Definition of Flutter Version
Flutter is a UI based application that is used to create clean, beautiful, and natively compiled applications from a single codebase. The applications developed by Flutter can be mobile (both iOS and Android), web, and desktop-based applications. It is free and open-source and used widely by organizations. Dart is a language that is used to create Flutter applications. The first and foremost version of Flutter was named “Sky” which ran only for the Android applications. It was released on 4th December 2018 and has evolved over time and its many new versions were released in such a short period of time.
Before its first release in December 2018, it was unveiled in 2015 at Dart submit with the intent of being able to render 120 frames per second. As its first version was run only on Android devices. It is written in C, C++, and Dart language. The first official version of Flutter was released on 4th December 2018. Over 2 years many versions are released by the developers solving the major bugs of the previous versions and including new features that simplify its usage to the end-users. Let us understand the various versions and the important changes/ new features in each of them:
1. Flutter 1.0
The first stable release of Flatter was released at the Flutter Live event on 4th December 2018 after being 9 months in beta release. Some of the features in Flutter first release were:
- Google Maps and WebView features were available in this release.
- Flutter at this stage has the ability to run only on mobile devices.
- Dart 2.1 came into existence a bit before the announcement of Flatter 1.0 which helps a lot in improving the overall speed and usability.
- Flutter for the web, Hummingbird was introduced in Flutter 1.0
2. Flutter 1.12
Flutter 1.12 was released in December 2019 in the Flutter Interactive Event. It was one of the most stable releases so far and more than 1900 Pull Requests were merged from more than 100 contributors. Some important and interesting things that were included in this release are given below:
- Some severe issues that were caught in the previous release got fixed.
- Web support was made available at the beta level.
- Some changes related to the breaking APIs were fixed.
- MacOS support was made available in the dev channel.
- Tool experience was enhanced to make it easier and more interactive to use for the end-users.
- New widgets were added to the UI of Flutter.
- Improved SDK for supporting the existing Android and iOS applications.
- New processes were introduced that helps in detecting the breaking changes in the software.
- New APIs were exposed to resizing the image caches.
- Enable the usage of AndroidX for the new Android projects by default.
- Stopped the usage of deprecated features from the Gradle.
- Image streaming was improved for Android applications.
3. Flutter 1.17
Flutter 1.17 was the first stable release of the most the challenging year 2020. It was released on 6th May 2020 with the Dart edition of 2.8. The full infrastructure of Flutter was retooled for the new release processes. A lot of bugs were fixed in this release with almost 800 bugs closed from the PRs received from the contributors. Many interesting features were added in this release, some of which are mentioned below:
- New network tracking tooling features were added.
- Support was added to the metal API enhancing the overall performance on iOS devices.
- The major focus of improvement in this release was the memory improvements.
- Navigation of the app was speeded up by 27%-30% for the user.
- Overall application size was also reduced as a result of major bug fixes.
- Overall application performance like scrolling, reloading of images got improved in this version.
- Widget named as NavigationRail was added in this release which offers a responsive app navigation model.
- Accessibility was the major area focussed in this release being it text fields, scrolling or other input widgets.
4. Flutter 1.20
After 1.17 version, flutter 1.20 was released to provide a stunning experience to the users. More than 3000 PRs by 250+ contributors were merged in this release from all over the world. Some of the important enhancements and the major bug fixes in this release are given below:
- Various UI improvements such as autofill feature, new mouse cursor support, layering of widgets to support pan and zoom, etc were done in this release.
- New updates for the Flutter extension for Visual Studio Code were added that will automatically update the import statements if we move our files.
- Performance of the application has improved by removing the unnecessary items consuming the memory and hindering the overall performance of the application.
- Mouse-support is refined in this release and the mouse hit testing system was refactored to provide multiple advantages like better and accurate testing giving high performance than before.
- Autofill feature was added in this release for both the Android and iOS applications.
5. Flutter 1.22
The latest release of Flutter with the support of iOS 14 and Android 11 was introduced with the same key principles. It is the shortest release which was introduced just after the 2 months of the Flutter 1.20. In such a short span of time, more than 1900 PRs were merged by 150+ contributors. Some of the major changes and newly introduced features of this release are given below:
- The main focus of this release was that Flutter works perfectly fine with iOS14 and Android 11 which involves the latest SDKs passing the extensive test suite.
- In this release, for iOS 14, support for the new Xcode12, AppClip features, etc is added.
- In this release, for Android 11, the main focus is to provide smoother animation and support for new display cutouts.
- Font rendering issues and application crashes for iOS 14 were fixed in this release.
- Core functionality of localization and internationalization of application was provided in this release.
- One of the most important yet challenging features of ‘State Restoration’ of Applications in Android was delivered in this release.
- Performance for the smooth scrolling was improved when the input and display frequencies are mismatched.
- In release 1.22, along with the Flutter, a new version of Dart (2.10) was included which is a Command Line Interface (CLI) tool and is very useful.
- The ability to host the Inspector tab directly from the Dart DevTool directly inside of IntelliJ was enabled (before 2 copies of Inspector in IntelliJ and Dart DevTool was maintained).
The above description clearly explains the full version history of Flutter and how it got wide support from the public in such a short period of time. Flutter is used widely by organizations as it helps in the fast development of applications with the help of customizable widgets to create native applications along with expressive and flexible UI by quickly shipping the features and focuses on the end-user experience.
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