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Navigating the World of Flutter for Android


Kesar Bhimani


Nidhi Sorathiya


August 10, 2023

August 10, 2023

Hello there! I'm excited to share my knowledge about Flutter, a remarkable open-source framework, with you. I've been working with Flutter for quite some time now, and I must say, it's been a fantastic journey. Flutter has made it possible for me to build UIs for multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, and even Linux and Windows, from a single codebase. This is one of the many reasons why I recommend using Flutter for Android development.

Android Studio, the official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android development, is a fantastic tool. I've used it to create numerous Android apps. However, when I started using Flutter, I found that it offered a smoother and more efficient development process.

Understanding Flutter

What is Flutter?

Google's Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit. It is used to create applications from a single codebase for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and the web. The ability to create code once and run it on numerous platforms is the primary benefit of using Flutter.

Flutter uses Dart language, which is easy to understand and learn, especially if you have a background in Java or JavaScript. Dart supports both strong and weak typing and is great for asynchronous programming, which comes in handy when you write applications that could be I/O-bound.

One of the key features of Flutter is the hot reload. It allows developers to experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bugs faster. Hot reload works by injecting source code files into the Dart Virtual Machine (DVM) during a live session. It doesn't require restarting the app or losing its state, which makes the development process extremely smooth and efficient.

Why Use Flutter?

There are several reasons why I prefer using Flutter for app development:

  1. Single Codebase: Flutter allows you to use a single codebase to create apps for Android, iOS, and the web. This means you write the code once and run it on multiple platforms. This feature saves a lot of time and effort, especially when you need to maintain and update your apps.
  2. Hot Reload: This feature allows you to see the changes in the code in real-time without losing the current app state. It significantly speeds up the development process and makes it more enjoyable.
  3. Performance: Flutter apps are known for their great performance. They run at 60fps, which is the rate modern screens display frames. This ensures smooth animations and transitions that look appealing to the users.
  4. Beautiful UI: Flutter provides a rich set of widgets and extensive capabilities for creating complex custom widgets. This results in beautiful, highly-customizable UIs.
  5. Community and Packages: Flutter has a strong community and a rich ecosystem of packages, which can help you speed up the development process. You can find a package for almost any functionality you need to implement in your app.

In the next sections, we'll delve deeper into Flutter for Android development, compare it with native Android development, and guide you through the process of setting up your development environment

Flutter for Android

Why Flutter for Android?

As an Android developer, you might be wondering why you should consider Flutter for Android development. Well, here are a few reasons:

  1. Faster Development: With features like hot reload, Flutter significantly speeds up the development process. You can make changes in your code and see them in the app in real time, without losing the app's current state.
  2. Single Codebase: With Flutter, you write your code once and run it on both Android and iOS. This is a huge advantage if you're planning to target both platforms.
  3. Beautiful UIs: Flutter allows you to create beautiful, highly-customizable UIs with ease. It provides a rich set of widgets and extensive capabilities for creating complex custom widgets.
  4. Performance: Flutter apps run at native speed on Android devices. They're compiled to ARM machine code using Dart's native compilers, which ensures maximum performance.
  5. Extensive Libraries and Packages: Flutter has a rich ecosystem of libraries and packages, which can help you add functionality to your app without having to write everything from scratch.

Flutter vs. Native Android Development

While native Android development has its own advantages, such as access to all Android APIs and services, Flutter offers a few key benefits that make it a worthy alternative:

  1. Cross-Platform Development: Unlike native Android development, where you need to write separate code for different platforms, Flutter allows you to use a single codebase for both Android and iOS.
  2. Faster Development Cycle: Thanks to the hot reload feature, Flutter offers a faster development cycle compared to native Android development.
  3. UI Consistency Across Platforms: With Flutter, you can ensure that your app looks and feels the same on all platforms. This is not always the case with native development, as different platforms have different UI components and styles.
  4. Less Code: Flutter uses Dart, which is a strongly typed language. This means you write less code compared to Java or Kotlin, the languages used in native Android development.
  5. Community and Packages: Flutter has a vibrant community and a growing number of packages, which can help you add functionality to your app faster.

Setting Up Flutter for Android Development

Installation and Setup

Before you can start creating Flutter apps, you need to set up your development environment. Here's how you can do it:

1. Install Flutter SDK:

First, you need to download and install the Flutter SDK. You can download it from the official Flutter website. Once downloaded, extract the zip file and add the Flutter SDK path to your system path.

