Dart & Flutter: What is it?

by Sep 16, 2019Mobile Apps

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As from my point of view, the original mobile app for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is not suitable for some industries, especially when there are some requests on special behaviour (such as automation, bar code scanning & automation or special system functionality).

Over the last year, I’ve spoken a lot with my clients about some of their requirements for a special app (as an example) for warehouse managing or for technicians working in terrain.

One of my colleagues from ARTEX Informační systémy, spol. s r.o. found language called Dart (and Flutter also) and, as most of the special mobile devices for such tasks run on Android, we decided to use it for our development.

The most brilliant thing is that the language is very similar to other programming languages (Java) and so any programmer with knowledge from other languages is able to learn it really quickly.

In the next few articles, I will try to describe what Dart & Flutter are, how to develop an app for Android in Dart and also how to develop a runnable app for some of the Business Central processes.

What is Dart?

Dart is a unique programming language that is primarily used to write the code for the development kit Flutter. It’s a general-purpose programming language created by Google, which can be used in a variety of application domains to create a multitude of things. The language program was unveiled at the GOTO conference in Denmark in 2011 and became a standard for developing all kinds of applications, but specialized in Android. What has specifically helped the programming language take off is thanks to the standardization from ECMA international. Dart is optimized for UI, developed for the needs of the user interface, with a fast reload to see changes instantly and to be fast on all platforms.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit, which was created and introduced by Google in 2018. Other than being open-source, it’s also a cross-platform toolkit that can be used to create apps for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows. The development kit has its own graphics engine known as Skia, and supports three platforms officially, iOS, Android, and web. It can also support desktop but not officially.

Flutter draws the UI from scratch, which is one of the key components people love about the kit. It has the flexibility of being a cross-platform development tool but can still maintain the experience of a native experience, which also enhances its performance on every platform.

The combination of Dart and Flutter for Android development

On their own, Dart and Flutter make a beautiful combination for developers when it comes to creating applications. For Android developers specifically, Flutter even has the native Andoird development tool beat when it comes to app creation. Flutter brings a new meaning to creating applications for Android, as it has no Gradle build times, provides a single language for layout and backend, and even has a seamless cross-platform interface that supports your apps whenever you might want to move away from Android. Flutter has great documentation as well, which makes it easier to learn Dart and write in it.

There’s no doubt that Dart and Flutter are the future for app development in Android, especially since all three are owned by Google. Even on their own though, they’d shine in any app creation, with an easy-to-learn development language, fluid animations, and unique UI, speedy development progress, and the cross-platform capabilities for Android + iOS apps from the same codebase. Google just released Flutter 1.22, which supports Andoird 11 and iOS 14 features, so what are you waiting for?

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