publicly accessible.

Notice _SearchBody has a dependency on GithubSearchBloc and uses BlocBuilder in order to rebuild in response to state changes. BlocBuilder is part of the flutter_bloc package and allows us to rebuild our UI based on state changes in our bloc.

If our state is SearchStateSuccess we render _SearchResults which we will implement next.

Search Results

SearchResults is a StatelessWidget which takes a List<SearchResultItem> and displays them as a list of SearchResultItems.

Just like the other components, it’s private (denoted by the _ prefix) and the implementation is as follows.

All we are doing is using ListView.builder in order to construct a scrollable list of SearchResultItem which we will implement next.

Search Result Item

SearchResultItem is a StatelessWidget and is responsible for rendering the information for a single search result. It is also responsible for handling user interaction and navigating to the repository url on a user tap.

Again, this widget is private and looks like:

Note that we use the url_launcher package to open external urls if a user taps on an individual result.

Putting it all together

At this point our search_form.dart should look like

So all that’s left to do is implement our main app in main.dart.

Note how our GithubRepository is created in main and injected into our App. This makes it possible to inject mock implementations of the repository for testing purposes.

That’s all there is to it! We’ve now successfully implemented a github search app in Flutter using the bloc and flutter_bloc packages and we’ve successfully separated our presentation layer from our business logic.

The full source can be found here.

Finally, we’re going to build our AngularDart Github Search app.

AngularDart Github Search

AngularDart Github Search will be an AngularDart application which reuses the models, data providers, repositories, and blocs from common_github_search to implement Github Search.

Setup

We need to start by creating a new AngularDart project in our github_search directory at the same level as common_github_search.

stagehand web-angular

If you haven’t used stagehand, you can activate it by running

pub global activate stagehand

We can then go ahead and replace the contents of pubspec.yaml with:

Again, we are including common_github_search so that we can reuse the data layer, repository layer, and bloc layer.

Just like in our Flutter app, we’re going to need to create a SearchForm with a SearchBar and SearchBody component.

Search Form

Our SearchForm component will implement OnInit and OnDestroybecause it will need to create and dispose of a GithubSearchBloc.

Let’s create github_search_form_component.dart.

Notice how, again, the GithubRepository is injected into the SearchFormComponent and the GithubSearchBloc is created and disposed by the SearchFormComponent.

Our template (github_search_form_component.html) will look like:

Next, we’ll implement the SearchBar component.

Search Bar

Again, SearchBar will be responsible for taking in user input and notifying the GithubSearchBloc of text changes.

Create github_search_bar_component.dart.

Notice how the SearchBarComponent has a dependency on GitHubSearchBloc because it is responsible for notifying the bloc of TextChanged events.

Next, we can create github_search_bar_component.html.

We’re done with SearchBar, now onto SearchBody.

Search Body

Just like in our Flutter app SearchBody will be responsible for displaying search results, errors, and loading indicators. It will be the consumer of the GithubSearchBloc.

Create github_search_body_component.dart

Note that SearchBodyComponent has a dependency on GithubSearchState which is provided by the GithubSearchBloc using the angular_bloc bloc pipe from the angular_bloc package.

Next we need to create github_search_body_component.html.

If our state isSuccess we render SearchResults which we will implement next.

Search Results

SearchResults is a component which takes a List<SearchResultItem>and displays them as a list of SearchResultItems.

Create github_search_results_component.dart

Next up we’ll create github_search_results_component.html.

We use ngFor in order to iterate through items and construct a list of SearchResultItem components.

We only have a few components to go! It’s time to implement SearchResultItem.

Search Result Item

Similar to the Flutter implementation, SearchResultItem is a component that is responsible for rendering the information for a single search result. It is also responsible for handling user interaction and navigating to the repository url on a user tap in a new browser tab.

Create github_search_result_item_component.dart.

and the corresponding template is github_search_result_item_component.html.

Putting it all together

We have all of our angular components and now it’s time to put them all together in our app_component.dart.

Again, notice we’re creating the GithubRepository in the AppComponent and injecting it into the SearchForm component so that we can test the SearchForm with mock implementations of the repository.

That’s all there is to it! We’ve now successfully implemented a github search app in AngularDart using the bloc and angular_bloc packages and we’ve successfully separated our presentation layer from our business logic.

The full source can be found here.

Summary

In this tutorial we created a Flutter and AngularDart app while sharing all of the models, data providers, and blocs between the two. 🎉

The only thing we actually had to write twice was the presentation layer (UI) which is awesome in terms of efficiency and development speed. In addition, it’s fairly common for web apps and mobile apps to have different user experiences and styles and this approach really demonstrates how easy it is to build two apps that look totally different but share the same data and business logic layers.

The full source can be found here.

If you enjoyed this exercise as much as I did you can support me by ⭐️the repository, or 👏 for this story.