back to article Google Flutter hits beta: Another go at cross-platform mobile dev

Fancy a Flutter? Google is hoping users will take a bet on its new cross-platform mobile development framework, whose first beta was announced at Mobile World Congress last week. Flutter is based on Dart, an object-oriented C-style language developed at Google, where it was designed by Lars Bak and Kasper Lund. It was first …

  1. Simon Ward

    Give it a year ...

    ... then it'll be dragged behind the bike sheds and shot.

    Cynic? Moi?

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Give it a year ...

      Only time will tell... but it's been in development for at least 2 years, and ~5 for dart (which they dog-food).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    About time they did this. Let's hope they learn from the mistakes of Xaramin.

    Dart is a really good language, from what I've seen.

    I think if they didn't try to put the VM into the browser so soon, then it wouldn't have had so much rejection by web "developers" who are unable or unwilling to learn anything beyond JS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Every article that has something to do with Google gets this same feel good anonymous commenter saying how great Google are.

      Certainly puts me off whatever's being pushed....

      1. Steve Knox

        Every comment that is somewhat pro-Google gets this same knee jerk anonymous commenter saying how put off they are.

        Certainly makes me laugh at the appropriateness of the handle anonymous commenters get here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Every comment that is somewhat pro-Google ...

          ...gets this same knee jerk anonymous commenter saying how put off they are.

          No. They don't. That would be a full time job and I already have one of those.

  3. Paul 75

    Compiles to JavaScript :-S

    I don't see the point of this really, ReactNative targets both iOS and Android, has a couple of years head start, and, well, you know - actually compiles to Native code instead of crappy JS - hence the name.

    Classic case of "not invented here so let's reinvent the wheel"...

    1. deive

      Optional

      Um, react is in JavaScript, your code is not compiled. Dart however is compiled. The difference is React Native uses Native UI components whereas Flutter has it's own renderer.

      1. Paul 75

        Re: Optional

        Hmmm, just rechecked this, and seems I was misinformed - which sucks somewhat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Optional

          > I was misinformed

          No. It's just the way React Native is "marketed" by the slimy company behind it.

      2. Bob Vistakin
        Boffin

        Re: Optional

        I'm reminded of the early days of java UI's, and the AWT vs Swing wars. Wasn't that exactly the same difference, i.e. one (AWT) used the UI widgets supplied in the host framework whereas the other (Swing) rendered every pixel itself?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Compiles to JavaScript :-S

      huh? React Native is crappy JS. It doesn't compile to native - it just lets you call native code and use native widgets, from JS.

      That's what Flutter (appears) to also do, except it's not crappy JS - it's optimised JS created from a "real" language... but they also have a native VM, which has been in development for at least 5 years.

    3. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Compiles to JavaScript :-S

      Dart can be compiled ahead of time to native ARM.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Compiles to JavaScript :-S

        "Dart can be compiled ahead of time to native ARM."

        Now THAT makes it actually useful!

  4. LDS Silver badge

    Too many languages?

    Today every dog and cat design its own language to target its own platform, and maybe one nearby. Maybe more than one. Go, Dart, what's next from Google alone?

    The landscape is fragmenting so fast, that every application not made from a single simple app risks to become a Frankenstein one made of several incompatible languages, libraries, frameworks and runtimes. Which will be obsoleted in a few years because some newcomers will feel the urgent need to come up with his or her new languages as well.

    Look a very silly approach to me, especially as the sprout everywhere to care for the needs of a single company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too many languages?

      I've never understood the desire to stick to a single language. I like having a choice, just like you can go to B&Q and pick a certain drill based on your needs.

      To me, Language is irrelevant, as long as it's the most suited for whatever it is I'm doing - unless I'm doing corporate work, in that case the one that's the easiest for others to learn.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "I've never understood the desire to stick to a single language"

        It's not sticking to a single language - I fully understand the need for specific languages better aimed at different kind of applications, but I thing they're becoming too many, with people writing languages "compiling" to another, just because the already existing one doesn't have a very specific corner case feature they need to borrow from another one without which they can't really work.

        This breeding of languages will become a maintenance nightmare in the near future, when people will have layers and layers of different languages because their fashion changes with seasons...

