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A Step-by-Step Guide to Develop a Flutter Package

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Nidhi Sorathiya

August 24, 2023

Nidhi Sorathiya

August 24, 2023

Learning to develop a Flutter package can significantly elevate your Flutter skills and contribution to the Flutter and Dart community. Flutter is a powerful framework highly acclaimed for its mobile application capabilities. A significant aspect integral to the Flutter framework's growth lies in the rich ecosystem of packages. These are Dart codes combined into a single, reusable component, aimed at making application development easier and more efficient. Essentially, Flutter packages add new functionalities to your applications without requiring you to code directories or 'packages' in Dart.

Overview of Flutter

Flutter, developed by Google, is an open-source UI toolkit, that allows developers to build natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Dart is the programming language utilized by Flutter. This cross-platform technology is progressively gaining popularity among developers globally for building Android, iOS, or desktop applications with a single Dart codebase.

The Importance of Flutter Packages

Now that you're familiar with Flutter, let's understand Flutter packages. A Flutter package extends the capabilities of Dart apps operating on different platforms. It enhances the platform's native features, supports the flutter libraries, and enables the addition of new functionalities. Flutter packages make programming more convenient by reducing the need to write repetitive code and providing cross-platform support.

Need to Develop Custom Flutter Packages

But why do you need to develop a Flutter package? Developers constantly encounter situations where existing flutter packages do not fully meet their expectations. In such situations, crafting your own package can be the ideal solution. Developing custom Flutter packages allows you to reuse functionalities across different Flutter projects, reducing redundancy. To round up, custom package development enhances your development efficiency and contributes positively to the Flutter and Dart community.

Setting up the Development Environment

Before we dive into the world of Flutter package development, it is crucial to get our development environment ready. This involves installing the necessary tools and setting up an appropriate Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to develop a flutter package.

Essential Tools: Dart SDK and Flutter SDK

To start your journey in Flutter package development, we need to install two essential software development kits (SDKs): the Dart SDK and the Flutter SDK. The Dart SDK powers the Dart language, providing libraries and command-line tools to compile Dart source code into efficient machine code. On the other hand, the Flutter SDK is a UI toolkit that allows us to natively compile applications for mobile, web, and desktop platforms from a single Dart codebase.

Installing Dart SDK

The Dart SDK provides libraries and command-line tools that enable Google's Dart language to be a powerful and flexible option for building apps. It is integral to both Flutter and Dart app programming. To install Dart SDK, please refer to the official documentation for the instructions specific to your operating system.

Installing Flutter SDK

Flutter SDK is an essential component to develop a Flutter package. It enables you to access Flutter's command-line interface which hosts commands like 'flutter create' and 'flutter pub'. It can be downloaded from the official Flutter website. After successful installation, run 'flutter doctor' in the command line to verify your setup.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

An IDE is an essential toolset that can increase your programming productivity. IDEs for Flutter app development include Android Studio and Visual Studio Code.

Setting up Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code, or VS Code, is a lightweight, highly customizable, cross-platform code editor by Microsoft. With Flutter and Dart plugins, VS Code becomes a powerful tool for Flutter development. VS Code has built-in Git support and a rich API set, which allows developers to create unique programming capabilities.

Setting up Android Studio

Android Studio is a full-featured development environment by Google. It supports several platforms, including Android, iOS, and the web. Its features include a fast simulator, a source-level debugger, and support for programming in Dart and Java/Kotlin for Android, and Swift/Objective C for iOS.

Languages, tips and tricks, and an understanding of packages will get you started with your first Flutter package in no time. In the next sections, we'll explore Flutter packages and how you can create your own.

Understanding Flutter Package Basics

Building your own package begins with understanding the core concepts of Flutter packages. Every Dart and Flutter developer should understand what packages are, how they work, and the different types of packages available.

Perspective on Packages in

Packages are a way of distributing Dart libraries, tools, or assets. They provide reusable code and can be accessed and managed through the package manager provided by Dart, called Pub. Packages are an essential part of the Dart and Flutter landscape. is a repository and package distribution service hosted by Google. It houses a number of open-source Dart and Flutter packages, making it easier for developers to integrate functionalities written by other developers. Building and publishing your own package contributes to this pool of reusable components.

How Packages Work

A Dart package is a directory containing Dart library files, including a special YAML file containing metadata about the package (pubspec.yaml). This pubspec.yaml file also lists out the package's dependencies, which are simply paths to other packages or files in Dart. Dart's package manager, Pub, aids in the retrieval of each package's dependencies when installing the package. Dart code organized in such a structured manner makes it convenient for developers to reuse code across multiple Flutter projects.

Types of Packages: Dart Packages and Plugin Packages

Broadly, developers can create two types of packages:

  1. Dart Packages: A Dart package, or just a 'package' as commonly referred to, consists of a library of Dart code combined with a pubspec.yaml file. These packages can be used with any Dart-based application.
  2. Plugin Packages: A special Dart package, Plugin packages, serve as a bridge between the Flutter app's Dart code and the host platform's code (iOS, Android, and the web). It includes Dart code, combined with platform-specific implementations. A federated plugin architecture enables packages to support multiple platforms with a single plugin. It provides a clear separation of concerns between packages for different native platforms.

