Google’s Flutter Now Makes Windows Apps – Visual Studio Magazine

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Google’s Flutter Now Makes Windows Apps

Support for coding Windows apps arrived with Flutter 2.10, Google’s open source framework for building natively compiled cross-platform apps from a single codebase.

“Today, we’re excited to announce the full availability of Windows app support for Flutter in stable releases,” said a Feb. 3 announcement from Visual Studio’s former Senior Program Manager Tim Sneath. , in 2017, left Microsoft to join the Flutter team, aiming for a few negative parting shots at Microsoft. Sneath is now the product manager for Flutter and its associated programming language, Dart.

Apparently, the relationship is now on good terms, as Google has sought feedback from Microsoft on new Windows support, for which Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo said, “We’re excited to see Flutter add support for creation of Windows applications. Windows is an open platform, and we welcome all developers. We’re excited to see Flutter developers bring their experiences to Windows and also publish to the Microsoft Store. Flutter support for Windows is a big step for the community, and we can’t wait to see what you bring to Windows!”

On Windows, Flutter uses the exact same Dart code, but leverages native Windows APIs.
[Click on image for larger view.] On Windows, Flutter uses the exact same Dart code, but leverages native Windows APIs. (source: Google).

Sneath specifically thanked the Fluent design team for their contribution to the iconography of Flutter apps on Windows, among several Microsoft teams that would have helped.

While Flutter was originally intended for the mobile development space, its vision for desktop (and web) apps started a few years ago, said Sneath, who added that the team adapted Flutter for Windows while bringing it to Windows.

“Your app can use every part of the Flutter framework, and on Windows it can also communicate with the Win32, COM, and Windows Runtime APIs, either directly through Dart’s C interop layer or using a plug-in. -in platform written in C++,” Sneath said. . “We’ve also adapted a number of common plugins to include Windows support, including camera, file_picker, and shared_preferences. More importantly, the community has already added Windows support for a wide range of other packages, covering everything from Windows taskbar integration to serial port access.”

While support for Windows desktop apps is new in Flutter 2.10, it already supported Universal Windows Platform (UWP) desktop apps, like Visual Studio Magazine explained in the May 2021 article “Flutter Update Furthers UWP Desktop Support”.

Additionally, Microsoft’s Surface Duo development team courted Flutter developers in March 2021, as explained in the article “Microsoft’s Surface Duo Dev Team Courts Flutter Coders”.

There is also a Fluter/Dart Code extension for Visual Studio Code in the marketplace of this code editor, which provides Flutter support and debugger. It has been installed over 3.8 million times.

In Visual Studio’s IDE space, however, there doesn’t seem to be much traction. The Flutter desktop guidance states that Visual Studio 2022 is required for Windows desktop development, otherwise it suggests as an optional requirement “An IDE that supports Flutter. You can install Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA or Visual Studio Code and install the plugins Flutter and Dart to enable language support and tools for refactoring, running, debugging, and reloading your desktop app in an editor.”

This Flutter desktop guide also states: “When installing Visual Studio, you need the “Desktop development with C++” workload installed for building win, including all of its default components. ”

There is also a helpful tip: “Note: Visual Studio is different from Visual Studio Code.”

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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