Back in 2018, Flutter had taken the app development industry by storm with its focus on increasing the developer’s productivity. Since then, building cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. is a cakewalk for businesses. LITERALLY!
Fast forward to May 2021 – Flutter released its revamped version, Flutter 2.2 which is armed with incredible new features and capabilities.
So, what’s new in this update? And most importantly, how these new updates in Flutter can impact business applications?
Let’s take a look.
What's New in the Latest Flutter 2.2?
To build the best UX with Flutter, it's essential you stay updated about the latest Google offerings on the Flutter development services.
Here's a list of the latest feature updates in Flutter 2.2.
1. Dart 2.13
Flutter uses Dart, an object-oriented programming language, to write its code. Flutter 2.2 introduces the most recent Dart update – Dart 2.13.
Here's what's new in Dart 2.13.
Null Safety Update
Dart’s Null safety is one of its stunning productivity features. With this, your development team can avoid running into frequently encountered null errors — bugs that aren’t often easy to spot.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know how widely Null safety feature is adopted amongst Flutter developer’s community. A few months into its launch, 93 percent of the 500 top-most popular packages on Google’s pub.dev started supporting null safety.
With Dart 2.13’s updated Null Safety feature, null safety will be enabled by default, and you'll be able to build all your Flutter projects without any worries.
This feature allows the developer to create a new name for the existing type. The developer can then use that name anywhere in the app code where the original type is expected to be used.
It is truly a liberating step for the Flutter developers.
The developer finds it easy to give a shorter or descriptive name to a type. Moreover, It is easy to understand, and the application code becomes a lot more readable.
In the previous versions of Dart, the users could create type aliases for functions. But now, in Dart 2.13, Flutter extended its use elsewhere, especially to variables used in the code.
Dart FFI – Foreign Function Interface
This one’s a great benefit if your Flutter app has a performance-critical code that would work best if written in a different language like C or C++. Or when you’re required to link a specific external binary shared library to your application code.
The FFI, or Foreign function interface, involves code written in Dart interfacing with a different language like C or C++.
Developers using the previous version of Dart could integrate it with native code in the beta version only. However, with Dart 2.13, Dart FFI gets available on the stable channel, making the developers use it without limitations.
How the new Dart 2.13 will impact your business?
With an updated null safety, your developers can eliminate an enormous class of errors from your application’s code.
Most of the plugins are already mitigated to null safety. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about transferring a Flutter-based app to null safety.
Moreover, with additional updates in Type alias, FFI, and others, memory space occupied by a Flutter program reduces, improving its performance.
What it means for you is – reduced app size, minimized null-error crashes during testing, and increased app performance.
2. New payment plugin
As part of making Flutter’s integration with Google’s ecosystem tighter, Flutter 2.2 has come up with a new payment plugin with the help of the Google Pay team.
With this feature, Flutter developers will find it easier and faster to integrate in-app purchases into apps.
In addition, the new payment plugin will help build an application that accepts payment for goods on both Android and iOS platforms.
How will the new Flutter Payment Plugin impact your business?
This is a revolutionary step towards monetizing your app and doing it super quickly.
- Your app will be up and running with only a few lines of code.
- Your mobile application users will find it easy to make purchases – whether it's an iOS app or an Android.
- It’s easier to monetize the newly built app through in-app purchases, payments, and Ads.
- As a business, you’ll be able to quickly analyze the in-app purchase metrics for your app.
3. Refined text handling
In its new avatar, Flutter has ventured into areas that weren’t as necessary on mobile form-factors as they are on desktop form-factors. One of the said areas is text handling.
The Flutter 2.2 has refined text handling and extended its support to several platforms with different input types. In addition, you can override some default actions and provide new actions to keystrokes of your choice.
What do the custom text actions of Flutter bring to your business?
This feature of Flutter brings endless possibilities for you.
Your app users will get an intuitive experience whether they’re working on a mobile or a desktop.
Besides, you are now free to customize the app keystrokes linked to different text actions. For example, it allows the application users to send a message with the pressing of Enter key or probably insert a line with the help of keystrokes CTRL+ enter.
4. Automatic scrolling behavior
Scrollbars in Android and iOS applications do not show by default. On the other hand, for a desktop app, a scrollbar is shown when the content becomes bigger than the container.
Flutter developers previously relied on adding a Scrollbar parent widget to the code.
The new and updated Flutter release automatically adds a Scrollbar to the app as and when necessary. This is a significant relief for the app developer as they’ll not have to worry about adding a widget to the code.
Moreover, if you do not like the way the scrollbar looks in your application, you can set a ScrollBarTheme of your choice. Finally, if you want to change the default scrolling behavior, you can change it across the app or on a specific instance with the help of ScrollBehavior.
What the automatic scrolling behavior of Flutter2.2 brings to your business?
There are a few areas where this feature is beneficial for businesses.
- You can expect an intuitive app with great UI for your users.
- Flexibility in customization of scrollbars.
- A faster coding experience for your app developer since they no longer be worried about adding or removing the widgets in the app code.
5. Mouse cursor support for text span
In the previous versions of Flutter, you could easily hover a mouse cursor over a widget, indicating it was clickable.
However, you often ran out of luck whenever you attempted to do the same with rich text having different text spans, styles, and sometimes long enough to wrap.
That was because TextSpan is not a widget.
But with Flutter 2.2, this is very much possible.
In Flutter 2.2, TextSpan supports onEnter and onExit movements along with the mouseCursor.
