An Intro To Flutter

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An Intro To Flutter

When Google I/O came and went in May one of the topics that captured a lot of interest was Flutter. Offering a whole new option for cross platform code, Flutter has been gaining traction over the past few years. I talked about it briefly a few weeks ago, but let’s dive more into the details of why it may be worth learning.

What is Flutter?

First, let’s get a quick primer of what Flutter actually is.  It’s a toolkit developed in 2017 by Google that allows you to write code for both Android and iOS devices.  You can write code once, and then implement it anywhere.  And by anywhere, I mean Android, iOS, web, and desktop.  Already if you’re a freelancer I’m sure you see some appeal here!

It’s written in Dart which hasn’t been too popular of a language in the past, but Flutter is breaking that trend.  It’s been featured at I/O for a few years straight now, and Google uses it for internal apps, so it’s not going away any time soon.  The framework revolves around widgets.  Everything in a Flutter app is a widget.  Widgets describe what a view should look like given its current state, and when that state changes a widget rebuilds its description.  It sounds kind of foreign until you dive in.

Let’s see some code!

I won’t waste time going through how to set up Flutter on your computer.  Here’s a good link to walk you through that (don’t worry it’s super simple).  For my personal use I’ve been using Flutter in Visual Studio Code, but you can also develop in other IDE’s such as Android Studio if you’re more comfortable with those. To get started run the command flutter create hello_world.  This will take care of everything for you creating a new application named hello_world.  To run it, type cd hello_worldto enter that directory, and then type flutter runto kick things off.

Congratulations!  You’re officially looking at your first flutter app. Whether you ran it on an iPhone or an Android device (or somewhere else) you should see an app that looks like this:

So what made this app? Well, this is from the default code that Flutter made for us.  In your navigation sidebar you should see folders for things such as android, ios, and lib.  There are some others as well, but I point these out because at its core you’ll work in the lib folder.  And the others will allow you to transport that code into iOS and Android phones. That’s REALLY oversimplifying it, but it’s not wrong!

main.dart:

Let’s open the lib folder, and inside we’ll see one file named main.dart.  This is the core of your app right now.  If you open up main.dart you’ll see what is creating the widgets currently showing on your phone.  For anyone just reading and not following along, here’s what it looks like:

In here we can see pretty hefty comments explaining everything.  The app starts by calling the method runApp() and passing in an instance of our class MyApp.  And as we can see right below that, MyApp is a StatelessWidget.  There are stateful and stateless widgets in Flutter, and we’ll go into them down the road, but for now just know what a widget is.

One really cool thing about Flutter is hot reloading.  When you want to rerun an app and see any changes you’ve made, you only have to recompile widgets that have changed their state.  The end result of this is incredibly fast reload speeds (milliseconds). Go ahead and try this out.  Under theprimarySwatchattribute change it from Colors.blue to Colors.red. Once you’ve done that save the project and in the terminal press “r”. Instantly you’ll see the theme of your app change from blue to red.  It’s really that simple to reload!

I’ve loved my experience thus far with Flutter because of the way it is structured and hot-reloading. There’s a whole world of development to explore, but if you get started and want to let us know what you like/dislike about it let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Smartphone operating systems over the years

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Mobile OS or the operating systems used in smartphones, smartwatches and other mobile devices are the epitome of advancement and progress. These systems are very different from the ones that are found on laptops and desktops. Various companies have different features and different ways of functioning. Android and the iOS are two of the most popular operating systems that are used and preferred. Although Microsoft’s Windows OS had some fans, Android and iOS continue to dominate the markets.

But the market wasn’t always like this. We had multiple operatingsystems with each bringing something unique to the table in terms of functionality, design and features.Today, we look at some of the mobile operating systems that no longer exist.


The many flavours of Linux before Android:

Maemo

At this moment, almost 81% of the world’s smartphones run on Linux OS, Android being one of the most popular ones of all. However, not all the Linux OS have had a good past, some version of Mobile Linux is no longer in use. Maemo OS is one of those OS.

