Google releases Flutter 3.7 and teases future improvements

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Google held its Flutter Forward event this week where it announced version 3.7 of the framework and teased future improvements.

Flutter started life as a framework for developing Android and iOS apps. Over the years, it’s expanded to help developers build apps for not just mobile, but also desktop, web, and more, all from a single Dart codebase.

Google says Flutter has attracted five million developers and over 700,000 apps have been created using it. Based on GitHub contributors, Flutter is the third most popular open-source project.

With the framework’s growing popularity, Google has decided to provide an update on the new capabilities that developers can enjoy today and what they can expect in the future.

One of the biggest enhancements in Flutter 3.7 is around creating menus. There is now native support for macOS menus, cascading menu widgets, and the ability to add items to long-press/right-click context menus.

The latest version of Flutter also comes with a bunch of Material 3 widgets. Google has launched an interactive tool which shows the difference between Material 2 and Material 3 (click the toggle in the bottom-left of the page).

Another small improvement, although a big one for some users, is that text magnification in Android and iOS now works properly with Flutter’s text fields.

However, some of the most exciting improvements to Flutter are on the horizon.

A new renderer called ‘Impeller’ will replace ‘Skia’. In a demo, Google shows how much smoother Impeller is over Skia:

Developers can start testing Impeller with an opt-in flag on Flutter 3.7 for iOS.

Other new features coming to Flutter include:

  • The ability to embed a Flutter view on a web page using a standard HTML div. A demo is available here.
  • Flutter web apps will be able to benefit from a new js package that enables JavaScript APIs to be called from Dart code, or vice-versa.
  • Google is exploring new ways to further deepen the integration of Flutter apps with each OS or platform.

Google says that it’s close to achieving the ability to compile Dart apps using WebAssembly, which should bring major performance improvements for Flutter web apps. Full support for the RISC-V architecture is also planned for Dart 3.0.

An alpha version of Dart 3.0 is now available. The full release is planned “by mid-2023”.

You can view the full Flutter Forward 2023 event below:

(Image Credit: Google)

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