For some, the word Flutter doesn’t mean much. Flutter is, at a zoomed-out level, Google’s “portable UI toolkit for building beautiful, native applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.” Up to this point, Flutter has been used primarily as a way for developers to build apps for both Android and iOS using that single codebase, but what was announced today at Google I/O expands Flutter to the desktop and to the web.
For Chromebook users, this news is particularly interesting as Flutter for Desktop development targets apps deployed via Android and the Play Store and Flutter for Web will target apps developed with web technologies that can be deployed through the Chrome Web Store, online as a PWA, or basically anywhere a URL is accessible. This means that app development for Chrome OS will benefit from both of these new Flutter options and we could be seeing more desktop-native applications in the coming months.
Today, a technical preview has been released by Google and though it isn’t recommended for prime time just yet, it is proof that Google is dedicated to paving the way for continued growth in app development for Chrome OS and desktop platforms in general. From the talk at I/O today, Flutter for the web will be extremely similar to what developers are already used to from a workflow perspective, so deploying web-based applications will be simpler than ever once Flutter for Web is fully operational. And, again, what gets built here can be deployed on all platforms.
How all this works can be very technical and tough to understand, but if you want more of the technical behind-the-scenes info, you can read a lot more about that right here. What most of you need to know at this point is Flutter for Desktop and Flutter for Web are huge, enticing gateways that will beckon developers to bring over their existing code bases over to desktop platforms like Chrome OS. It doesn’t require rewrites or new code and gives developers a one-stop-shop approach to deploying their app creations on more platforms.
As Chromebook users, this should mean that over time we will see more desktop-type applications rolling in from both the web and Google Play Store, and that is pretty big news. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Flutter for Web as it develops and cannot wait to see the results of what Google is making possible for cross-platform development!