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Google Drops Support for Flutter and Dart: Implications for Developers and the Future of Cross-Platform Apps

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The writing is on the wall, between the track record that Google holds in support for the software it releases it is a matter of time. The layoffs for the Flutter, Dart, and Python groups will be felt and drive the abandonment of their cross development framework. We have to first understand how these languages/frameworks stand to understand the future of them and how Google affects them.


Python on the other hand is a mature language and stands far beyond the need of support from Google as it is widely used and supported.


Dart on the other hand was a language developed by Google, it is not a bad language, but it never took off until Flutter. It was originally a language that would be compiled into Javascript for web development. However, it was given a second life by having it used to develop Flutter applications. The language is a mix of Javascript and C (without pointers). It is easy to learn as a second programming or even a first programming language… and any language is better than JavaScript.


Flutter is a cross-platform framework developed by Google. The goal was to provide a way to easily develop applications initially for the Web, Android and iOS. It expanded later on to support Windows, Linux, and MacOS. The issue with Flutter has been its lack of backwards compatibility between versions, the drastic changes of the APIs for the libraries created with it, and problematic support for Bluetooth classic / BLE. Somethings did worked well, like maps, and it was easier to learn rather than Java for Android (iOS with Swift has always been a pleasure to work with, and Kotlin made Android simpler). I have learned it, used it, and deployed it… and it lost its shine pretty quickly. Now what made Flutter very attractive was the fact that it has been free, in some ways it seemed similar to Flex and Haxe. The developers should be given credit for providing an solid option… but the execution of the framework is what I feel took its shine away.

Flutter is built on the Impeller (used to be Google’s Skia Graphics Library) engine, which is actually really good and fast!

What is Skia?

Skia is an open source library for drawing 2D Text, Geometries, Images, focused on accurate, high quality and high performance rendering, which provides common APIs that work across a variety of hardware and software platforms, used by Chrome, Android, Flutter, Xamarin, Mozilla Firefox, Firefox OS, and many other products.

I have developed and deployed applications for Desktop and mobile using many frameworks and languages, if I needed to build a new application that is cross-platform for Desktop Flutter would be not on my list, same goes for Mobile, and for web it is not relevant at this point. Why? well for Desktop you can use Delphi, Lazarus, C++ (Qt, ATL/WTL/MFC for Windows only). For mobile again Delphi, Kotlin, or Swift (Xamarin is terrible, React Native is for web developers that cannot program outside web development). For games I would use Godot (my new favorite game engine), Unity (Unity is destroying itself with the new licensing model), or Unreal (a solid choice, just not for mobile). Web development now seems to be dominated by React, but I do prefer Vue + Vuetify.

This is only my opinion based on Google’s track record. The experience and frustrations I have had while developing with Flutter when trying to reuse code from a different project that had been developed a year prior, and to update a separate project with an older version of Flutter did leave lasting impressions. The best software is the one that you build 10 years ago, and it still runs like it did when you built it… this might sound simple, but it is not when projects are dependents on external libraries layered on top of other services. Without a proper staffed team maintaining Flutter and Dart what it means is Google is walking away from it. Who leads Flutter? Well, it is lead by Hixie (https://ln.hixie.ch/), from an open source point of view there are many contributors. However, the resources provided by Google that took this project off the ground.

Read the Reddit comments on the references section, and make your own mind. Most Flutter fan boys will not like my view, it is an easy language for a Javascript programmer to develop a native mobile app (better than progressive web apps). Personally, I would look at my options and pick up alternatives in case the rug gets pulled under you.

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