Developers

Coming up: ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter beta release

There is a brand new native ArcGIS Maps SDK winging its way toward a beta release in 2024 – the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter!

We first announced the upcoming public beta at the European Developer Summit in November 2023, and from your feedback, we know how excited you are about building native apps with Flutter. In this blog post, we’re delighted to be able to share more with you and dart over the key timings and events about the new Flutter Maps SDK beta release!

Code snippet alongside iPhone and Android emulators
An example of a cross-platform app for iOS and Android devices built with the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter, running from the Visual Studio Code IDE

What is Flutter?

For those unfamiliar with FlutterTM, it is an open source technology created by Google nearly ten years ago, powered by Dart (a C-style syntax programming language). It is a powerful cross-platform framework for developers who want to build apps for multiple platforms from a single codebase. Flutter is currently the most popular cross-platform mobile framework used by software developers worldwide[1], with a large and vibrant community of contributors. It’s no wonder with its modern API design, extensive tooling and features such as Hot Reload that Flutter is as in demand as it is.

Updating code with two phone emulators, with updating UI elements
Hot Reload is a powerful feature of the Flutter framework, allowing developers to make changes in their code and see the results immediately within the UI of both devices simultaneously. In this example the alignment of the buttons in the app is changed from the default lower left starting position to the center.

Why is Esri building another cross-platform development framework?

Esri’s values are rooted in purpose and service to you, our users, and as you know we listen to you and take your ideas and proposals seriously.

A few years ago we started to see more and more Esri Community requests for a Flutter Maps SDK to support native mobile app development. Our users wanted to take advantage of Flutter’s cross-platform tools to build apps for iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android (smartphones/tablets) devices. Since then we have been canvassing for interest and engaging with a number of you at our developer events. This increase in interest, combined with the fact Flutter has established itself as such a popular mobile framework, has given us the confidence that we can provide you with a public beta of the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter alongside the commitment and guarantees that these investments require. Like our other Native Maps SDKs, we have been building this product out on top of our native C++ runtime core as an idiomatic Flutter API.

Key timings and events

When can I access the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter Beta Release?

We plan to release the public beta in April 2024, coinciding with the 200.4 release of the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps. We will share more information about how to access the beta closer to the time, along with sample code, documentation and inspiration for geospatial applications built with the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter.

Esri Developer Summit 2024, Palm Springs

We are pleased to share that we’ll be presenting a dedicated technical session introducing the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter at this year’s Dev Summit. This session is designed for beginners to learn more about Flutter and the upcoming beta release. You’ll hear directly from the engineers who are building the SDK, and they’ll discuss the key features, how to get started, and the future roadmap of the product.

You can register now for Esri’s Developer Summit, 12-15th March 2024 in Palm Springs, California. If you’re not able to dash over in person, you can attend virtually! You can find registration details below.

Summary

We hope you are as excited as we are about this upcoming beta release! Why not register for the Esri Developer Summit and be amongst the first to welcome the new SDK in? There are in-person and virtual attendance registration options available, find out more on the Esri Developer Summit registration website.

To ensure you keep up to date with the latest developments as our new beta release for the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Flutter takes flight, follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter) or subscribe to Esri Community.

[1] Sources: “Stack Overflow Survey” 2023, 2022;  “State of Developer Ecosystem survey” 2023, 2022, 2021 by JetBrains; “Cross-platform mobile frameworks used by software developers worldwide from 2019 to 2022” by Statista; Google Trends.

About the authors

Rachael is a senior product engineer in the Developer Outreach team for the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps. Following an academic career in geology, she switched careers by learning to code and now enjoys building apps with the Native Maps SDKs. She loves sharing code examples, fun geospatial development workflows and the latest product updates with developers via blogs and talks.

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Developer on the Developer Experience (DX) team, looking for ways to improve the DX through better educational resources, developer tools, and community support among other things.

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