Welcome to our comprehensive journey into one of the most powerful aspects of Flutter, the Flutter Microtask. Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for creating natively compiled applications, has long been a go-to solution for developers seeking to build apps for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Its outstanding capabilities include speedy development, expressive and flexible UI, along native performance. But one gem on this list that takes Flutter's utility up to another level stands to be the 'microtask'.
In this blog post, which is tailored for both newcomers and veterans in the Flutter developer community, we will delve into an extensive exploration of microtask, including its basics, importance, and practical implementation. Apart from being an enlightening read, we ensure the content maintains a friendly and technical tone throughout, making it an enjoyable and knowledge-packed journey.
Flutter, with its vast and dynamic universe, caters to the evolving needs of developers. Central to this is the concept of the event queue, an essential tool for handling tasks. Among the many potential operations managed here, a unique type of task called Microtask stands out. As the smaller chunk in a more significant task, a microtask in Flutter enables finer management of task execution details. It maintains a friendly cohabitation with the regular event queue and yet differentiates itself in meaningful ways.
Microtasks live in their cocoon of execution called the microtask queue, which contributes to the larger event loop. It's Flutter's internal housekeeping at play here that seeks a fine balance between a user-friendly interface and efficient code execution. Microtasks play a significant role in managing asynchronous code, among other applications, leading to better asynchronous code in your Flutter applications.
Manipulating the event queues (one for events, one for microtasks) in your Dart code effectively will ramp up your app's performance and make it more responsive. At its core, each iteration of the event loop checks whether the microtask queue is empty. If it's not, then the event loop's job is to process the tasks starting from the first microtask.
The event loop, besides handling customary tasks like mouse events, also manages microtasks efficiently. Understanding how the event loop works with microtasks is crucial when we write asynchronous code in Dart.
Consider an example where a response from a network request has to be processed, involving a series of tiny computational steps. Here, each of these tasks can be treated as a microtask event, which is smaller and executed quicker than regular tasks. It's precisely these short asynchronous internal actions that enjoy priority when the next event in the queue is a microtask, hence the name, 'microtask queue.'
How does working with microtasks contribute to ramping up application performance, you ask? Well, the secret sauce lies in the art of managing asynchronous programming with precision. Use an event-handling code approach when managing outside events like mouse events, and switch to microtasks for short asynchronous internal actions.
For instance, consider the event when a future completes. A created future in Dart puts its completion callback into the microtask queue. This means that the future's completion and its associated callback are managed optimally. Scheduling tasks in this manner helps Flutter deliver that crisp performance developers love.
Moreover, handling asynchronous code with microtasks facilitates fewer surprises, such as missed microtask events or inconsistent states. A well-planned microtask queue ensures a smoother event cycle for your application, leading to a better asynchronous code setup.
In Dart, developers have access to many library functions to handle tasks. One such function is the scheduleMicrotask() function from the dart:async library. The scheduleMicrotask, as the name suggests, helps you in creating and scheduling a new microtask event in the queue.
Here’s a simple example of scheduling a new microtask:
In this sample code, you will notice that the scheduled microtask executes after the 'main' function and before the next event on the event queue. This implies that the microtask queue has higher priority than the other tasks pending in the event queue.
Understanding the theoretical concepts is crucial, but applying them practically is where the rubber meets the road. Let's dive into some practical examples to see how we can incorporate Flutter microtasks into our code.
Consider that we have a Future class that pushes out Future objects which may not have a non future value immediately available:
Running this script calls 'print' such that it logs 'Start', then 'End', and finally 'Running Future'. In these operation sequences, the event loop starts, moreover, the Future’s function execute synchronously, pushing all its calls to the event queue, postponing them until the current function completes.
Now, let's replace the Future function with scheduleMicrotask:
Unlike in the previous example, print logs 'Start', then 'Microtask is running', and finally 'End'. This change in execution sequence illustrates the higher priority of microtasks.
In conclusion, microtasks deliver better control over your code execution and they are highly helpful when dealing with asynchronous programming.
Future and microtask in Flutter are intertwined in a very nuanced way. Here, Future is a mechanism to represent values that might not be available yet, and microtask complements its working so that when a Future completes, the callback associated with it gets registered in the microtask queue. Intriguing, isn't it?
Let's illustrate this with a practical example.
Using this code, you can observe how the execution sequence changes when a new Future is introduced. The microtask ('Running inside scheduled Microtask') from 'then new Future' executes before Future 2, even though Future 2 was scheduled first. This difference showcases the microtask queue's higher priority.
Knowing how to use microtasks is an asset, but being aware of best practices around using them in Flutter applications can make a difference in optimizing your application. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
In conclusion, microtasks are a powerful tool to handle precise task scheduling and management in Flutter, but their efficiency is majorly governed by how adeptly they are utilized.
The beauty of microtasks lies in their very name - 'micro', which implies something small, and precise. Microtasks enable your application to manage its tasks more precisely without overburdening the event queue or making the UI unresponsive - a significant leverage for Flutter developers.
Take an example where you have a Dart app with asynchronous operations like network requests, user interactions, or drawing events. Here, even in the presence of many events, your application can retain its responsiveness and ensure that every tap, swipe, or network request is handled promptly and precisely.
Specifically, when dealing with Future and when the Future completed, leveraging microtasks can provide a more precise control on the execution sequence of the callbacks associated with the Future objects. This precision, in turn, contributes to better asynchronous code best practices, which potentially results in an application that's more reliable and consistent in its performance.
Understanding the theoretical aspects of Flutter Microtask is only half the battle. The true power of this concept lies in its application to real-world scenarios. Let's put the Flutter Microtask under the microscope of real scenarios:
With these real-world scenarios, the utility and indispensability of Flutter Microtask in creating a seamless and efficient app experience become even more evident.
In our journey, we aim to untangle the nuances of Flutter microtask through a blend of theoretical concepts, practical examples, and real-world scenario applications. We learned about the event loop, event queue, microtask queue, and the delicate interplay between them. We dived into the use of Future in connection with microtask and saw how these fine granular tasks can give us an edge in task management and scheduling, benefiting the overall application performance.
Remember that even though microtasks enhance app performance, reckless usage can lead to cluttered code. Use them judicially and adhere to best practices for deploying them.
We hope this extensive exploration of Flutter Microtask has proven valuable in your development journey. As a Flutter developer, knowing the ins and outs of tools like microtask pushes you one step ahead in creating efficient and responsive applications.
Dive deeper into the world of Flutter, explore more, and keep coding!