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Launching Flutter.FYI

nitya profile image Nitya Narasimhan Updated on ・5 min read

TL;DR;

If you're interested in Flutter development, do check out Flutter.FYI, a blog series that I am starting up to track my exploration of this framework, tools, best practices and usage.

If you have topics or questions that you think I should cover, let me know. The rest of this post is just to give you a sense of why I do this.

My Flutter Journey

If you follow me on Twitter or dev.to, you've probably figured out by now that I am more than a little intrigued with Flutter, the new mobile SDK from Google.

My journey began in December 2017 at DevFest NYC when I heard Faisal Abid talk about Flutter, which had just been released in Alpha.

I installed the SDK, watched videos and worked on a few codelabs over the break. And I was excited enough by the potential of the platform that I spoke about it at Windy City DevFest 2018 in January.

I must have done something right because that video became the most-viewed one from the conference playlist. I also wrote up the Flutter in 30 seconds post on dev.to (which btw landed me at the #3 spot on the weekly newsletter, and earned me the top 7 badge, so yaay!)

Bolstered by this, I did something that I had never done before. I checked an item off my bucket list and submitted a proposal to O'Reilly OSCON, literally at the last minute.

To make things easier, I remembered that the amazing Kelsey Hightower had offered to help first-time submitters out by reviewing their drafts and giving constructive feedback.

Let's be honest. I didn't think I would get in -- but I had also signed up to co-organize the NYC version of the Global Diversity CFP Day event where we encouraged under-represented minorities in tech to submit talks!. It seemed hypocritical to not take my own advice. So I did it!

Fast forward the fateful day for acceptance/rejection notices and OMG OMG OMG.

The exhilaration on one side, and the sheer panic on the other. I've been doing tech speaking for years but this was OSCON. And then things started to get real. The Flutter team (bless them) decided it was time to throw their release schedule into high gear.

They released the first beta at Mobile World Congress in February. Okay, so it was a beta update. No big deal. I could cope.

But then a short two months later, they released their second beta. And wait, its a significant update. We are now all about Dart 2. Cue the panic attacks again. What does this change?

Turns out it was a significant update, but the migration path was not bad. The Flutter team had very considerately made it the first order of business to ship their SDK with a '''flutter''' CLI that made updates as easy as typing '''flutter upgrade'''.

By now I was convinced this was a technology worth paying attention to. So in April 2018, I ran a mini Flutter workshop at IWDNYC 2018. Given I had scheduled workshops on Glitch and Public Speaking in parallel, I expected a tiny audience and scheduled this for the smallest room. I was wrong. We had a packed room and an awesome time!

But wait. Here comes May and we are in full Google I/O madness mode. And wouldn't you know it? Here we go again with Flutter beta 3 released, this time in less than a month from the last update.

We got a Material Design refresh - and wait! Flutter is now a first-class target for Material Design Components development (alongside Android, iOS and web)? This is huge. And Will Larche and Mary Xia's talk was a fantastic walkthrough of that this meant in practice. (Bonus points: I recently found out Will is based out of Google NYC! Yaay!)

Then it was an exercise in live coding with double the dose of developer advocates named Emily. The amazing Emily Shack and Emily Fortuna walked us through a fairly rich mobile app built with Flutter and Firebase -- in just 310 lines of code.

And finally the talk you need to watch if you want to understand how state management works in Flutter, and how to think about UI design as an exercise in widget composition. Filip Hracek and John Sullivan did a fantastic job diving into the architectural elements that make this framework reactive.

There were Flutter-themed treats to keep my energy up ..

And Flutter plushies that were given away to early adopters and enthusiasts. I couldn't resist sketching them..

And later that evening, when I went to the Udacity mixer with my own little squishable, I knew what my next learning goal was going to be ..

Which is fortunate since the Flutter team worked with Udacity to release a perfect 2-part course to help developers Build Native Mobile Apps with Flutter. Oh, and it's free.

Then it was back home, where I was inspired to do a 10-minute lightning talk on Flutter to my local tech meetup in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Coincidentally, "Dash" (the Flutter mascot) was there, and wait are those dev.to stickers? Why yes, yes they are! (Thanks @jess )

If you want to get started with Flutter, the slides from this talk provide a quick review of the status and links to resources including the #io18 talks and codelabs.

It's been a busy few months but my Oscon 2018 talk happens in just under two months -- and a lot has changed since I submitted that proposal.

So I decided to start the Flutter.FYI blog -- both as a resource for tracking my own insights from exploring this space, and as a resource I can point to for those who attend my talks or events, and want to learn more.

FlutterCamp Logo

Shameless Plug

Flutter will be the focus of a 2-hour study group session at the upcoming GDG NYC I/O Extended 2018 event on June 4, 2018. We are also planning a full-day FlutterCamp workshop for later this month; the date is tentatively set to Jun 9, 2018 -- but we still need to work out sponsorship and logistics, so stay tuned.

If you live in the Greater NYC area and are working on Flutter, please do post comments and get in touch! I'd love to connect and chat, and potentially have you come speak at our events or mentor beginners at #FlutterCamp.

Until then .. the journey continues ..

Posted on May 30 '18 by:

nitya profile

Nitya Narasimhan

@nitya

PhD & Polyglot / I want to help translate awareness of technology into actionable learning with impact on career or software development. / Try-Fail-Learn

Discussion

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I have to say -- y'all have done such an amazing job on the editor for dev.to. It was a joy to compose, preview and ship a fairly long article with just a few quick liquid-tag inserts and markdown magic. You make me want to write more, longer posts!

 

Update:

I created a dedicated Twitter profile for Flutter.FYI so I could have a clean feed that posts only Flutter related articles and resources (my personal one @nitya covers a lot of ground).

If you find my posts on #Flutter valuable, do follow that one. I'm going to try to amplify things from dev.to as well (love this community).

More importantly though, I want to understand what questions folks have so I can spelunk those topics and write up deep-dive responses or share code snippets and demos to clarify that (to myself, and hopefully to you). So if you have any questions, please do share them either by tagging @flutterfyi or using #flutterfyi. I plan to monitor that account more than my personal one, for at least the next few weeks.