2. Install Android Studio:

Next, you need to install Android Studio, which is the official IDE for Android development. You can download it from the official Android website. Once downloaded, follow the installation instructions to install it on your system.

3. Install Flutter and Dart Plugins:

After installing Android Studio, you need to install the Flutter and Dart plugins. You can do this by opening Android Studio, going to 'Plugins', and searching for 'Flutter'. Click 'Install' and Android Studio will install both the Flutter and Dart plugins.

4. Run Flutter Doctor:

Finally, you need to run the 'flutter doctor' command to check if there are any dependencies you need to install to complete the setup.

Understanding the Flutter SDK

The Flutter SDK is a collection of tools and libraries that you need to develop Flutter apps. It includes the Dart SDK, Flutter engine, widgets, command-line tools, and more.

The Flutter SDK provides a command-line tool called 'flutter' that you can use to create, build, test, and compile your Flutter apps. You can run various Flutter commands to perform different tasks. For example, you can run 'flutter create' to create a new Flutter project, 'flutter run' to run your Flutter app, and 'flutter build' to build your Flutter app.

The Flutter SDK also includes a rich set of widgets that you can use to build your UIs. Widgets are the building blocks of Flutter apps, and they make it easy to create complex UIs from simple building blocks.

Building Your First Flutter App for Android

Creating a New Flutter Project

To create a new Flutter project, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Start Android Studio: Open Android Studio on your system.
  2. Create New Flutter Project: Click on 'Start a new Flutter project'.
  3. Select Flutter Application: Choose 'Flutter Application' as the project type, and click 'Next'.
  4. Enter Project Details: Fill in the project details such as project name, Flutter SDK path, project location, and description. Click 'Next'.
  5. Specify Domain: You'll need to specify your company domain. This is used to generate the package name which is unique across all Android apps. Click 'Finish' to create your new Flutter project.

Building a Simple Flutter App

Once you've created your new Flutter project, Android Studio will generate a starter app for you. This starter app is a simple Flutter app that you can run on your Android device to see Flutter in action. You can also modify the starter app to experiment with Flutter's features and learn how to build UIs with Flutter.

Here's how you can build a simple Flutter app:

1. Replace the Starter Code:

Open the main.dart file located in the lib directory, and replace the starter code with the following code:

2. Run the App:

Click on the 'Run' button in Android Studio, or press Shift+F10, to run your app. You should see your app running on your Android device or emulator.

Congratulations, you've just built your first Flutter app for Android!

Flutter Packages and Plugins

Using Flutter Packages

Flutter packages are libraries that can help you add functionality to your app without having to write everything from scratch. They can be third-party libraries or packages created by the Flutter team.

You can add a package to your Flutter project by adding it to the dependencies section in your pubspec.yaml file and then running the flutter pub get command to fetch the package.

Here's an example of how to add the http package to your Flutter project:

Popular Flutter Plugins for Android

Flutter plugins are packages that provide access to platform-specific APIs and services. Here are some popular Flutter plugins for Android development:

  1. Shared Preferences: This plugin provides a persistent store for simple data. It wraps around SharedPreferences on Android.
  2. Firebase Core: This plugin is needed to use any Firebase service with Flutter. It provides a base for other Firebase plugins.
  3. Google Maps Flutter: This plugin provides an easy way to embed Google Maps in your Flutter app.
  4. Camera: This plugin provides tools to work with the camera on Android and iOS.
  5. Connectivity: This plugin allows Flutter apps to discover network connectivity and configure themselves accordingly.

You can add these plugins to your Flutter project in the same way as you add packages.

Optimizing Flutter Apps for Android

As a Flutter enthusiast, I've spent over a decade exploring the depths of this open-source framework. Flutter offers a unique approach to building apps, allowing me to create beautiful, high-performance applications for multiple platforms from a single codebase. Today, I want to share my insights on optimizing Flutter for Android and building for different Android devices.

Performance Optimization Techniques

In my experience, performance optimization in Flutter revolves around the efficient use of resources. Flutter apps, when properly optimized, can run smoothly on Android devices, providing a seamless user experience.

One of the first steps in optimizing a Flutter app is to ensure that the Flutter SDK path is correctly set. This can be done in Android Studio, which is my preferred integrated development environment (IDE). I usually start Android Studio, open the Flutter project, and check the Flutter SDK path in the project settings. If the path is incorrect, I correct it and click restart to apply the changes.

