What Happened at Flutter Forward 2023?

While Flutter started modestly, the software development kit is now a powerful tool for building stunning, powerful cross-platform apps for mobile, desktop, web and more. Today, over 5 million developers use the framework and over 700,000 Flutter apps have been launched across various platforms. And the team at Flutter aren’t resting on their laurels; despite its huge success, the framework looks set to push forward even further over the years ahead. 

What is Flutter Forward?

Flutter Forward is Google’s event to connect the growing global community of Flutter developers and showcase the future of app development using the framework. Flutter Forward 2023 was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, in January and included a keynote speaker, technology discussions, use cases and live Q&A sessions. It gave developers an opportunity to learn from industry experts and network with peers. 

There were some big announcements at the event, including the release of Flutter 3.7, Material 3 and menus support. The event served as a teaser for the future of the framework and got everyone excited for what is to come over the next few years. 

The Release of Flutter 3.7 and Dart 2.19

The release of Flutter 3.7 and Dart 2.19 was one of the biggest announcements at Flutter Forward and clearly demonstrates Google’s commitment to innovation and quality. The updates bring new features and improvements that make it easier than ever for developers to build high-performance, visually appealing mobile applications. The new version of the framework includes new widgets, improvements to web and desktop support and new Dart language features. Meanwhile, the new version of Dart promises improved performance, better type inference and new syntax changes. The result will be a faster and more stable development experience. 

What’s New in Flutter 3.7?

The latest release of Flutter, version 3.7, delivers a variety of new widgets and tools that can help take your app development to the next level, including:

1. Material 3

Material 3 is the latest version of the material design guidelines; the latest update brings the migration of new widgets with features and improvements in terms of animations and typography. Meanwhile, the Flex Color Scheme package enables greater flexibility and customisation, with predefined schemes that can be easily integrated into any application, facilitating a consistent and improved interface for the end user.

2. Adaptive Layout

With the adaptive layout feature, Flutter developers can design applications to look and behave differently based on device type, screen size and aspect ratio. This means that applications can look great on both large and small screens and adjust to different orientations. The layout builder widget can also be used to create responsive widgets that will adapt in a similar way. The update will help developers to deliver a consistent user experience across all devices. 

3. Menu Bars and Cascading Menus

Flutter developers are now able to add custom menus anywhere in their apps, giving greater flexibility and customisation. In addition, text selection has been improved with scrolling context, making it much easier for users to select and edit text within an application. There are also other important performance and accessibility improvements as part of the menus update. 

4. Impeller Preview

With Impeller, Flutter developers are able to preview their apps across multiple devices and platforms at the same time. By seeing how their app looks and behaves on different devices and resolutions, developers can save a huge amount of time switching between different development environments. Moreover, it’s another way for developers to catch problems early on and improve the overall quality of their applications. 

5. . iOS Release Validation

With the latest update, developers can now validate their IOS releases with the flutter doctor command. The feature enables developers to check for any issues, such as missing symbols and dependencies, compliance and security, before releasing their application to the App Store. Pre-release validation checks will help Flutter developers to catch issues early on, avoid delays and extra cost, and release their apps with confidence. 

6. Fragment Shader Support

Fragment shader support is a powerful feature that enables developers to add unique effects to their applications, such as blur, distortion and lighting. By having this level of control over the GPU, developers have the opportunity to create even more stunning and engaging user interfaces using the framework. What’s more, fragment shader support isn’t solely for high-performance applications; it can be used for creating unique immersive experiences for all app types. 

7. Web Assembly Support

This feature enables developers to use Flutter to build web apps that run on the web assembly standard. This means web apps that are high-performance and low-latency. The new feature empowers faster and more efficient web development with code executed at near-native speed. The result is web apps that are fast and responsive and deliver a near-native user experience. 

8. Flutter 3D Support

Flutter 3D support has been built on top of the existing Flutter framework and enables developers to create incredible 3D animations and visual effects. What’s more, they can achieve all of that using the same widgets and concepts that they’re familiar with. With Flutter 3D support, developers can create more visually appealing, immersive and interactive experiences that work together to improve the user experience. While the update is still in the experimental stage, the ability to create more with less complexity is something to look forward to with the next release. 

The Future of Flutter

Flutter Forward 2023 was an exciting time for Flutter developers. As well as the highlights we’ve touched on, there were many other new features and glimpses of future developments. With the new release, developers have access to features and widgets that give them more flexibility than ever; they even have the ability to target IoT and edge devices. 

With the announcements and updates showcased at Fluter Forward 2023, developers can expect to see continued innovation and growth over the coming years, an exciting time for app development.

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