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Flutter announces new stable build for Windows development

Google has worked with Microsoft to target Windows as the first stable desktop-specific release of the cross-platform development framework

The team working on the Flutter development framework have launched Flutter for Windows, marking the first stable release on a desktop platform.

The first Windows-specific stable build of the Google-created Flutter framework will allow developers to build Windows-first applications using the cross-platform development toolkit. The framework also functions on other platforms like iOSAndroid, macOS and Linux, though these have yet to receive stable Flutter builds.

Flutter is a relatively new cross-platform framework that builds on the Dart programming language, allowing developers to build apps for mobile and desktop all with a single codebase. It has been used by the likes of BMW, ByteDance, and Betterment, plus 30 teams from inside Google to make business-ready apps since its first launch in 2017.

Developers can use every part of the Flutter framework to build Windows-first apps, and it can also talk to the Win32, COM, and Windows Runtime APIs either directly through Dart’s C interop layer, or using a platform plugin written in C++.

As well as Google adding Windows support to some of the most popular Flutter packages, and the community adapting a wider selection of packages for Windows too, there are a number of packages available to developers to develop a fully tailored UI for Windows apps that express the Microsoft Fluent design system.

"We’re delighted to see Flutter adding support for creating Windows apps," said Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president for Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft.

"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’ll bring to Windows."

Flutter 2.10 includes additional features, performance improvements, and bug fixes, said Tim Sneath, product manager for Flutter and Dart at Google.

"In the coming months, you’ll hear more from us on completing stable support for macOS and Linux, making the full set of desktop, web, and mobile platforms available for your production Flutter apps," he added.

The majority of developers have welcomed the update with a positive reception, with specific attention being placed on the applications that have already been updated to harness the new Windows-first features. 

Screenshot of Rive app built using Flutter for Windows

Screenshot of Rive app built using Flutter for Windows

Flutter said it's "very exciting" to see its maturing ecosystem of apps take shape, such as the Rive graphics tooling suite (pictured above), Nevercode's Codemagic CI/CD tool, and Flutter's own low-code Flutter app design tool, FlutterFlow, in addition to a number of other projects too.

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Flutter is still in its infancy as a development framework and while developers are excited for the latest update, there are still some bugbears held by the community, such as lacking support for web-based apps

Flutter launched a 'stable' version for web apps in August 2021 that aimed to allow the seamless transformation of code designed for mobile apps to the web, but developers still criticise Google for not fixing the numerous bugs still affecting that arm of the framework.

Flutter is also not yet highly regarded in the professional space - it didn't make the top 50 in the TIOBE index, a monthly ranking of the most in-demand development languages, though Dart - the language that underpins Flutter - is ranked at 37.

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