This simply means you can have wrapping text spans the way you want, and text with recognizers will get the required mouse cursors on hovering the mouse.
What the mouse cursor support of Flutter2.2 brings to your business?
It simply means a simplified user experience.
You may consider these tiny changes, but they play an essential role in making your Flutter app feel just as its user expects it to.
6. More material icons
Flutter 2.2 adds many new and unique material icons to the Flutter programming. It makes the total number of material icons to 7,000 plus. In addition, flutter app development allows you to search for the icons by name and category at fonts.google.com/icons while describing how to use them.
What does this mean for your business?
- Vast choices of material icons.
- Adding dash to your new Flutter application has never been easier.
8. Flutter Web updates
Flutter 2.2 brings a new optimized caching behavior for web apps. It is done by fixing the double downloading of main.dart.js.
Earlier, when the new service worker downloaded any change, the user would have to refresh the page a few times to see those changes. But this is no longer needed in the new version.
So app users can observe the updates without the need for any manual refresh.
There is an improvement in web renderers with:
- Canvas APIs for text rendering
- Added support for shader masks to address uniformity gaps between Flutter web and mobile apps.
- Opacity masks for fade-out transitions as they would for mobile apps.
Flutter 2.2’s improved semantic node position will reduce the space between desktop, mobile, and web apps.
Why You Should Use Flutter for Cross-platform App Development?
Many forward-thinking businesses prefer cross-platform apps nowadays.
Here’s why Flutter is the best app development solution for you if you’re looking to build a cross-platform application.
Flutter can get you two mobile apps for the cost of one. Literally!
Instead of building two separate native apps for your iOS and Android users, use Flutter to create a single cross-platform app and save cost.
Every feature of Flutter, like Single Codebase or Hot Reload, substantially reduces the app development time. App developers can also make quick changes and review these changes live. Therefore, the overall mobile app development time is lessened, bringing down the development cost.
Moreover, you don't need to employ a big, expensive team comprising of Android as well as iOS developers - just a couple of engineers on the team will do.
2. Faster development
Many Flutter features improve the app development time and help build an app in the shortest time span.
- Hot Reloading
This feature enables the developers to keep track of changes made to the code almost instantly.
- Single Codebase
Single Codebase is Flutter’s ‘write once’ feature – an excellent one at speeding up the development process. With this, developers don’t have to write a range of codes for diverse platforms – iOS or Android. Besides, the speed of testing and QA process also increases.
These features make Flutter the right choice for anyone – whether they’re a startup or an enterprise, or whether they’re planning to build an MVP or a full-fledged mobile app.
3. Native-app performance and experience
Flutter has overcome the app performance, and UX challenges that other cross-platform frameworks face.
App developers can build awesome native-like apps using Flutter custom widgets.
Moreover, native features such as navigation, scrolling, and more, make the apps look consistent across all platforms.
Devs vouch for high-performing Flutter apps, with:
- Decreased CPU and GPU usage by up to 40% for basic iOS animations.
- 20% to 37% increased speed for the default navigation.
- Reduced memory usage up to 70% in faster scrolling through large-sized images.
4. Consistent UI across platforms
Flutter provides an enormous potential for app UI customization. Moreover, the Flutter app UI and Logic don't change with platform change.
If you’re looking to build consistency in your mobile app UI across platforms, go Flutter. Flutter helps you design eye-catchy UI and improve the visual aspects of your mobile apps.
Also Read: Ionic vs. Flutter: Which One to Choose for App Development?
5. Apps beyond mobile
Flutter is not only an excellent toolkit for building mobile apps, but it also provides great support in developing web and desktop apps.
On the other hand, Flutter desktop empowers developers to compile Flutter code to a Windows or Linux desktop app.
Enterprises looking to provide seamless user experiences to their mobile, desktop, and web app users can completely rely on Flutter.
Flutter offers an assortment of widgets that are fast, extensive, and customizable. In addition, they come with the capabilities to build the best applications possible. Independent of the gadget’s screen size, flutter widgets provide a natural look and feel to your app.
Many app developers prefer custom Widgets because they help them build powerful mobile app user interfaces.
What's more, Flutter Widgets help define all app elements – right from the structural & style elements to the layout aspects.
7. Adaptive apps
With improved support, Flutter’s usability has expanded to not just apps with different form factors – like mobile or desktop, but also with varying types of input – touch, mouse, or keyboard.
Other reasons why you can rely on Flutter
Businesses everywhere are happily adopting Flutter for application development. There are many reasons for this.
- Flutter is an open-source platform and comes free of cost.
- Your developers can benefit from Flutter’s highly customizable and fast widgets.
- Flutter developers experience faster code writing.
- Flutter provides a faster QA testing process.
- Improved TTM – time-to-market for the app.
You can safely consider Flutter as the best way to deliver a well-performing cross-platform mobile application.
Build Powerful Flutter Application with Imaginovation
Flutter is one of the quickly-growing, cross-platform app development platforms available today. It is backed by Google, which means continuous improvement and evolution and great documentation and references.
Go Flutter if you want beautiful, intuitive, lightweight, and scalable cross-platform apps at a limited cost and time.
If you’re looking to build an app in Flutter while reducing the turnaround time of your time-critical projects, get in touch with us.
We are an award-winning web and mobile app development company with vast experience crafting remarkable digital success stories for diverse companies. Let's talk.
Book A Consultation
Book a meeting with one of our team members and we will help you plan out your next steps. You can also use our calculator tool to receive a rough estimate on your project.