Flutter and Desktop: Building Cross-Platform Desktop Applications

Flutter and Desktop: Building Cross-Platform Desktop Applications

Quick Summary: Explore the seamless convergence of Flutter and Desktop, revolutionizing cross-platform development. Unveiling a dynamic synergy, this article delves into the power of Flutter for crafting robust desktop applications. From UI consistency to enhanced user experiences, discover how Flutter extends its prowess beyond mobile, reshaping the landscape of cross-platform development for desktop environments.


Flutter, a popular open-source framework developed by Google, has gained immense popularity for its ability to create natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop platforms from a single codebase. While mobile and web development with Flutter has been prominent for some time, desktop support is relatively new but promising. In this article, we'll explore how to build cross-platform desktop applications using Flutter, complete with code snippets to get you started.

Why Choose Flutter for Desktop?

Flutter is known for its advantages in cross-platform development, offering a single codebase that can run on multiple platforms. By extending this support to desktop platforms, Flutter becomes an attractive choice for desktop application development. Some key benefits of using Flutter for desktop development include:

  1. Single Codebase: You can write code once and deploy it on multiple desktop platforms, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  2. High-Quality User Interface: Flutter provides a rich set of widgets and an expressive language to design beautiful and highly customized user interfaces.
  3. Performance: Flutter applications are natively compiled, which results in high-performance applications that feel responsive.
  4. Access to Native Features: You can access native features and APIs through platform channels, which allows you to leverage the capabilities of the underlying desktop platform.
  5. Rapid Development: Hot-reload functionality enables you to make real-time changes to your code and see the results instantly.

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Setting Up Flutter for Desktop

To start building desktop applications with Flutter, you need to set up your development environment. Follow these steps:

  1. Install Flutter: If you haven't already, install Flutter by following the official website. Ensure that your Flutter installation is up to date.
  2. Enable Desktop Support: Flutter for desktop is not enabled by default, so you'll need to enable it using the `flutter config` command:

flutter config --enable-windows-desktop

flutter config --enable-macos-desktop

flutter config --enable-linux-desktop


These commands enable desktop support for Windows, macOS, and Linux, respectively. You can choose to enable support for specific platforms based on your project's requirements.

  1. Create a New Flutter Project: Now, create a new Flutter project by running:

flutter create my_desktop_app

cd my_desktop_app


  1. Run Your Desktop Application: You can run your desktop application using the following command:

For Windows:

flutter run -d windows


For macOS:

flutter run -d macos


For Linux:

flutter run -d linux


Building a Simple Desktop Application

Let's build a basic Flutter desktop application to get you started. We'll create a simple app that displays "Hello, Flutter Desktop!" in the center of the window.

  1. Modify `main.dart`: Open the `lib/main.dart` file and modify it as follows:


import 'package:flutter/material.dart';

void main() {



class MyApp extends StatelessWidget {


  Widget build(BuildContext context) {

    return MaterialApp(

      home: Scaffold(

        appBar: AppBar(

          title: Text('Flutter Desktop App'),


        body: Center(

          child: Text('Hello, Flutter Desktop!'),







  1. Run the Application: Run the application using the appropriate command for your platform (as mentioned in the previous section).

Extending Your Desktop Application

As you get more comfortable with Flutter for desktop, you can extend your application by adding more widgets, features, and interactivity. You can also access native APIs and functionalities using platform channels. Flutter's extensive package ecosystem allows you to integrate third-party libraries to enhance your application further.

Flutter for desktop opens up exciting possibilities for building cross-platform desktop applications efficiently. Whether you're developing a productivity tool, a game, or any other desktop application, Flutter's single codebase approach can streamline your development process and help you reach a broader audience.

Remember that Flutter for Desktop is still in development and may have some limitations or platform-specific nuances. Be sure to check the official Flutter documentation and community resources for updates and best practices as the platform evolves.


With Flutter's support for desktops, you can leverage the power of a unified codebase to create high-quality, performant, and visually appealing applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Start exploring this exciting world of cross-platform desktop development with Flutter today!

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Saksham Nagpal

Saksham Nagpal

An iOS developer with an insatiable curiosity, who brings boundless energy to crafting innovation. I am an avid explorer and dedicated to pushing the boundaries to create out-of-the-box apps.