Flutter 2018 Recap

At the beginning of 2018 Flutter was an Alpha. Now 12 months later we have Flutter 1.0!


January 2018 — DartConf

The year started at Dart Conf where Tim Sneath and other members of the Flutter and Dart engineering teams took to the stage to inform developers of all the ongoing changes and development taking place with both technologies.

The major reveal of DartConf was Dart 2, a major reboot of the Dart. Dart two mainly focuses on improving the language. It consists of a lightweight syntax, enhanced strong mode and many under the hood optimizations to make the language faster.

Before Dart 2, Flutter developers had to use the keywords new and const everywhere when creating widgets. Now with Dart 2, it is optional 😊😊😊

Pre Dart 2

Post Dart 2

Another great addition to Dart was a new common front end to reduce inconsistencies and improve the developer experience.

To learn more, you can watch the keynote here:

🌟 GitHub Stars : 8,850 🌟


February 2018 — Beta 1🎉

At Mobile World Congress(MWC18), Flutter was out in full force. At the event, the first beta of Flutter was revealed. The announcement came little over a month from Dart Conf.

Flutter’s first beta introduced support screen readers, right to left text support, inline video, IOS 11 support as well as the introduction of SafeArea, a widget which adds padding to your apps so that it is not cut off or blocked by notches. Beta one also included the support for the background execution of Flutter code and internationalization/localization.

Beta one also included updates to Flutter’s tooling, with new features such as Widget Inspector to help developers browse the widget tree.

At the time of the first beta, Flutter boasted over 1000 packages on Pub and over 1700 people in Flutter’s Gitter chat.

In terms of community projects, sites such as Flutter Institute, Start Flutter, GuruMeditation, Flutter Rocks and the weekly newsletter, Flutter Weekly created and shared Flutter articles, helping beginners.

🌟 GitHub Stars: 10,620 🌟


March 2018 — Articles 📖

The month of March was relatively slow when compared to the previous two. There were five articles and one video published by Flutter’s Medium Publication: 
- Beautiful, animated charts for Flutter

- Do Flutter apps dream of platform aware widgets?

- Building a QR code Widget in Flutter

- Flutter’s hot reload is so hot right now

- Running unit tests as part of your everyday Flutter workflow

- [Video] Hamilton app built in 3 months with Flutter reaches 1M+ installs

Some interesting pull request made to the framework during the month of March are: 
 1) Support for Indonesian and Norwegian locales
2) Cleaned up Navigator API
3) Auto validation for text fields

🌟 GitHub Stars: 18,630 🌟


April 2018 — Beta 2 🎉

A mere two months since the release of the first beta, April saw another major announcement for Flutter, the release of Beta two!

Beta brought us a simplified installation workflow, improved tooling including support for running tests, multi-project support, and the ability to choose a Flutter SDK/version. Also included in beta two was a “Significant Optimization” of Flutter’s asset system. Mostly under the hood which greatly improved app launch time on older devices. In addition to performance improvements, it also enabled assets to be used from native code, a very useful feature when developing plugins.

This release also enabled Dart 2 by default.

To read the full Beta Two announcement, see: https://medium.com/flutter-io/https-medium-com-flutter-io-announcing-flutters-beta-2-c85ba1557d5e

🌟 GitHub Stars: 21,270 🌟


May 2018 — Google IO!

Image src: How to watch Flutter at Google I/O 2018

Flutter had multiple sessions at IO this year. Some of the standout announcements include updates to Material Design, the addition of new widgets, updates to input fields, slider updates, tooling and plugin updates including support for most of Firebase services. Also at IO, AdMob integration for Flutter graduated to beta. Some other announcements induced full tooling support for VsCode and the release of a free Udacity course for Flutter. Flutter also moved into Beta Three.

To read a more comprehensive breakdown of Flutter @ IO 2018, check out Ümit Duran https://proandroiddev.com/google-i-o-2018-flutter-recap-6f06545efd74

🌟 GitHub Stars: 23,940 🌟


June 2018 — Flutter Community🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️

“Here is where the fun starts” — Norbert Kozsir

From Beta Three to Release Preview, June was another hectic month for Flutter. After Flutter’s explosive sessions, there was a 50% increase in active Flutter users according to Flutter/Dart Group Product Manager Tim Sneath. In addition to this, Flutter became apart of GitHub’s top 100 repos.

To accompany Flutter’s Release Preview, we also saw a lot of new packages appearing on Pub. Some packages include Sequence Animations, Platform Widgets and of course, ML Kit, a wrapper for Firebase’s ML Kit APIs. Flutter support for hardware keyboard and barcode scanners was also added in this release.

In terms of Community activities and releases, June saw the release of the Flutter Community Medium publication, Flutter Community Github Organization and Generic Typing 🎉🎉

Some standout article release during the month of June are

🌟 GitHub Stars: 26,610 🌟


July 2018 — Meetups

The month of meetups and community events.

During the month of July, we began to see a lot of community meetups and events from across the globe. Flutter London had their first meetup in July, featuring the one and only Beardosaurus Brian Egan as the first speaker. On the other side of the world, GeekyAnts hosted their 7th React Native meetup as well as their first Flutter Meetup.

