Google's Flutter 2 update could be a major win for apps on Windows 10
Google may seem like an unlikely ally, but its efforts with Flutter 2 could bring thousands of app experiences to Windows 10 through the web.
What you need to know
- Google unveiled Flutter 2 today, which is a major update to the cross-platform UI toolkit.
- The update brings "production-quality support for the web" to Flutter.
- As a result of the update, developers can easily bring app experience built on Flutter to the web.
Today, Google announced Flutter 2, which is a major upgrade to the development tool. Flutter allows developers to share a codebase to ship native apps to iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. It can also be used to target the web, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. The update to Flutter 2 brings several major changes and improvements, including "production-quality support for the web."
One of the benefits of supporting the web, for both developers and consumers, is that it helps people across platforms. If a developer puts in work to make a site on Chrome, it will also work on the new Chromium-powered Edge. Because of this cross-platform nature, Flutter 2 bringing full support to the web is a big deal for people on Windows.
The initial release of Flutter 2 will focus on three app scenarios, as outlined by Google:
- Progressive web apps (PWAs) that combine the web's reach with the capabilities of a desktop app.
- Single page apps (SPAs) that load once and transmit data to and from internet services.
- Bringing existing Flutter mobile apps to the web, enabling shared code for both experiences.
Leading up to the release of Flutter 2, Google has added support for several web features, including text autofill and PWA manifests.
These efforts aren't just for mobile browsers. Google's added keyboard shortcuts, interactive scrollbars, and even added screen reader support to improve accessibility.
What all this means for Windows users is that more PWAs should make their way to Windows 10. PWAs are already device-agnostic, but Flutter supporting them should help draw developers over.
Additionally, the push to make it easy for developers to bring existing mobile apps to the web could help people access more app experiences on Windows 10. As a result, we may see the library of the best Windows 10 apps grow.
"There are already over 150,000 Flutter apps out there on the Play Store alone, and every app gets a free upgrade with Flutter 2 since they can now grow to target desktop and web without a rewrite," says Google.
Google shared a few examples of Flutter web apps, including Rive, which is a design tool for animations. The new web app for Rive is in beta and is built entirely within Flutter. Google calls it a "love letter to all that Flutter can offer in this environment."
If developers follow the lead of Rive and others, Windows 10 could potentially gain thousands of app experiences through the web.
Google brought the Flutter UI toolkit to Windows 10 in Alpha last September. That was a significant step for Flutter and Windows. Now, with Flutter 2, we could start to see larger strides towards bringing Flutter apps to Windows PCs.
The Flutter 2 update also helps developers create apps for foldable Android devices for the Surface Duo.
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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 email@example.com.