What you need to know
- Google's Flutter now supports building applications for Windows.
- Flutter is a cross-platform development tool that can also target Android, iOS, Linux, and the web.
- Multiple teams from Microsoft worked together with Google to help Flutter support Windows.
Google announced a major update to Flutter, its open-source framework that allows developers to share code across multiple platforms. Flutter 2.10's most significant addition is that it brings stable support for Windows apps in Flutter. As a result, developers can make desktop applications in Flutter while also targeting Android, iOS, Linux, and the web.
Google notes that developing apps with desktops and PCs in mind is different than making mobile apps. Computers have wider screens and more input methods than smartphones. Apps on PCs also use different APIs than those running on Android or iOS. Because of these facts, Google had to optimize Flutter for Windows.
Flutter combines a Dart framework and a C++ engine to support Windows, which is similar to how it is built to support Android and iOS.
Multiple teams from Microsoft contributed to Flutter being able to target Windows. Google specifically highlights the Fluent design team's contribution of iconography. Microsoft's Visual Studio supports a Dart extension, which also helped the project.
Kevin Gallo, the corporate vice president for Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, shared his thoughts on Flutter's support of Windows:
Several development tools will support Windows as well, including FlutterFlow, Realm, Rive, Syncfusion, and Nevercode.
As of today, there are over 500,000 Flutter apps in the Google Play Store, including apps from BMW, ByteDance (the makers of TikTok), and Google. Flutter is the most popular cross platform framework, according to multiple surveys cited by Google.
One example of a new Windows Flutter app (cited by Google) can already be found on GitHub. Harmonoid is a native 1:1 YouTube Music client with a mini-Window mode and MPV based music playback.
Flutter was initially launched on Windows in alpha in September 2020.
You can read more about Flutter for Windows on the announcement page, which goes into greater detail for developers.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.