Google’s Flutter introduces new graphics features, support for WebAssembly and RISC-V

flutterGoogle’s open-source framework for building multi-platform apps for mobile, web, and desktop, flutter forward Today is an event in Nairobi, Kenya. As the name suggests, the team uses this event to showcase new features of the framework. Most of them are still in the very early stages of their development cycle. Major highlights here are greatly improved graphics performance, the ability to easily embed Flutter code into existing his web and mobile apps, and support for new architectures such as Web Assembly and RISC-V. Virtually all of these features are still behind the canary branch and experimental flag, but they show how Google plans to move forward with this project in the coming months, and the entire open source ecosystem that surrounds it. but it helps to understand where complementary work might help (about 40% of contributors to Flutter are non-Googlers).

Tim SneathDirector of Product and UX for Google’s Flutter and Dart programming languages ​​told me that the team decided to completely rewrite it. impeller, Flutter’s rendering runtime. This new version aims to fix some of the existing glitches of the previous engine, but also significantly improves performance. At the same time, we continue to support hot reload and other key Flutter features. “It’s a very different kind of experience. It’s so silky smooth,” he said. “Essentially, you can build a graphics rendering engine tailored for Flutter instead of leveraging a generic renderer.”

To achieve this performance, the engine features pre-compiled shaders to avoid previous engine frame drops during shader compilation. It also now supports custom shaders and pixel shaders. This allows many new effects. This will allow the developer to build numerous new experiences on top of his Flutter. Beneath all of this are the low-level Vulkan and Metal 3D graphics APIs for Android and iOS. The team is currently focused on working on mobile, but many of these new graphics features should already work on macOS and Windows as well. “Flutter’s general model is to take pixels wherever they can be painted,” Sneath said.

Speaking of bringing Flutter everywhere, another new feature the team is previewing is element embedding. Web developers use it to create standard

You can easily embed Flutter content using elements. While it’s certainly possible to write an entire application using Flutter and Dart, many developers may want to integrate this new code into an existing app written in another language.

The team is also working on new packages to improve JavaScript and Dart interoperability, and new tools to make it easier for Flutter to call system APIs on Android and iOS. It’s been around for a while, but it required writing a lot of boilerplate code for developers to make it work.

Looking ahead, the team is also starting initial efforts to compile Flutter to WebAssembly. With the hype around this binary format spreading quickly and both browser support and server-side tooling maturing, it’s no surprise that the Flutter team is interested in this technology as well. Most of the time, this is to get extra performance out of Flutter, he explains Sneath. “Dart transpiles into very strictly compiled JavaScript code, but it’s still JavaScript code, so it has to be loaded and interpreted. It looks like it will bring a reduction in the transfer over the wire. That looks interesting,” he said. “The potential of WebAssembly, not just on the web but beyond, is this new kind of portable linga he becomes a flanker. I like the idea.”

RISC-V based ClockworkPi DevTerm kit.

RISC-V, an open standard, royalty-free chip architecture, is also starting to gain momentum across the industry, though Sneath says it’s still in its very early stages (although RISC-V-based of ClockworkPi DevTerm Kit), but he believes that supporting this architecture could open up new platforms for Flutter, especially in the embedded space. His Android team at Google has also invested in this architecture, so it’s worth noting what Google is doing here, even if the number of developers specifically targeting this architecture is still fairly low. Definitely there is.

Finally, the Flutter team is also launching an interesting new toolkit for news publishers, building on the success of a similar initiative the team launched for game developers at Google’s I/O developer conference last year. With this toolkit, new publishers can quickly build new centric mobile he apps that support authentication, ad integration, notifications, and more. You don’t have to design these elements from scratch.

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