Exploring Flutter with Randal Schwartz

I wanted to give a shout out to our friend Randal Schwartz. I appreciate Randal for his thought leadership around open source. As a former host of the podcast, FLOSS weekly, he has a cool mind for exploring the technical matter of an open source project and celebrating the human side of writing open source. Lately, I have reflected on the great value we get to use from open source software every day. I’ve become more mindful that those software creators are human. These people often create their projects for the love of the craft. It’s important to remember that open source devs have a story, feelings, and work to earn a living like all of us. I appreciate Randal speaking to that human side.

In GDG Central Florida, we had the profound honor to invite Randal to share his insight around the Dart programming language and Flutter. Flutter is a higher-level framework, which means that it abstracts away a lot of the low-level details of mobile development. This makes it easier to build beautiful and performant apps with less code. In the industry, there are several other frameworks that provide higher level abstractions over mobile dev like React Native, NativeScript, Ionic, and DotNet MAUI. Here’s some ideas that make Flutter unique.

  • Flutter apps are beautiful. Flutter’s widgets are designed to be beautiful and expressive, and they can be easily customized to create a unique look and feel for your app.
  • Flutter has excellent developer experiences. Flutter includes features like hot reload, which allows you to see your changes to the code instantly in the running app. This makes it much faster and easier to develop and debug your apps. If I recall, it was one of the first to offer this benefit.
  • Flutter uses only one language, Dart. Dart is a modern, object-oriented language that is easy to learn and use. This makes it easier to find and hire Flutter developers, and it also makes it easier to maintain your code over time. If you like the code movements in languages like TypeScript, Kotlin, and C#, you’ll enjoy Dart. People often celebrate the functional elements of the language too.
  • Flutter can be used to build apps for both Android and iOS, using the same code base. This can save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you are developing an app that needs to be available on both platforms.
  • Active community : Randal celebrated that 40% of features and bug fixes to the Flutter framework came from community contribution.

In contrast to standard conventions for expressing UI in markup like XAML or HTML, the Flutter community tends to promote the idea that all UI and functional code is just Dart. I feel like Android Jetpack Compose emulates this concept.

Overall, Flutter is a powerful and versatile framework that can be used to build beautiful, high-performance mobile apps. If you are a mobile developer looking for a way to improve your productivity and create stunning apps, then Flutter is a great option to consider.

We greatly appreciate Randal sharing his time and influence with our community. Here are a few links I captured during the meetup for your reference.
riverpod.dev – State management tool
fpdart – Tools to promote functional programming.
dart.dev – Learn more about the Dart programming language
flutter.dev – Learn more about the Flutter framework

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