Flutter for Beginners: Getting Started

Welcome to Flutter for Beginners series. This is the first part of the series.


Contents


Flutter is an open-source UI (User Interface) framework developed by Google. It allows you to build cross-platform applications for mobile, web, and desktop using a single codebase. Flutter uses the Dart programming language and provides a rich set of pre-built widgets and tools to create visually appealing and high-performance applications.

Here are some reasons why you might consider using Flutter:

  1. Single codebase: With Flutter, you write your application logic once and can deploy it on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, web, and desktop. This saves development time and effort compared to building separate apps for each platform.
  2. Fast development: Flutter offers a hot reload feature, which allows you to see the changes you make to the code instantly without having to restart the app. This significantly speeds up the development process and enables a smooth and iterative development workflow.
  3. Beautiful and customizable UI: Flutter provides a wide range of customizable widgets that enable you to create stunning and responsive user interfaces. The framework uses a layered architecture called "widgets," which allows you to compose complex UI elements easily.
  4. High performance: Flutter apps are compiled into native code, which ensures high performance and fast execution. Additionally, Flutter leverages hardware acceleration and its own rendering engine to deliver smooth animations and fluid user experiences.
  5. Access to native features: Flutter allows you to access platform-specific features and APIs using its extensive set of plugins. These plugins provide integration with device functionalities like camera, GPS, sensors, and more, allowing you to create powerful and feature-rich applications.
  6. Active developer community: Flutter has gained significant popularity since its release, and it has a vibrant and active community of developers. The community provides support, resources, and a wide range of packages and libraries that can be used to enhance your Flutter applications.

It's important to consider your specific project requirements and target platforms when deciding whether to use Flutter. If you want to build cross-platform applications with a rich and customizable UI, Flutter can be a great choice that offers both productivity and performance advantages.

Here's a simple step-by-step tutorial to get you started with Flutter:

Step 1: Install Flutter

Visit the official Flutter website at https://flutter.dev and download the latest stable release for your operating system. The documentation clearly describes the requirement and how to install Flutter for your operating system, as well as prepare the emulator/simulator to run the project.

If you are on macOS, you can also install Flutter using Homebrew.

Step 2: Verify Flutter installation

Once you finish the installation, you can check if it is installed correctly. To do that, open a terminal or command prompt and run the following command:

flutter doctor

This command checks if Flutter is correctly installed and identifies any missing dependencies.

Flutter doctor

Step 3: Set up an IDE

Flutter supports multiple Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, and IntelliJ IDEA.

In this tutorial, we will use Visual Studio Code to write our code. We also use Flutter extension to help us run and refactor our code. It will automatically install the Dart extension for syntax highlighting, code completion, etc.

Step 4: Create a new Flutter project

Create a new Flutter project by running the following command in the terminal or command prompt:

flutter create my_first_app

This creates a new Flutter project named "my_first_app" in the specified location.

Step 5: Run the starter app

Once the project is created, navigate to the project directory using the command:

cd my_first_app

Launch the app on an emulator or connected device by running:

flutter run

This command builds and deploys the Flutter app to your emulator/device. The image below shows our first app looks in the emulator. It is not a blank app, it is an example app displaying a counter of how much we tap the button.

Congratulations! You've created your first Flutter app.