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Google Unveils the Beta Version of Its Mobile UI Framework Flutter

Google Unveils the Beta Version of Its Mobile UI Framework Flutter

Google has announced the first beta release of its mobile UI framework Flutter at Mobile World Congress. Flutter is created to help developers build high-quality native interfaces for iOS and Android. The cross-platform development framework, which got an alpha SDK release past year, is claimed to offer developers a source to build high-quality native interfaces for both Android and iOS platforms. It also uses a thin layer of C/C++ code.

Apps made using Flutter.

Rather, Flutter ships with its own widgets that are rendered with its own built-in engine.

Ladd also noted that unlike some rival frameworks like React Native, Flutter uses its own GPU-accelerated graphics and rendering engine and not a web view.

Flutter program manager Seth Ladd described to VentureBeat how the mobile-first UI toolkit works. Those who wish to take a look at the obtained results, Hamilton App can be found on Google Play and App Store.

The goal of Flutter is to give developers a faster way to create native mobile apps - in particular the user interfaces for the apps - which can take more time to create on individual iOS and Android app toolkits.

Speedy development based on features such as stateful Hot Reload, a new reactive framework, a flexible widget set and out-of-the-box tooling.

According to Ladd, Flutter already has a relatively thriving ecosystem around it.

Since the alpha release, Google has added screen reader support and other accessibility features, right-to-left text, localization and internationalization, iPhone X and iOS 11 support, inline video, additional image format support, ability to run Flutter code in the background, "and much more". There's an IntelliJ IDE for Flutter, just like Google has with Android Studio.

It's not clear when Flutter will get out of beta, but Google did note that new betas will be continuously delivered.

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

The beta release of Flutter could also be seen as another step on the road to making Google's experimental Fuchsia OS a real operating system some day.

Flutter could help usher in a wave of fresh-looking apps in an era when lots of mobile software suffers from cookie-cutter similarities. New updates should arrive every four weeks or so as Google and others contributing to the open-source project put the finishing touches on an eventual - though still unscheduled - 1.0 release.

With an entry into beta, Flutter is quickly becoming a big deal at Google.

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