By understanding the types and functionalities of Flutter packages, developers can decide which type of package to create and how best to design it. We will further uncover the process and steps to create our very own package in the following sections.

Creating Your First Flutter Package

The ability to develop a Flutter package significantly increases your potential contributions to the Flutter and Dart community. For beginners, understanding the structure of a Flutter package is critical before we delve into writing our very first Flutter package.

Initiating a New Package Project

Creating a new Flutter package project from scratch is simple. Open up your terminal or command line and run the flutter package creation command:

This command generates a new package directory named my_new_package.

Structure of a Flutter Package

Understanding the composition of a Flutter package is fundamental. Here's a quick overview of the primary components:

  • pubspec.yaml: A YAML file containing metadata about the package.
  • lib: This directory includes the Dart implementation of your package.
  • test: A directory containing the automated tests for your package.
  • A markdown file detailing the changes in each version of your package.
  • A markdown file introducing your package to the Flutter and Dart community, highlighting its features and usages.
  • example: An example project showcasing the use of your package.
  • LICENSE: Includes the license agreement.

lib folder and the Public Interface

The lib folder holds the Dart code for your package. Within this folder, your package's public API is located within the lib/{package-name}.dart file.

pubspec.yaml File

The pubspec.yaml file is the manifest file written in the YAML language. It describes the name of the package, its version, the author, and its dependencies. File

A file provides detailed information on your package, its operation, how to install it, and more. An effective readme can make your package more approachable and useful for the community.

Writing the Package

This stage involves writing the key Dart file, the heart of your package. lib/<package name>.dart is the Dart entry point for your package, where you'll define the package's primary functionalities.

Once the structure of the package and the foundation of Dart implementation is clearly understood, we can proceed to the next section where we discuss the importance of writing test cases for your Flutter packages.

Writing Test Cases for Your Package

Testing is an essential aspect of Flutter package development which backs the robustness of the package. A well-written suite of tests ensures your package remains reliable as it evolves while giving other developers the confidence to use or contribute to your package.

Importance of Testing in Package Development

Dart provides a robust testing framework that can handle unit tests, which are useful to test a single function, method, or class, and collection tests for your Flutter package code. Writing tests for your Flutter package can aid in:

  • Verifying the package code functions as expected
  • Identifying any breaking changes in future iterations
  • Providing examples to other developers on how to use your APIs

Writing tests for the functionality of your package is a best practice amongst the Flutter and Dart community. They boost the package's robustness and ensure that it remains dependable as more features are added or existing features are refined.

Setting up the Testing Environment

The Flutter SDK has a powerful testing framework that runs on a real device or simulator/emulator. To begin writing tests, create a new directory inside your package project called test. Dart recognizes this test directory as the place to look for tests to run.

Creating a Test Suite

In the test directory, we write all our test cases in individual files. Ideally, each Dart file in the lib directory should have a corresponding test file in the test directory.

To create a test, add a new Dart file in the test directory, labeled after the functionality it's intended to test.

Running and Debugging Tests

To run the tests, use the command:

The 'flutter test' command triggers the testing framework to start performing all the tests written in the test directory.

Once we've written comprehensive test cases, it's time to document our Flutter package to ensure that other developers can easily understand and use it, which we will discuss in the following section.

Documenting Your Flutter Package

A well-documented package allows other developers to quickly understand what your package does and how to use it. Thus, the importance of good documentation in Flutter package development cannot be overstated.

Significance of Documentation

Well-maintained documentation makes it easier for others to comprehend the package code, increasing the usefulness of the package within the Flutter and Dart community. It explains how to get started with the package, lays down its functionalities, and instructs how to use the package with examples.

Writing Effective Documenting Comments

Dart uses documentation comments to document libraries, classes, and class members. Documentation comments begin with /// or /**. Dart uses markdown syntax for these comments, allowing developers to format the text for added readability.

Documenting the Public API

All public member APIs should be documented with at least one sentence description. A few things to remember:

  • Public is defined as everything in your lib directory which is not marked as private using an underscore (_).
  • High-level entities such as libraries, classes or powerful functions should be documented in more detail.
  • Good documentation should mention edge-cases, possible exceptions thrown, and anything else someone using it should know.

Consequently, reliable documentation is an essential aspect of any successful Flutter package and plays a vital role in its acceptance within the Flutter community.

Publishing Your Flutter Package

Having successfully developed your package, the next step is uploading it to, a package repository by Google. This feature assists developers in sharing their solution with the Flutter and Dart Community.

Overview about and its uses is a repository where Flutter and Dart developers can publish their packages, thus sharing and making them available to others in the community. This platform hosts many top packages used worldwide by developers to integrate pre-written and tested functionalities into their Flutter applications swiftly.

