Flutter News Toolkit
#Dart Flutter Mobile App#Flutter App#Mobile App Development
18.05.2023, 13:10

Faster News App Development with Flutter News Toolkit

Statistics show that in 2022 phones were the most popular device with which people in the United Kingdom accessed online news content. The reason for that may be the convenience that comes with viewing information through smartphones, as users can easily access news content on the go.

This means the best way for news publishers to reach their audience is through mobile apps. Usually, the design and development of such an app would take a long time. However, in the case of using Flutter News Toolkit (a news app template), this time is sped up significantly (according to Flutter app development time is reduced by up to 80%) thanks to the available pre-built features that it has to offer. 

But before we jump into discussing the recently introduced Flutter News Toolkit let’s briefly talk about why you should even consider creating a news app in the first place.

News feeds have been around for a considerable amount of time, and their popularity remains strong to this day. This shows that despite the passing of time this way of news consumption is still highly favored and is unlikely to fade away anytime soon.

RSS feeds in a nutshell

RSS, which stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary”, is a type of web feed that enables both users and applications to access website updates in a standardized and machine-readable format. By subscribing to RSS feeds, users can keep track of numerous websites through a single news aggregator that constantly monitors sites for new content, removing the need for manual checks. These news aggregators, also known as "RSS readers," can be incorporated into a browser, installed on a desktop computer, or downloaded onto a mobile device.

RSS first appeared in March 1999 when Netscape released the RDF Site Summary solution. Then, a few years later, in 2002, The New York Times introduced RSS feeds on its website, which led to an increase in the popularity of this format. This trend was further supported in 2005 when major web browser companies such as Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple integrated RSS technology into their products. As a result, today almost every important website provides at least one RSS news feed. In addition, feed reader applications available on smartphones can help users access their favorite content while they are on the move.

Although social media platforms have somewhat replaced RSS, the convenience of customizing presented content to the user's preferences is an unmatched advantage of RSS. Social media platforms display only the content that people choose to share, while an RSS feed allows you to view everything that a website publishes and receive high-quality articles in one location.

With all of this in mind, it’s not a surprise that people opt for this solution when it comes to consuming the latest content and staying informed about current events. But as we mentioned above, nowadays most people rely on smartphones for their daily news updates. Designing, implementing, and launching mobile apps requires significant time and effort. For companies with limited resources, it might be challenging to create such a news app from scratch. Enter the Flutter News Toolkit! On January 25th Google held the Flutter Forward conference in Nairobi, Kenya where the Flutter team unveiled this free app template. If you’re already familiar with Flutter you already know about its ease of use and wide selection of UI elements. So if you’re a fan of this SDK then with the Flutter News Toolkit you are in for a treat! Let’s unpack what this app template has to offer and explore the list of available features.

What features does the Flutter News Toolkit contain?

Flutter News Toolkit
  • User onboarding - a user onboarding workflow and push notifications
  • Account creation/login - a prebuilt work-flow for account creation and authentication
  • Content feeds and content pages - to display news articles, videos, pictures, ads, and email subscription prompts
  • Navigation - users can access navigation by a hamburger menu or through a section feed (which is at the top of the main content feed)
  • Monetization - quick monetization thanks to features like ads in different formats, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and payments
  • Search - the option to search for articles by keyword or by clicking on popular searches
  • Analytics - analytics integration allows for tracking user behavior
  • Social sharing

Since the Flutter News Toolkit is free and open-source you can either use these pre-integrated features as is, or you can effortlessly modify and exchange them with other functionalities that better suit your preferences.

How is the app built?

Flutter App Architecture

For those of you who are interested in the app architecture, on the image above you can see the 3 layers that it is split into. 

  1. The application layer is closest to the user and consists of presentation and business logic. This part of the app is responsible for rendering what the user sees, reacting to the user input, and adjusting the state of the UI (the bloc library used for state management makes it easier to separate presentation logic from business logic).
  2. The domain layer consists of repositories. The responsibility of this layer is to compose data from one or more sources into domain models that can be consumed by the application layer.
  3. The final layer is the data layer which consists of components that provide raw data from various sources.

This layered architecture makes it easier to manage the project and allows for more flexibility. If you are interested in learning more about the app-building process check out Flutter’s video which shows a quick walkthrough of an application being set up in under 30 minutes!

Additionally, for more in-depth instructions on project configuration and app development, you can visit the Flutter News Toolkit documentation.

In conclusion

Recent years have shown that more people turn to their smartphones and tablets for obtaining information and prefer to use apps over web browsers. Therefore, to keep up with the users’ needs it is important for news portals to make this option available. The Flutter News Toolkit can be an effective solution for creating such news apps. 

Even though this toolkit was designed for news organizations it can also be useful for companies who would like to create a company newsletter app, or social media app (since it includes features such as content feeds or social sharing). Not to mention that it’s also a great solution for early-stage startups who are in the idea testing phase. A good example of this case is Bold Sports, a Nigerian sports media company, that used the Flutter News Toolkit to develop their app. It took them just a few days to create an early version of it! This is just one example amongst others and with time we expect more success stories to come to light. Perhaps yours can be the next one? If you have an idea that you would like to discuss or any questions don’t hesitate to contact us. Feel free to take a look at the projects that we were happy to bring to life by checking out our case studies.

If you are reading about the Flutter News Toolkit chances are that you are already acquainted with Flutter itself. But if you are new to it you can check out our previous blog posts where we give a quick overview of this software development kit as well as the variety of widgets that it offers. 








Picture of the author

Get in touch

We love to talk about digital! Whether you are a client interested in our services or another company looking to partner with us (always looking for partners!), we'd love to chat!