Julie  Donnelly

Julie Donnelly

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How to monetize Flutter apps using Flutter for Web

In 2014, $15 billion dollars was spent on the Apple store alone. That is huge money by anyone’s measure. But new app developers face an issue. How can they convince people to buy their app?

In this article, we’ll look at how we can effectively monetize our Flutter apps using Flutter for Web (that has recently entered beta). To do this, we’ll look at how I monetized an app that I made called Fueltastic.

The current state

Today, the way that this would occur would either be by setting a purchase price for the application, or by adding an In-App Purchase (IAP) to either ‘tip’ the developer, or unlock additional functionality that is worth paying for.

In my opinion, neither option is particularly enjoyable for the end user. After all, how can someone know that the app will work for them, or that it’s high quality without using it first? If it has 5000 five-star app reviews and people are talking about it, then you have a chance. But if you’ve just started out, it’s unlikely that you would have that type of excitement around your app. For people to use it, they have to pay for it to try it out. Sometimes, they can get a refund if they uninstall the app within a certain amount of time, but the thought of paying money for an app that they haven’t used yet could be unpalatable.

Is it worth it?Is it worth it?

Developers at this point normally want to satisfy two key requirements. First, they would probably like to make a little bit of money to offset their costs and time, but at the same time, balance that with the user experience.

Let’s take a look at two ways that apps are monetized today, and some of their downsides.

In-app purchases (IAP) to unlock extra functionality

Sometimes, IAP’s are used to expand upon the existing functionality of a free app. But, from the very start, are you going to have extra functionality that’s worth paying for? Plus, you have to implement the ability in your app to query the store to see what IAP’s have already been purchased. This means you have a dependency on in_app_purchase (from https://pub.dev/packages/in_app_purchase) and you have created purchasable items on both stores. So, you have to write the extra functionality that people will pay to use and then implement the _in_app_purchase_ package in your app. This could add quite a bit of time to your initial development effort. Of course, if it aligns with your original plan for your app and it makes sense, then it could be a good idea for larger apps.

In-app purchases to disable ads

Other times, the developer might charge a nominal fee to disable ads, and to support development. One thing to remember though is that when it comes to apps, user experience is king. If your app looks bad or is hard to use, then your user engagement will suffer. So then it raises the question, are you going to fuss over how your app looks, the precise background color, the animations, and go to all that effort just to slap a bottom bar ad on the screen?

Ads are necessary in today’s world, but let’s be honest with ourselves, they are annoying. You could have the most beautiful app in the world with stunning transitions, but if down the bottom you have a rotating banner ad trying to sell Kingdom Crush XIIV: Crush Harder in a really poor color scheme and font, then what’s the point? You also have to adhere to the advertising requirements set by the advertising provider (like AdMob), and people with ad blocking software on their phones still won’t even see your ads. So there is no monetization in that case.

Recap

So both options, In-App Purchases for extra functionality, or to disable ads, can be a little lacking. Flutter introduces a third option to monetize your app, and I think it’s a pretty fantastic compromise.

#flutter

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How to monetize Flutter apps using Flutter for Web

Google's Flutter 1.20 stable announced with new features - Navoki

Flutter Google cross-platform UI framework has released a new version 1.20 stable.

Flutter is Google’s UI framework to make apps for Android, iOS, Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Fuchsia OS. Since the last 2 years, the flutter Framework has already achieved popularity among mobile developers to develop Android and iOS apps. In the last few releases, Flutter also added the support of making web applications and desktop applications.

Last month they introduced the support of the Linux desktop app that can be distributed through Canonical Snap Store(Snapcraft), this enables the developers to publish there Linux desktop app for their users and publish on Snap Store.  If you want to learn how to Publish Flutter Desktop app in Snap Store that here is the tutorial.

Flutter 1.20 Framework is built on Google’s made Dart programming language that is a cross-platform language providing native performance, new UI widgets, and other more features for the developer usage.

Here are the few key points of this release:

Performance improvements for Flutter and Dart

In this release, they have got multiple performance improvements in the Dart language itself. A new improvement is to reduce the app size in the release versions of the app. Another performance improvement is to reduce junk in the display of app animation by using the warm-up phase.

sksl_warm-up

If your app is junk information during the first run then the Skia Shading Language shader provides for pre-compilation as part of your app’s build. This can speed it up by more than 2x.

Added a better support of mouse cursors for web and desktop flutter app,. Now many widgets will show cursor on top of them or you can specify the type of supported cursor you want.

Autofill for mobile text fields

Autofill was already supported in native applications now its been added to the Flutter SDK. Now prefilled information stored by your OS can be used for autofill in the application. This feature will be available soon on the flutter web.

flutter_autofill

A new widget for interaction

InteractiveViewer is a new widget design for common interactions in your app like pan, zoom drag and drop for resizing the widget. Informations on this you can check more on this API documentation where you can try this widget on the DartPad. In this release, drag-drop has more features added like you can know precisely where the drop happened and get the position.

Updated Material Slider, RangeSlider, TimePicker, and DatePicker

In this new release, there are many pre-existing widgets that were updated to match the latest material guidelines, these updates include better interaction with Slider and RangeSliderDatePicker with support for date range and time picker with the new style.

flutter_DatePicker

New pubspec.yaml format

Other than these widget updates there is some update within the project also like in pubspec.yaml file format. If you are a flutter plugin publisher then your old pubspec.yaml  is no longer supported to publish a plugin as the older format does not specify for which platform plugin you are making. All existing plugin will continue to work with flutter apps but you should make a plugin update as soon as possible.

Preview of embedded Dart DevTools in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio code flutter extension got an update in this release. You get a preview of new features where you can analyze that Dev tools in your coding workspace. Enable this feature in your vs code by _dart.previewEmbeddedDevTools_setting. Dart DevTools menu you can choose your favorite page embed on your code workspace.

Network tracking

The updated the Dev tools comes with the network page that enables network profiling. You can track the timings and other information like status and content type of your** network calls** within your app. You can also monitor gRPC traffic.

Generate type-safe platform channels for platform interop

Pigeon is a command-line tool that will generate types of safe platform channels without adding additional dependencies. With this instead of manually matching method strings on platform channel and serializing arguments, you can invoke native class and pass nonprimitive data objects by directly calling the Dartmethod.

There is still a long list of updates in the new version of Flutter 1.2 that we cannot cover in this blog. You can get more details you can visit the official site to know more. Also, you can subscribe to the Navoki newsletter to get updates on these features and upcoming new updates and lessons. In upcoming new versions, we might see more new features and improvements.

You can get more free Flutter tutorials you can follow these courses:

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