This open source OS was developed by Nokia, for smartphones and tablets. Like many hand-held devices,this OS featured a home screen, which allows the users to access other applications, a Google Search bar and a menu. This OS projects from Linux kernel, Debian, and GNOME and is based on Debian GNU/Linux. Further more, it draws from GUI, frameworks, and libraries from the GNOME project.

The last known version of the OS in any smartphone was called Maemo 5 which was found on Nokia’s N900 smartphone. However, in 2010, Nokia announced that Maemo was being merged with Moblin OS, another Linux OS, to create MeeGo.

Moblin

Moblin stands for Mobile Linux was produced by Intel. However, this OS has been discontinued and only surfaced in one smartphone. This OS first featured in the Acer netbooks.LG Electronics chose to use Moblin OS 2.1 for mobile Internet device class smartphone, the LG GW990.

This OS was known to enhance the power management policy, UI framework and other things.

MeeGo

MeeGo is a discontinued Linux version, hosted by the Linux Foundation. This OS made use of the source code obtained from Moblin produced by Intel and by Maemo produced by Nokia.This OS was developed in order to offer a better operating system to the hardware of various appliances, including smartphones.

The best part about this OS was that it offered various kinds of interface options which were termed as user experiences inside the OS.

Depending on the hardware of the smartphone, the users could find applications for their smartphone by making use of Nokia Ovi digital software distribution systems or the Intel App Up. The MeeGo OS was seen in the Nokia N9and N950 models.

Windows for mobiles and phones:

Windows OS

For some years Nokia had favored the Windows OS for their new line of smartphones. However, Windows Mobile phones and software have been permanently discontinued and are not being manufactured anymore.

Nokia Lumia was the brand face of the OS, which featured a different UI and a totally different look than your regular Android phones. Although the Windows OS was aeons ahead of what Apple and regular Android smartphones were offering in terms of smoothness and design, the fact that it joined the race a bit too late did not fare well for Microsoft.

The biggest aspect to Windows success had been that the phones were well-built and had great features along with being priced affordably. However, players such as Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi killed the game for it. Furthermore, the lack of developer support also had a large part to play in the downfall of the Windows OS. The last version to released was Windows 8.1, which now has been updated to Windows 10. Microsoft has nothing planned for these phones, and there will be no updates in the future.

The other big players:

Palm OS

The Palm OS was one of the most popular OS from the 90s, this OS was found in the PDAs manufactured and marketed by Palm Inc. The now discontinued OS came with an easy to handle OS, which made the use of touchscreens easy. Furthermore, there was a personal suite of applications which allowed the users to manage their personal data.Later versions of the OS were even adapted to work with smartphones.

Although Palm had a lot of things planned, the ideas and the plans simply did not work as they should have. Palm’s marketing for Pre and Pixi were nothing to sneeze at. What’s more is that Palm did not allow developers to develop WebOS applications until too late. So, all in all, Palm’s downfall was just like BlackBerry’s and similar to what happened to Nokia’s Lumia series while they offered great functionality there was always something missing.

BlackBerry OS

There was a time when BlackBerry enjoyed the popularity that Apple’s iPhone enjoys now, but now things have changed, and BlackBerry is a thing of the past now. The BlackBerry OS is a proprietary OS specifically made for the BlackBerry line of smartphones. The OS supported multitasking and was adapted in order to offer away to various features such as trackball, track wheel and touchscreens, as seen more recently.

The success of this giant began with its pagers, seen on the belts of lawyers, doctors and various other kinds of successful people; BlackBerry had made it possible for you to reach just about anybody. Then came BBM, a way to get in touch with everyone.However, when the world was evolving, and Android smartphones along with iPhones began dominating the markets, BlackBerry stuck to what it did. In 2013,BlackBerry did try to enter the game with its touchscreen, BlackBerry 10, butit was already too late.

The BlackBerry name still remains even today but is merely licensed to TCL to making Android-powered devices that are overpriced and just do not have the same appeal as the older BlackBerry’s.