Preparing the Package for Publishing

Preparing your package for publishing involves a few crucial steps:

  1. Checking the Code: Make sure the Dart files in your lib directory pass analysis (flutter analyze).
  2. Writing Good Documentation: Update the, dartdoc for your library, and files.
  3. Reviewing the Manifest: Ensure your pubspec.yaml file is accurate and up-to-date with the package's dependencies.
  4. Checking the License: Update the LICENSE file with the license text of your choice.

Finalizing Documentation

The last step is to finalize your, providing specific instructions about the usage of your package. This could include API documentation, how to run the example, and ecosystem inter-dependencies, if any.

Versioning the Package

Before you publish, make sure to perform the essential task of versioning your package by entering the version details in the pubspec.yaml file. Tracking the version helps developers use the correct version of your package and helps them anticipate the changes in the newer versions.

Publishing the Package to

At last, a simple command, flutter packages pub publish, will publish your package to

Before publishing, the command does some validation checks to ensure everything is defined correctly.

Creating, documenting, and publishing a package are some of the essential steps involved in the lifecycle of a package. However, maintaining the package well will significantly contribute to the continued success of your package in the Flutter community.

Maintaining Your Flutter Package

A package's life doesn't end when it's published. Successful packages are those that are well-maintained. This includes managing user feedback, ensuring compatibility with the latest versions of Flutter and Dart, resolving issues, and more.

Role of Feedback in Package Enhancement

After you develop a Flutter package and developers start using it, feedback will begin to flow in. Feedback may come in the form of reported issues or feature requests. This feedback is instrumental in enhancing your package and making it more useful to the community.

Publishing New Versions

As you enhance your Flutter package and resolve issues, it's essential to publish a new version of your package. This is vital, as it keeps your package up-to-date, informs developers about the changes made, and allows them to use the latest features you've implemented.

Managing Issues and Pull Requests

As your package becomes more popular, users of your package might detect bugs not initially identified, or they may request some new features. It's crucial to handle these issues well and promptly, leading to increased trust in your package among developers. The same holds true for pull requests, which are proposed changes to your package by other developers in the community. Keeping a regular check on your package's GitHub repository can help you manage these updates and changes better.

Wrapping Up Our Guide to Develop a Flutter Package!

Creating a custom Flutter package is an adventurous journey exploring advanced aspects of Flutter development. Learning how to develop a Flutter package effectively amplifies your growth as a Flutter developer.

We started this guide by setting up the development environment, working our way through understanding the basics of a Flutter package, creating our package, writing effective test cases, and documenting our work. Finally, we learned about publishing and maintaining our created package. Each of these steps in the course of a Flutter package's lifecycle is crucial and brings unique challenges and learning opportunities.

Developing custom Flutter packages offers a fantastic opportunity of contributing to the Flutter community, improve your skills, and help thousands of developers worldwide.

With this, we conclude our guide to developing Flutter packages! Happy coding!

I hope you found the content informative and enjoyable. Thank you for going through this guide on Flutter package development. If you have any questions or need clarification, do let me know!

Frequently asked questions

How do I create a Flutter package and publish it?

Creating a Flutter package involves a few key steps. You'll want to first set up your development environment with Flutter SDK and Dart SDK. Then, you'll initiate a new package project with flutter create --template=package my_new_package command and structure your package including lib directory,, pubspec.yaml and license files. After writing your package and designing test cases, you'll get the package ready for publishing by finalizing documentation and versioning the package in pubspec.yaml file. Publish the package to with flutter packages pub publish command.

What is a Flutter package?

A Flutter package is a modular, reusable set of Dart code organized in directories, that extends the functionalities of Dart apps to different platforms. These packages make it easier for Flutter developers to integrate unique functionalities into their applications without having to write the source code from scratch.

What is the difference between packages and plugins in Flutter?

In Flutter, a package is a library of Dart code that can be reused by other developers in their projects. It enriches the standard Dart libraries and can be used with any Dart-based app. A plugin, on the other hand, is a special kind of package that provides a bridge between the Dart code and the host platform's code, providing the Dart code access to any services that the platform provides.

What is the difference between flutter packages get and flutter pub get?

flutter packages get and flutter pub get both download packages listed in the pubspec.yaml file. The difference lies in the context they're used. flutter packages get is used to retrieve packages for a Flutter project, updating pubspec.lock and populating the .dart_tool/package_config.json necessary for Dart and Flutter tooling. flutter pub get, on the other hand, is usually used for Dart-only packages or libraries, not complete Flutter projects.

How do you run a pub in Flutter?

In Flutter, you run Pub (the Dart package manager) using the flutter command in the terminal or command line. You can run flutter pub get to install or update dependencies of your Flutter project listed in the pubspec.yaml. Similarly, flutter pub upgrade can be used to get the latest versions of all dependencies. To publish a package to you would use flutter packages pub publish.

Frequently asked questions

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