— What's New —

Welcome to Issue #4!

I continue to tweak the content and layout of the newsletter. If you have comments or suggestions regarding what you'd find interesting/helpful, please reach out to me.

If you've enjoyed reading The Flutter Report, please consider forwarding to a friend.


— Coding —

— User Interface (UI) —

Add Features to Virtual Keyboard
We've all experienced the surprising lack of a "Done" button when using the numeric keypad on a virtual keyboard. Diego Velásquez creates a handy control that sits atop the keyboard where a customizable "Done" button lives. In addition, Diego adds arrow indicators to move between textfields. Weighing in at just over 200 lines, this is a clever example of how you can add functionality that feels as though it is part of the underlying OS.

Folding Cell
What continues to amaze me about Flutter is that one can create very interesting effects with minimal code. This folding cell, written by FaoB, is no exception, it is only 160 lines! Check out the link to see animated gifs that show the effect, including a folding cell within a List view that expands to accommodate the additional space required.

Unique Slider Control
Simon Lightfoot wrote this unique swipe control. One of the highlights is the integration of the animation, which is the defining feature that makes this control feel natural to use. For example, if you slide the widget only partway, it will gently slide back into place.

— Flutter Developer Profile —

Andrea Bizzotto - Creator of CodingWithFlutter.com

Tell us about yourself.
I started programming aged 17 and I moved to London UK ten years ago. Back then I was very passionate about 3D Graphics and did quite a bit of work with OpenGL on desktop and embedded systems.

I can count a dozen languages under my belt so I was never afraid of trying new ones. Back in 2012 I started making mobile apps and I was hooked to iOS. Since then, I have published a few apps and open source projects, while working as a contractor for various clients.

What was the catalyst for you to start programming with Flutter?
I was assigned to a new project at work, which was entirely based on Flutter and Firebase. I immediately fell in love with Flutter and I knew this was going to be the next big thing.

At the time I had been blogging for a while, and I decided to double up and share what I was learning about Flutter on my blog and my YouTube channel.

Your Flutter videos are excellent! How do you create such a seamless coding experience?
A lot of work goes into crafting my videos. Once I choose a topic, I will create a demo app and try to keep the code simple and well structured. Then I create a script. This is where I structure my video. After that I do the recordings following the script closely. Of course I make mistakes, so I will record again or edit in post production. So yeah, in the videos I seem smarter than I actually am. :)

Considering everything, it takes me one full day of work for 15 minutes of video. I'm still trying to get better at it, especially with my upcoming Flutter course.

You are an active contributor to numerous open source projects. Can you share more about your perspective on contributing and would you encourage others to do the same?
I started open sourcing to carry my best code across project. I have a joke about how many developers are writing JSON parsing code at any moment in the world. If you can guess the answer, let me know :) I care deeply about sharing, and I feel privileged to be part of the amazing iOS and Flutter communities.

Open source is also about leverage and having an impact. And of course growing as a developer. Beyond what I can say in a few words, I recommend the Open Source Guides website and this article on Scaling Open Source Communities.

Maintaining popular open source projects can challenging for small developers. I wish there was a way to make this work for everyone.

Favorite Flutter plugins, tips or tricks?
Aside from the Firebase plugins, I really like RxDart, and mockito for testing. Oh, and my favourite widget is StreamBuilder. I always aim to have small, reusable widgets, which is the nature of Flutter widgets after all.

I always keep the simulator and IDE side by side on the same screen. This gives me an extra boost on top of hot-reload. Also, I like my keyboard shortcuts.

How can other Flutter developers connect with you? (links)
The easiest way is on Twitter, so feel free to reach out. I also have a Flutter Medium blog and YouTube channel, where you can follow all my latest content.

Photo: Andrea in Sicily, somewhere near the sea.