Another crucial aspect of performance optimization is the judicious use of Flutter plugins. Plugins can extend the functionality of your Flutter app, but they can also consume resources. I always make sure to add dependencies for only the necessary plugins in my Flutter project.

I also use the Dart language's asynchronous programming features to ensure that my Flutter app's UI remains responsive. For example, I use Futures and async-await to handle time-consuming operations, such as network requests or database operations.

Building for Different Android Devices

Building Flutter apps for different Android devices involves considering various screen sizes and device capabilities. I always test my Flutter apps on multiple Android devices to ensure they look and function as expected.

One of the tools I frequently use is the Flutter plugin for Android Studio. This plugin provides a range of features that make Flutter development easier, such as Flutter-specific project templates, live templates for common Flutter constructs, and the ability to run 'Flutter doctor', which checks your development environment for potential issues.

To create a new Flutter project in Android Studio, I select 'New Flutter Project' from the 'File' menu. I then provide the Flutter SDK path and my project details, such as the project name, description, and company domain. Once the project is created, I can start building the UI using Flutter's rich set of widgets.

Enhancing Flutter Development with WiseGPT

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored Flutter for Android development, highlighting its advantages such as a single codebase for multiple platforms, hot reload feature, performance, beautiful UIs, and a rich ecosystem of packages and plugins. We've also delved into the process of setting up Flutter for Android development, creating a simple Flutter app, and optimizing it for performance.

As we conclude, it's important to note that the world of Flutter development is vast and ever-evolving, with new tools and plugins being introduced regularly to enhance the development process. One such tool is WiseGPT, a plugin developed by DhiWise.

WiseGPT is a remarkable tool that can generate code for APIs into your Flutter project that mirrors your coding style, with no limit on the output size. With WiseGPT, you can eliminate manual API requests, response parsing, and error management strategies for complicated API endpoints, as WiseGPT handles everything for you.

As you continue your journey with Flutter for Android, don't forget to explore and leverage the power of WiseGPT. It's these tools that push the boundaries of what's possible in Flutter development, making it an even more powerful and efficient framework for building beautiful, high-performance apps. Happy coding!

Frequently asked questions

Is Flutter good for Android development?

Yes, Flutter is an excellent choice for Android development. It's a UI toolkit from Google that allows developers to create natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. This means you can use the same code to create both Android and iOS apps. Flutter provides a rich set of widgets and tools that enable the creation of complex and visually appealing apps.

How to install Flutter in Android?

Flutter is not installed directly on Android. Instead, it is installed on your development machine, and then you use it to build apps for Android (as well as iOS, web, and desktop). You can install Flutter by following the instructions on the official Flutter website.

Can I use Flutter with IntelliJ?

Yes, you can use Flutter with IntelliJ IDEA. IntelliJ IDEA supports the Flutter framework and provides a fully integrated experience for Flutter developers. You can install the Flutter and Dart plugins to enable language support, refactoring, and the full range of IntelliJ IDEA's powerful, integrated development features.

What is Flutter and Android Studio same?

Flutter and Android Studio are not the same. Flutter is a UI toolkit for building applications for various platforms from a single codebase. On the other hand, Android Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used for Android app development. However, Android Studio can be used as an IDE for developing Flutter apps.

How do I add Flutter SDK to IntelliJ?

To add Flutter SDK to IntelliJ, you need to first install the Flutter and Dart plugins. After that, you can specify the location of the Flutter SDK in IntelliJ's settings. Here are the steps: 1. Open IntelliJ IDEA, click on 'Configure' and then 'Plugins'. 2. In the Plugins window, go to 'Marketplace', search for 'Flutter' and click 'Install'. 3. After installing the Flutter plugin, it will prompt you to install the Dart plugin as well. Install it. 4. Restart IntelliJ IDEA. 5. Now, go to 'Configure' again, then 'Settings'. 6. In the Settings window, navigate to 'Languages & Frameworks' > 'Flutter'. 7. In the 'Flutter SDK Path' field, enter the location where you have installed the Flutter SDK. 8. Click 'Apply' and then 'OK'. Please note that you need to have the Flutter SDK installed on your machine before you can specify its location in IntelliJ IDEA.

Frequently asked questions

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