Flutter is an extremely useful framework for developing mobile applications, but can it be used for web development?
Read on to learn more about what it takes to use Flutter for web development.
Using Flutter for Web Development
Flutter is an emerging framework for web development that offers a lot of benefits for developers. It requires more front-end knowledge than back-end, as it simplifies and automates many parts of the configuration and build process but requires you to build out the actual interface of the app.
What Is Flutter?
Flutter is a UI development framework used for creating applications, usually mobile applications but also web applications. Flutter software is structured to allow developers to use a single code base to power iOS and Android platforms, saving development time.
Flutter offers in-depth documentation for developers that walks you through the process of building a web application with Flutter software. They also have public code samples from existing web applications so that you can look at applications that are already set up for inspiration and guidance.
Flutter is supported by nearly all modern browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox. This makes it a great choice for making applications with good cross-browser compatibility.
Do You Have To Know How To Code To Use Flutter?
Flutter does require coding knowledge, although it drastically simplifies the process of configuring and building the app on the server. With just a few commands on the command line, you can install and create an application that works on iOS, Android, and the web.
From there, you can start developing your custom app locally and then deploy it on the web in just a few steps.
Coding Languages You Need To Use Flutter
HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is a tag-based language used to create the structure of an application. It’s used for virtually every web page and dictates how browsers parse the code. Anyone who wants to build a web page or application needs to know how to use HTML, and Flutter users are no exception.
Example HTML tags are paragraphs, spans, and divs, each with its role in building a web page. Some tags are block-level tags, and others are inline, which dictates how they display on the page. Having the right HTML structure for your page is important for search engine optimization (SEO) and ease of use, especially with assistive technologies.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and it’s used to manipulate the way HTML elements look on the page. It can be used to determine the style of a web page of an application, from the colors used to the shape of elements on the page to the way elements look when animated.
Every browser includes some default styling for web pages, but you need to write CSS to customize a page beyond the basics.
Many developers use CSS along with CSS preprocessors like Sass, Stylus, and LESS. These preprocessors make it easier to write styling rules by introducing features like nesting, inheritance selectors, and mixins.
Steps for Building a Web Application With Flutter
Here are the steps on how to build a web application with Flutter:
1. Install Flutter
You can install Flutter by clicking on the appropriate link on Flutter’s Getting Started page. You just need to choose the operating system you’re working with: Windows, macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS. Note that the installation directions on the page are different if you’re working out of China.
2. Set Up Your Text Editor
Part of setting up your development environment with Flutter is choosing a text editor. Sublime, Atom, and Notepad++ are solid options, but Flutter also offers text editor plugins like Android Studio and IntelliJ. These plugin text editors offer widget editing assistants, debug support, and syntax highlighting, making the development process run more smoothly.
3. Create a New Flutter Project
The next step in setting up a Flutter application is to create a new Flutter app. You can do this through Android Studio or IntelliJ, or you can use your command-line interface.
If you’re using a plugin to create your new Flutter project, simply open the IDE and click Create New Flutter Project, then select Flutter Application as your project type. Click Next > Install SDK, then enter a project name when prompted. You can then click Next > Finish and wait for the project to be initiated.
This’ll create a directory named after your application which you can open and edit in any editor.
If you’re using a command-line interface to create your application, simply run “flutter create” followed by a name for your app, then change directories into your newly created project directory.
4. Run the Application
If you’re using the command-line interface to run your application, simply use the command “flutter run.” This’ll build the application so that you can see it on your device.
If you’re using a plugin like Android Studio, first locate the toolbar. Then choose the device you want to run the app on in the target selector. If you don’t see the right device, select Tools > AVD Manager and create one. Finally, you can click the run icon in the toolbar to build your app.