        1. annodomini2

          Re: "I've never understood the desire to stick to a single language"

          What's new, this has been going on since the creation of programming languages.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Too many languages?

        Only having one tool (language) in your toolbox is stupid.

        However, using multiple languages in a single project (barring something unavoidable that demands it) is equally stupid.

  5. Rob Willett

    We have two Cordova apps, in the Apple and Google stores, "Jambuster" and "Jambuster Blackwall Tunnel". They provide personalised London traffic information and use a wide range of IOS and Android features. Both are written in TypeScript using Cordova and Ionic. Both work quite well. Whilst they aren't as fast as a native app, for us they're fast enough and look pretty native, e.g. dialogue boxes, notifications etc etc.

    We also have a lot of plugins that work very well. The cordova plugin infrastructure is very important so unless this new framework from Google supports all the plugins, we won't be using it. We would also be concerned that Google will kill it in a years time leaving us high and dry. We've been burnt before.

    We've also found that as the smartphones get faster and faster, the fact the code is JavaScript matters less and less.

    We'll wait a year and see what happens. Let somebody else blaze the trail

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's the truth: most users don't care about apps looking native.

      A lot of the time I am asked to remove the native look, because it looks cheap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree, the best apps are the ones that look nothing like "Native".

        I'd rather have consistent over native any day.

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Flutter's doing entirely the wrong thing though in trying to mimic the native widgets. So it's neither native nor consciously unique — it's trying to look native without being so. Which is bound to go excellently!

        2. Diogenes

          The app for our local Bowls club changed recently so that is consistent across Android & iOS and they chose the iOS look and feel rather than native which means in Android they have broken navigation all over the place when you use the hardware back button instead of the back button built into the header ala iOS. The club has wasted hours of its staff time having staff show those used to the Android way of doing things how to do it the Apple way.

      2. fuzzie

        For the most part I don't either, but often the cross-platform toolkits fixate on getting the look right and neglect other bits like tabbing order or (system-wide) keyboard shortcuts. It's especially bad where those shortcuts are configurable and the native-looking application behaves differently only in some cases. We've been at this since Motif, wxWidgets, Qt, etc. Some more equal than others.

  6. John70

    Not Another Framework...

    How many do we need?

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      N(ot) A(nother) F(ramework)...NAF Sounds like a great name for yet another framework. Anyone suggest a word for the second F to make the name complete - NAFF...I'm stumped...

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "N(ot) A(nother) F(ramework)...NAF Sounds like a great name for yet another framework. Anyone suggest a word for the second F to make the name complete - NAFF...I'm stumped..."

        I'll bite. Not Another Fucking Framework. But you knew that.

    2. Steve Knox

      Obligatory

      https://xkcd.com/927/

  7. jms222

    Although it's Google

    Could fly for the following reasons

    * Can't be worse than current Android Studio

    * Who wants to learn Objective C for Apple stuff ?

    * People with Scandinavian names involved

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Who wants to learn Objective C for Apple stuff ?"

      You already have Swift for that...

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Although it's Google

      What's the chance of Dart and Swift meeting at some point? Google definitely wants a way out of Java for strategic reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Although it's Google

        Google is unlikely to adopt Swift for Android because it has barely adopted it for iOS owing to terrible internal build tools: they're just not particularly equipped for client software, and especially not for anything that doesn't use the same compilers and libraries as their usual back-end. That flows against Apple's desire tightly to control and to bind the build tools and the IDE.

        So internal familiarity with Swift is very low.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Congratulations to google...

    ...for reinventing Java Swing. Brillant (as in Paula) work.

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Give it a Flutter...

    There is a presentation on Flutter from when it was in Alpha given by Michael Thomsen and Tim Sneath when they were in London in December...

    https://skillsmatter.com/skillscasts/11307-flutter-a-new-way-to-build-mobile-apps

  10. JohnFen Silver badge

    Well...

    "The idea is that a framework that simplifies building Android applications that conform to Google’s design guidelines will also benefit Android as a whole"

    I understand the sentiment, but as I strongly dislike Material Design, I don't really want to see anything that makes its use more common.

  11. skalamanga

    What I'm waiting for is a decent IDE on android so I can continue to develop on the device I'm testing on.

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