How Flutter is Used to Develop Windows-Desktop Applications?

How Flutter is Used to Develop Windows-Desktop Applications?

Author image By Shreya Bhankhar  |  Friday, October 16, 2020 05:46 PM  |  5 min read  |   1588

Introduction to Flutter Portable UI Framework

As a newbie, Flutter won a holy treasure of software that most developers loved to use. Flutter is a fast-growing mobile development tool. It allows startups and enterprises to save high costs on development services. According to Google, half a million developers use Flutter since version 1.0 was released in December 2018.

Flutter is built to compete with a framework like React Native and build native interfaces for Android and iOS. Google aims to provide developers with an open-source and high-productivity framework. With this framework, they can make a beautiful native application on any platform.

With the newly announced release, Google expands its flutter development to windows apps. The release was made to broaden the focus to include other platforms including Web, Linux, and macOS. Finally, new cross-platform software is available in the Windows platform from the same code base named in alpha.

Today, the Native desktop App has opened a variety of options for Flutter users. It covers the developer’s tooling, reducing friction for new users. And for apps that can reach any device from a single code base.

What’s the best way to add Windows to Flutter?

Flutter is a cross-platform UI toolkit. It is designed to allow code reusability across various OS. It enables developers to deliver high-performing apps. Flutter makes them feel natural while using different platforms. The Flutter engine supports primitives and all flutter applications. The machine used for rasterizing works as a new frame needed to paint. It comes with a low-level implementation of Flutter’s core API. It includes text layout, convenience, plugin architecture, and Dart run time.

Flutter adds up new services by enabling a new platform. With Flutter Windows Desktop apps, a whole new set of services adds in. It includes robust support for mouse wheels, keyboards, and various controllers on the input side. With the new Alpha release, it comes with a solid foundation that stabilizes over the coming months.

To understand better Flutter development services on Windows, Google showcase open-source with sample apps like Flokk.

Google’s contacts manage apps and are used for revamping Flutter Gallery built with desktop. The app was created in concert with the designers and developers at gskinner.com.

The main goal of the app was to demonstrate the Flutter for desktop. By creating an innovative, and beautiful Flutter desktop app. The app can work with real Google contacts data by showing your contact’s activity on GitHub and Twitter.

How to Develop Flutter Apps?

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Get Started with Flutter Windows Desktop App

One can start by installing the Flutter SDK using windows instructions. Target windows desktop, where you need to install the tooling available in desktop docs. Let’s assume you want to build production software. And it’s not configured to develop Windows apps.

Flutter

Here, the first command is used as experimental quality in the dev channel. It allows for providing platform support used in alpha-like Windows.

In the second command, it pulls down the latest bits on the dev channel.

In the third command, it enables Windows app development on your PC.

Once you have set up the above code, you can now create a new Flutter app. By using extension support for either Android Studio or Visual Studio Code. Later it’ll make a windows subfolder. Now run the default app on Windows. As soon as your app is created, build a release mode, native EXE file, and support DLLs.

What are the Windows Plugins?

Flutter has already been working with Windows Plugins before the Alpha release. Check a few of the plugins.

  • path_provider- It helps to find a path to particular directions on the user’s machine.
  • url_launcher- It launch URLs from your app’s browser
  • shared_preferences- It keeps user preferences serialized on user’s machine-like Documents
  • biometric_storage- Comes with storage encrypted by biometrics
  • flutter_audio_desktop- Plays audio from desktop apps

One of the benefits of using these plugins is most of them support Flutter platforms. It enables us to target your apps on Android, iOS, web, and windows. The highest quality and the used packages are a part of the Flutter Favourite program which will work on Windows.

Interop with Windows

If you’d like to have your plugins for Windows, then you can enable a window from your machine, once you’re on the dev channel. Get started with it using the following command.

$ flutter create –template plugin –platforms windows hello_plugin

Now, add Flutter code to the lib subfolder. Where your window code adds to the windows subfolder in your plugin project. After this plugin, you can communicate between two stacks. By using Platform channels and passing a message between Dart and C++ code. It’s not that platform channels are the only options. But for interop, you can use Dart FFI to load libraries and call into C-style APIs like Win32 API, COM, and WinRT.

Also Read: Introduction to Flutter and Desktop Apps

How’s Flutter for Windows Resources?

How’s Flutter for Windows Resources?

Read the desktop documentation of flutter. dev to understand the flutter window journey. Spin through the Flutter codelab for writing a windows desktop-targeted application and windows. This included code for real-world scenarios then it’ll add OAuth, GraphQL, and GitHub API.

Flutter Window uses Standard Windows File Open Dialog, a splitter widget, and a tree view widget. Which later integrates the results with a real-world REST API. We highly recommend the menubar plugin, the DataTable widget, the NavigationRail Widget, and other support for mouse gestures to pan and zoom child widgets.

What’s Next

After the alpha release, our primary attention shifts to completing the feature set and stabilizing the product for release. By using the remaining work to complete add accessibility, localization, globalization, text handling, and support command line arguments.

Moreover, in addition to this, Flutter windows support the classic Win32 API by experimenting with UWP based version. It allows flutter to reach a broader audience.

Wrap up

The power of Flutter to Windows is released with its declarative, reactive framework for developer productivity. It’s the adaptable implementation that helps you make your windows app look and feel the way you want it to. After your app completes, you can compile it to the native 64-bit code. It brings windows machines like any other native app.

The time is here when we can use the same codebase to create an app targeting Android, web, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux. Hire Flutter Developer to start building a windows app based on your requirements. You can also take help from any flutter app development company. Get ready to create windows-centric tooling for Flutter. Connect with us, if you’re looking for the best flutter apps.

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Author image

Shreya Bhankhar

Shreya Bhankhar is a Flutter Tech Lead. It's been 5 years since I have working with Mobile Application Development. I love my job and work I do in Flutter Android and Kotlin, I always look for simplest solution for complex issues to ensure easy ness for all.

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