Flutter for Windows Overview
Okay, so last week you probably had to either be on vacation or hiding under a rock to have missed Google's announcement that with the 2.10 stable release, Flutter for Windows is now officially supported.
In addition to the high level overview in the article linked above, I also found this YouTube video by Flutter PMs Chris Sells and Zoey Fan to be helpful as well. They give a nice demo of building a Flutter-based Windows app from the ground-up, including building an install package for distributing the final app on the Microsoft Store.
Congrats to the entire Flutter team for reaching this important milestone!
Flutter to Drop Support for iOS 9 & 10 in Q3
Near the bottom of this Medium article listing the new features in Flutter 2.10, the Flutter team also included a notice that Flutter will drop support for iOS versions 10 and older in Q3 2022.
Given that iOS 11 has been available for more than four years now, this does seem like a reasonable decision. I thought it was worth mentioning just in case you're like me and are still officially supporting iOS 9 and above with your apps, as it wouldn't hurt to plan your transition away from supporting these earlier iOS versions in advance of this Flutter update later this year.
Performance Implications of Widgets vs Helper Methods
If you've ever had to break out a block of code used to display a repeating set of widgets in your app, you may have faced this dilemma: Do I use a helper method to handle this, or should I create a separate widget? Which will perform better?
Google's Craig Labenz tackles this question here in this short tutorial, and the answer may surprise you.
Tips & Tricks
Add Firebase to a Flutter App with CLI
Though not exactly "new news," Andrea Bizzotto wrote this tutorial a couple of months ago which I found interesting. If you're adding Firebase to either a new or an existing Flutter app, this handy command-line tool just may be what you're looking for. It seems especially helpful in avoiding all of the platform-specific tweaks that this process has required previously.
Widgets and Packages
Flex Color Scheme 4.2.0
I know I've mentioned this package by Mike Rydstrom before, but if you haven't checked out his Flex Color Scheme package lately, now might be the time.
This is one of those tools that seems to be falling into the "essential" category over time, especially if you're ramping up a new project and want to make sure your theme support gets off to a solid start.
Building Flutter Apps With No Backend?
I came across this post from The @ Company a while ago, and I have to admit that while I haven't done a deep dive on this technology yet, it has me intrigued. It especially seems suited for apps aiming to provide end-to-end data encryption between users.
In a nutshell, the tech is described as follows (quoting directly from the atsign.dev website):
The @platform is designed to help developers create end-to-end encrypted mobile applications. A full stack platform written in Dart and Flutter, it includes a wide range of libraries, services and widgets specifically designed for creating privacy-first applications on any platform.
For those wanting a quick demo of the tech, you may find this recent demo day video helpful.
How To Be Wrong (On the Path To Being Right)
Game designer Amy Jo Kim offers some great ideas here for bringing a new idea to life, from inception to final product form.
One of the important takeaways from Amy's article is that the product development process doesn't always follow a straight line. If you find ideas resonating with you such as "Test your riskiest assumptions first" and "Replace the fear of being wrong with curiosity to discover the truth," you'll probably want to check this out.
// From Mark
Although I came across this tweet from Reso Coder a while ago, I've recently been reflecting on ways in which I can improve as we continue to move forward in 2022. And striving toward more "flow" or a "deeper work state" seems like a worthy goal.
I like Reso Coder's list here, especially the ideas of blocking websites during "focus time" and putting the phone on airplane mode (or at least silencing notifications). I also like that he suggests a goal -- three hours per day of solid focus time -- which seems like an entirely reasonable target.
I've also found that for me, setting aside my focus time in chunks seems to help too. For example I might set a 25-minute timer on Alexa, and then do my best to not allow any distractions during that 25-minute period. If during that time the urge strikes to check Twitter or the latest stock quotes, knowing that I can check those things after the timer finishes seems to help keep me in the flow as well.
I think the important point here is to discover what works for you. And if you haven't yet discovered the joy of focus, I'd encourage you to try a few different ideas to figure out what works.
Let's get after it!Mark Winters