Flutter also released the results of their June survey which gave some interesting information user’s response to using Flutter

Community content from the month of July are:

🌟 GitHub Stars: 31,950 🌟


August 2018 — Performance ⚡

As the team continue to add and improve Flutter, August gave us reduced APK/IPA sizes, new tooling and an array of new articles and videos from the community.

Starting with reduced APK and IPA sizes, the team made a variety of improvements to the framework and engine to achieve a 2MB reduction in APK and 3.8MB in IPA size. These improvements reduced the APK size from 6.7MB to 4.7MB and 16.6MB to 12.6MB on IOS.

VsCode and Intelij both received tooling updates. Some of the highlights include the addition of the Flutter Widget Inspector for VSCode, ability to save screenshots from your app, integration with Android Studio, logging view (IntelliJ) and much more.

Some community articles and videos published are

HumpDayQandA, a world wide zoom conference dedicated to help new (and experienced) Flutter developers also made its debut in August.

Note: At the end of December 2018, the reports bundle size are 4.06MB on Android and 10.8MB on IOS. For more information, please visit Flutter’s FAQ

🌟 GitHub Stars: 34,620 🌟


September 2018— Pixel Perfect on IOS

IOS Settings page recreated by Xster

As you might’ve guessed, September gave us another major release of Flutter. This month gave us Release Preview 2.

The theme for this release was “Pixel Perfect on IOS”. The team focused on improving and adding Cupertino themed widgets to Flutter.

Also included in Release Preview 2 was the ability to execute Dart code in the background, improvements to Flutter’s documentation and updated statistics on Flutter’s usage. At the time of RP2, Flutter moved to #45 on GitHub’s Top Active Software Repos.

To read the full release notes, see https://developers.googleblog.com/2018/09/flutter-release-preview-2-pixel-perfect.html

In addition to the Google releases, the community was also very active this month as well, releasing many articles, videos and talks. Some standout articles and videos from the month of September are

A few talks and videos from this month include

🌟 GitHub Stars: 37,290 🌟


October 2018— DroidCon

Left to right: Edgar Gonzalez, Simon , Scott Stoll , Tomek Polański , and Mark O’Sullivan.

Scott Stoll, Simon Lightfoot and Tomek Polański journeyed to Droidcon to present and answer the question on Flutter. They were joined by Edgar Gonzalez and Mark O'Sullivan.

Some of the talks given at DroidCon are I convinced Groupon to Flutter. Do same with your company! and Flutter: 60 Frames of AOT Badassery.

If you would like to read a more comprehensive break down of the event, I would recommend checking out Scott’s article.

Also released in October was a breakdown of porting a 75,000 line native iOS app to Flutter by Gary Hunter, Working with APIs in Flutter by Poojã Bhaumik and Flutter Bloc Package by Felix Angelov.

🌟 GitHub Stars: 39,960 🌟


November 2018 — Dart 2.1!

This update of Dart offers a smaller code size, faster type checks, better usability for type errors, and new language features to improve productivity when building user experiences.

Dart 2.1 also now supports int to double conversions, added support for mixins and compile time checking.

The full list of updates can be found here. The Flutter publication also released another article, Event Loop in Widget Tester.

Community content from this month include

At the very end of this month came an article from Norbert which surprised everyone, Flutter Desktop! In his article, Norbert and Simon built a custom embedder for Flutter (in Dart) which allows it to run on the Windows desktop. To learn more about this project, check out this article.

🌟 GitHub Stars: 40,320 🌟


December 2018 — Flutter Live 🔴

Image src: Flutter Live — What to Expect from Google’s event

The month it all came together. Years of hard work an dedication culminated in Flutter Live, a two-hour event held in the rainy city of London.

Flutter Live focused on four key areas: Beautiful, Productive, Fast and Open.

Starting with beautiful, 2Dimensions demo their new design tool for Flutter, Flare. Flare allows designers and developers to make really beautiful, vector designs and animations for Flutter. Designers can now create vector animations using the Flare tool on 2Dimensions’s website then export it as a .flr file for use in Flutter. For a more detailed look at flare, see https://medium.com/2dimensions/flare-launch-d524067d34d8.

Also announced were two new partnerships, the first with Square and the second with Nevercode. Square now offers two new plugins for accepting payments. The first allows developers to support payment using Square’s Reader SDK while the other allows for in-app purchases using Square. Nevercode, on the other hand, announced CodeMagic, a CI/CD tool which helps developers test, build and publish Flutter apps with ease.

To learn more about the announcements from Flutter Live, see

Despite most of the Flutter team and community being in London, that did not slow down the rate at which new content was released. Some of the highlights from this month include:

🌟 GitHub Stars: 48,173 🌟


Conclusion

Over the past year, we watched Flutter grow from Alpha to Version 1. Along the way, gain countless features and bug fixes from developers all around the world. At the time of writing this article, there are over 290 contributors listed on Flutter’s Github repo with over 48,000 stars, placing it in GitHub’s top 20 active software repos.

As we move into the new year, things look really bright for Flutter. From the announcement of HummgBird (the ability to run Flutter on the Web) to Flutter Desktop embedding things are moving at an extremely fast pace.