Running a Flutter web app and API on Node.js

Running a Flutter web app and API on Node.js

In this article, you will learn a bit about Flutter, with a particular focus on web support, which recently became available as a technical preview in version 1.9. You will add web support to an existing Flutter app and run it on a Node.js server alongside a simple API. Running a Flutter web app and API on Node.js

There are a plethora of cross-platform app development frameworks that allow you to code an app once and run it on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and even on a desktop. You may have heard of popular frameworks like Ionic,  Xamarin, and React Native. Another framework that is relatively new on the scene is Flutter.

In this article, you will learn a bit about Flutter, with a particular focus on web support, which recently became  available as a technical preview in version 1.9. You will add web support to an existing Flutter app and run it on a Node.js server alongside a simple API.

Flutter at a glance

Flutter is one of Google’s solutions to cross-platform development. While it is fairly new on the scene, its feature set makes it an instant competitor in this space.

It compiles your app down to native code that runs on iOS or Android, resulting in incredible end-user performance and frame rates. It supports stateful hot reloading during development, meaning you can make changes to your code and watch them get applied on your emulator or physical device with no need to restart your app or lose your app state.

Flutter’s primary focus has been iOS and Android. With the 1.9 release, web support has been added as a technical preview. It is still in its early days, and it may not be production-ready just yet, but it is certainly exciting and promising. Minimal changes are required to take an existing Flutter app and compile it into an HTML, CSS, and JS bundle, as you will soon see.

Why run a Flutter web app on Node.js?

Flutter web apps can run on any web server. So why would you want to host your Flutter web app on a Node.js server? Well, to be honest, for many of the same reasons that you’d choose Node.js for your other web apps and APIs: it is incredibly good at servicing large volumes of simple requests, you can code your front end and back end in JavaScript, and so on.

You might already have a Node.js API that serves data to your Flutter iOS or Android apps. Compiling your Flutter app as a web app and hosting it on your existing Node.js server might be a logical extension to your current solution, with no need to add additional hosting costs to the equation.

node.js flutter api

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