DEV Community

Enzo Conty
Enzo Conty

Posted on

πŸ’™ #Flutter: NavigationRail, the new widget of Flutter v1.17 !

Recently I've been showing a real interest into Flutter and Dart, and generally into cross-platform mobile development, and Flutter caught my eyes almost 6 months ago, and since i'm following every news about the language, every conference and every tweet and I recommend you to do the same as the Flutter community is especially active on Twitter !

Recently, this week actually, the Flutter team releases the v1.17 Stable of Flutter, and beside the performance improvement, the support of Metal on iOS and more than 6000 issues closed on the framework Github repository, there were also a couple of widgets that were added to the cross-platform framework.

Today we're going to speak about one of them, the NavigationRail widget !

What's the NavigationRail widget ?

It's a material widget (so included in material.dart), and you can see it as an alternative of the BottomNavigationBar widget with the look of a Drawer, you can display it on the right or left side of your app to navigate between multiple screens.

Here is an example found on Dribbble and other sources

Credits to @svitlana_bilan

How to use it ?

After following the official documentation, you'll find out that there are a lot of common attributes with the BottomNavigationBar that we talked about just before, so as a good alternative it'll be easy to change a BottomNavigationBar widget into a NavigationRail widget and everybody like that, especially those who want to experiment with the beta of Flutter Web !

Enough talking and let's take an example.
I've made a snippet on Codepen, which is super cool to share Flutter code since you see the result as you write your code, for you so you can check it here

But just in case, I'll provide the code here too:

  selectedIndex: _selectedIndex,
  onDestinationSelected: (int index) {
    setState(() {
      _selectedIndex = index;
  labelType: NavigationRailLabelType.selected,
  destinations: [
      icon: Icon(Icons.favorite_border),
      selectedIcon: Icon(Icons.favorite),
      label: Text('First'),
      icon: Icon(Icons.bookmark_border),
      selectedIcon: Icon(,
      label: Text('Second'),
      icon: Icon(Icons.star_border),
      selectedIcon: Icon(,
      label: Text('Third'),
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

So it doesn't look that complicated right ?
Let me explain the code for those who want more details.


Short story long, selectedIndex is an integer, initialised in your stateful widget that represent the index into destinations for the current selected NavigationRailDestination.
He'll be modified with the help of a setState called in an anonymous function inside the onDestinationSelected.

Almost every other attributes is for the styling of your widget, so I ll let you play with my snippet from Codepen to discover those !

So what ideas this new widget will bring to your upcoming projects ?
Let me know on Twitter: @EnzoConty !

Top comments (0)