Flutter for Desktop: What Does This Mean for App Development in 2020?

Scott Batchelor

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a Google-developed framework that allows developers to share code between iOS and Android. It’s available through mobile app software development kits (SDKs) and completely open-source. 

This allows developers to ensure consistent design and interactivity across operating systems, develop apps at greater speeds and share code from a single base, without having to create duplicate apps in two programming languages.

You can find out more about the advantages of Flutter and comparisons with other cross-platform frameworks in our article on the future of Flutter Development in 2020.

 

What is Flutter for Desktop?

Having successfully created a middle ground for native Swift and Java languages, Google have focused their attention on extending functionality across multiple platforms. As of update 1.5, you are now able to build progressive web applications and desktop applications using Flutter, which can also be embedded in new smart home devices such as Google Home Hub.

This opens up a huge range of devices to applications written using Flutter, meaning that organisations can swiftly build and deploy across an entire ecosystem using a single codebase. 

This has drastic ramifications of speed of development and reducing the costs associated with delivering new features/platforms across mobile, web and embedded applications.

 

Process diagram for Flutter

 

Can You Convert Existing Flutter Code to Desktop

You are now able to use Flutter to create web content using W3 standard web technologies. This means that you absolutely do have the ability to compile existing Flutter applications into fully compliant web experiences. 

Preliminary support now also exists for developing standalone applications on Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS and Linux operating systems. 

This allows you to take advantage of each respective platform's app store and build robust offline solutions for users, alongside still providing web access. 

This means that Flutter is an excellent solution for start-ups and scale-ups who are looking to reach a larger customer base by providing multi-platform support. 

 

Creating Smart Home Applications in Flutter

Alongside the new support for web and desktop, developers can also integrate Flutter applications with new smart home technologies such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Facebook Portal, giving you the ability to leverage new voice-assisted technologies ahead of the competition.

 

What can we expect from Flutter in the future?

Despite the major improvements Flutter 1.5 has provided, it isn’t going to be perfect from day one. Google Product Manager Kevin Moore detailed some of the future plans for the platform in a 2019 Medium post.

  • Support for plugins, location features, camera use and file access will be added to allow better user personalisation.
  • Support for text features such as copy and paste, allowing for better integration with existing web infrastructure.
  • Easier debugging, so apps can get to market quicker.
  • Improved performance, browser support and accessibility, boosting your user experience.

 

What Does Flutter Mean for the Future of App Development?

With backing from internationally recognisable brands, such as eBay, Sonos and the New York times, as well as 1000s of SMEs, Flutter is quickly becoming the go-to choice of global businesses large and small. 

With convenient and reliable cross-platform capabilities which are now even more powerful post the 1.5 update, the expansiveness of Flutter’s offering is growing exponentially. Google’s Flutter Development Team continues to add performance fixes in line with current infrastructure developments, meaning you are able to produce robust and valuable digital products across multiple platforms that will be supported for years to come.

Whether you’re a large organisation or an SME, creating applications in Flutter may get you top market quicker and reduce your development costs.


To find out more about our Flutter Development services, take look at our service information and case studies.

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