Flutter combines the best features from native and hybrid application development approaches. Instead of developing separate apps for platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux, Flutter allows developers to build once and deploy across multiple platforms.
But how can developers tap into native platform features and integrate robust SDKs?
Enter the Method Channel
Method Channel acts as a powerful communication mechanism between Flutter and the native platform, opening a world of possibilities for an app. By leveraging the Method Channel, a developer can seamlessly integrate iOS and Android SDKs into their Flutter project, unlocking new functionalities and expanding their app’s potential.
In this blog, our developer Alwinraj Sahayaraj delves into the exciting world of SDK integration in Flutter using Method Channels. He will guide you through the process of integrating SDKs, accessing native functionalities, and creating a seamless bridge between Flutter and the native platform.
Let’s start with what an SDK is.
What is SDK?
Software Development Kit (SDK) or devkit is a set of software tools and programs that developers use to create applications for specific platforms.
SDK is like a magical toolbox that comprises everything a developer needs to bring their app ideas to life on a particular platform. This toolbox includes libraries, documentation, code samples, processes, and guides that developers can use and integrate into their own apps.
SDKs are created to be used for particular platforms or programming languages. When developing an Android application, you would require an Android SDK toolkit, while an iOS SDK would be necessary for building an iOS app.
Similarly, a VMware SDK would be essential if you intend to integrate with the VMware platform. Likewise, a Nordic SDK would be the appropriate choice for developing bluetooth or wireless products. The specificity of SDKs ensures developers have the tools tailored to their intended platform or technology.
Now, let’s see how SDK is integrated into Flutter.
SDK Integration into Flutter
SDK integration in Flutter involves integrating external development kits into your Flutter project. These SDKs are pre-built libraries or tools offering additional features or services not native to the Flutter framework.
They are developed in different programming languages like Dart, Swift, Objective-C, Java, or Kotlin. Incorporating these SDKs into your Flutter project allows you to access extended functionality and leverage existing libraries and tools to enhance your app development process.
SDK integration enables you to create a feature-rich, dynamic, and user-friendly app. Built on multiple programming languages, they are compatible with different platforms.
SDK integration in Flutter enables developers to leverage native platform features, tap into third-party services, and extend the capabilities of their applications. It empowers developers to improve user experience and accelerate the development process by leveraging the power of tailored SDKs.
Some everyday use cases of SDK integration in Flutter include the following.
Native Functionality Interaction
Flutter offers a robust platform channel mechanism that facilitates seamless communication between Flutter and the native iOS or Android platform. By integrating SDKs, developers can interact with device-specific functionalities like the camera, GPS, sensors, Bluetooth, and other native APIs.
Third-Party Service Access
Numerous SDKs provide consistent integrations with widely used third-party services, including analytic platforms, push notification services, authentication providers, payment gateways, and social media networks. By integrating these SDKs into your Flutter app, you can effortlessly incorporate these essential services, enabling features such as user analytics, real-time notifications, secure authentication, streamlined payments, and seamless social media integration.
Readymade UI Components
Specific SDKs offer ready-made UI components that can be integrated into your Flutter app, saving valuable time and effort. These pre-built components enable you to swiftly achieve desired designs or functionalities without creating them from scratch. By leveraging these UI components, you can expedite the development process, enhance the visual appeal of your app, and ensure consistency across different screens and interactions.
SDK integration geared towards performance optimization can significantly boost the overall performance, reduce network usage or improve the overall rendering efficiency of your app. You can optimize various aspects of your app’s functionality by integrating performance-focused SDKs, such as image processing libraries, networking libraries, or caching mechanisms.
SDK integration with advertising networks or in-app monetization platforms offers a seamless solution to incorporate various monetization strategies into your app. By integrating these SDKs, you can display targeted ads, track important metrics such as ad impressions and revenue, and implement in-app purchases and subscriptions seamlessly.
One of the most effective ways to achieve seamless SDK integration in Flutter is using Method Channels.
What is Method Channel & how it is used in SDK integration?
The Method Channel is like a virtual bridge that connects your Flutter app with the native platform, whether it’s Android or iOS.
Using the Method Channel, you can invoke platform-specific code from your Flutter app and receive the corresponding results. This bidirectional communication mechanism facilitates data exchange and functionality between Flutter and the native platform.
Within the Flutter/services package, you’ll find the Method Channel class, crucial in establishing a communication channel between your Flutter app and the native platform. This channel facilitates the invocation of methods and the handling of results, enabling seamless interaction between Flutter and the underlying native platform.
Let’s see how the code is integrated into Flutter. To integrate SDKs using Method Channels in Flutter, there are a few steps to be followed on both the Flutter side and the native (Android and iOS) platform side.
First, let’s see the flutter side.
To use the Method Channel in Flutter for SDK integration, here is the fundamental structure for creating and invoking a Method Channel in Flutter and iOS.
Native (Android + iOS)
On the native side (iOS), specifically inside the AppDelegate file, you would typically implement the Method Channel functionality. This is where you handle method invocations from the Flutter app and establish communication between Flutter and the iOS platform.
The following is the basic structure for creating and invoking a Method Channel in Flutter and iOS:
On the Android native side (MainActivity.kt), you can set up the Method Channel.
To integrate the SDK on the Android side, you need to perform the following steps:
Step 1: Add the AAR file to your project: Navigate to the project directory: Project → android → app → lib (create the “lib” directory if it doesn’t exist).
Place the AAR file inside the “lib” directory
Step 2: Modify the build.gradle file (app level):
Open the build.gradle file located at: Project → android → app → build.gradle.
And need to add the required dependencies for SDK integration (mentioned in the SDK documents)
You will need to do the following to incorporate this functionality into your Flutter app.
Step 1: Review the SDK Integration Document provided by the SDK developer before proceeding with the implementation. This document contains essential information and instructions on how to integrate the SDK into your application effectively.
Step 2: If the SDK Integration Document specifies any required API calls and data retrieval, it is essential to follow those instructions. These API calls will enable you to fetch the necessary data to be passed as arguments to the SDK integration scenario.
Step 3: To pass values from Flutter to iOS after retrieving them via an API call, you need to write an API call function in Flutter. This function will make the necessary HTTP requests and fetch the required data. Once the data is obtained, you can pass it as arguments to the SDK integration in Flutter. These arguments will be subsequently sent from Flutter to the iOS platform.
By following these steps and carefully reviewing the SDK Integration Document, you can successfully incorporate the required API calls and data retrieval processes into your Flutter app, ensuring smooth integration with the SDK.
So, whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting your Flutter journey, don’t hesitate to explore the vast world of SDKs and the Method Channel.
Happy Coding and Integrating
Do you have any questions or suggestions?
Write to us at email@example.com. Our expert team will be happy to assist you.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest fintech news, views, and insights, directly to your inbox.