Symbian OS

Once the Symbian OS was the king of all OS’. Used by Samsung, Nokia and Motorola, this OS was one of the most popular ones, at one point. Nokia made use of the Symbian OS the most out of all the other brands and rose to prominence in the smartphone market.

However, right about the time, the iPhone came around, Symbian tech started to fall behind. The main attractive component of this OS was the UI, and iPhone had a better, bolder and slicker interface. However, the death of Nokia’s popularity and Symbian OS came slowly with the popularity of Android and iPhones, which were easier to use and had a ton more apps in their app stores.

Conclusion

Android, today is one of the most popular OS alongside iOS. However, the massive popularity enjoyed by these two does not simply stem from the ease use of the OS but also from the support of the developers.

As we just read about the other kinds OS that came around, and are no more, the only drawback was that they joined the race a bit too late or refused to change themselves quickly to adapt to the new generation. By the time Nokia made its come back with Android, or even brought in Microsoft, which offered top-end features seen in no Android or Apple phone, it was too late.

Furthermore, Palm and BlackBerry also decided to jump in a bit too late. By the time the other OS decided to join in, Android and iPhone had developed by leaps and bounds and was out their reach.

Phonlab’s new Apple iOS app developer course

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Phonlab’s New Apple iOS App Developer course is finally here!!!!

We’d like to give you a warm welcome to our new iOS Application Development course at Phonlab. A course we’ve put together so that you can learn the art of iOS programming from scratch, with no hassle and no programming skills required.

In this course, you’ll learn the very basics of iOS app development in the Swift programming language. Swift was created by Apple to make iOS app development as easy as it can get. Combined with Xcode, it provides an easy route for beginners to learn how to code. Swift can also be used to build macOS, watchOS and tvOS applications, so learning it will help you a lot in the future when you’ll want to extend your knowledge 🙂

The course we provide is different than any other course. Why? Well, aside from the fact that we provide you the basics you need to have in order to be able to make iOS apps, we also provide you good real-world examples, DOs, DON’Ts, and support when you get stuck. You can ask us to review your code, and we assist you in putting your first app into the app store. We focus a lot on the basics as nothing compares with a good foundation when it comes to programming.

In this course, you will learn about Variables, Constants, Loops, Functions, Classes, Inheritance in Swift, and so much more. You’ll learn about Frameworks, CocoaPods and code examples and where to find documentation for each of these. You’re going to also gather some basic photo editing and graphics creation skills that will help you build your User Interface so that your users will love your app.

Security

We can’t leave behind the aspect of information security – not in a world where Jailbreaks, roots, hacks, and mods exist all over the place. Your application can be safer if you understand the basics of iOS security, that’s why we provide you a brief introduction to the world of Jailbreaking (modifying iOS), and we help you understand the risks your users take when they use Jailbreak methods so that you can make sure sensitive data never escapes from your app.

Publishing your first application to the iOS App Store is a little bit of a cause for celebration but at the same time it can be quite challenging, that’s why you get our assistance, and we’ll help you achieve your goals as a Apple iOS Developer.

I am glad I can be your instructor on this amazing journey. By the end of this course, you’re going to know things you never knew, have skills you’ve never had and most importantly, you’ll be able to get your feet on the ground of quite possibly the greatest programming community.  By the end of this course, you’ll have enough iOS knowledge to be able to sketch your own apps, and you’ll start a long and amazing learning process on which, this time, you’ll be your own teacher.

I know you have questions. You’re wondering “will I ever learn how to make these things appear on my screen?”. You will because if you’re reading this, you’re already on the good path. It’s normal to be concerned about the difficulty of programming. Nobody said it is easy, that’s why we’re here, to teach you what we did not have the chance to learn the easy way. To make your learning process easy, fast and consistent. 

ENROLL AT PHONLAB NOW

Welcome to the real iOS, let’s learn and grow together.

George AKA GeoSn0w

NOTE: Sign up for one year and save big with COUPON CODE GEOSN0W at check out.

Yes the 0 is a number in SN0W

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