Flutter Google’s cross-platform development toolkit has reached version 1.2 stable. In its early releases, the tech giant Google introduced some extraordinary performance enhancements, improved support for Metal on iOS, and Material widgets. Recently, Flutter 1.20 stable got released, which includes more performance improvements, including several UI improvements, an update to the Visual Studio code extension, autofill for mobile text fields, and much more.

According to Google, there are now almost 90,000 apps developed with Flutter, and they have seen an increase from 50,000 such apps back in April. According to their stats, much growth in these apps comes from India, and Google says that India is now the top region for Flutter developers.

What are the Performance Improvements in this stable version?

Let’s find out what Google has improved in Flutter 1.20:

  • Google has recently included a performance fix for the tree-shake-icons, which now has become the default when developing non-web applications. This reduces the size of the app by removing any icons that are not used. Currently, icon font tree shaking is restricted, but Google says that this restriction will be lifted in the future. 
  • In case if an app has janky animation during the first run that later become smooth in the following launches, this is due to shader compilation jank. With Skia shading language shader warm-up, the shader compilation jank can be reduced by up to 2x. 
  • Google has also refactored mouse hit testing, enhancing the performance in web-based microbenchmarks as much as 15x. Consequently, Google has been able to add support for more mouse cursors, which will be displayed in many commonly used widgets. 
  • Also, the tech giant has improved the decoding speed of the Dart UTF-8 decoder in Dart 2.9. In UTF-8 decoding benchmarks, the company has measured enhancements of approximately 200% for English text and 400% for Chinese text on low-end ARM devices.

Autofill for the mobile text field

This feature was highly requested among developers to get support for text autofill in flutter apps. With this new release Flutter 1.20, basic autofill functionality has been added, though some platform-specific configurations are not supported. Google is also bringing this feature support for web apps.

InteractiveViewer Widget

This latest widget is designed for creating interactive elements in the apps, such as zoom, pan, and more. The API documentation is available, which you can check to delve into the development process of this new widget.

Dart DevTools embedded in Visual Studio Code

A new extension has been added to Visual Studio Code by Google that brings Dart DevTools directly into the Visual Studio Code coding workspace. You can enable this with the dart.previewEmbeddedDevTools setting.

Other Improvements

A lot of new features and developer tools are added in Flutter 1.20 stable. A few are Updated Slider, TimePicker, RangeSlider, and DatePicker widgets. Besides a new responsive licenses page available from the AboutDialog: a new pubspec.YAML format requirement for publishing new or updated Flutter plugins; an updated Network page in Dart DevTools with support for web socket profiling; support for automatically updating import statements when files are moved or renamed in Visual Studio Code; and much more.

As per Google, Flutter 1.20 is the framework’s most significant release yet still has a lot to come. Google developers are still working on implementing sound null safety support, new versions of the Ads, Maps & WebView plugins, and more. They are also working on making better web and desktop support, specifically on Linux.

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