11 Days of Flutter - Day 3
At Very Good Ventures, we love Flutter. It changed how to do development, has made us fall in love with making apps all over again, and we think it’s the future.
This time of year both sparks reflection on the past and ignites inspiration for the future. So, naturally, we’re thinking: how far have we come with the help of Flutter? How are we using it to optimize app development? And how can we engage this toolkit for future projects?
With the holidays right around the corner, we tapped the classic “A Christmas Carol” to answer these questions creatively. For the 3rd Day of Flutter, we were visited by a few ghosts who gave us insight into Flutter’s past, present, and future. Our over-the-top spin revisits Ebenezer Scrooge and the rest of the cast with added twists of technology and innovation.
A Flutter Carol
“Goodnight Scrooge and happy holidays!” said Cratchit.
“Humbug,” grumbled Scrooge. “We have far too much work to think of holidays! I’ll be working straight through. We must make sure the other app is as good as this one!”
Cratchit turned towards the door, shaking his head. “Yes, of course. Try to enjoy your holiday.”
Cratchit was genuinely worried about Scrooge. They had all been working non-stop trying to keep up with their competition. It was rather difficult — they had two groups of customers and the way they had to make the product was totally different for each group. It made for a lot of coordination, duplicate work, and complexity.
But, they were losing ground (and sleep) because they had to do everything twice. They worked tirelessly for years, establishing processes and coordinating different teams to duplicate the same result twice. This made Scrooge unhappy and miserly.
Back at the office, Scrooge continued to plow through a mountain of work as snow swirled outside.
“Bah, another bug!” Scrooge cried out. “Another all-nighter as I’ll need to make sure it’s fixed and that the tests are passing on both platforms. Who needs holidays anyway?”
Just then a gust of wind blew open the office door. Snow and wind raced in, scattering post-it notes and tossing over the bean bag chairs.
Scrooge suddenly heard an eerie voice. “You are chained to your work and your old ways. Do not risk becoming like me!”
Shimmering in front of the desk was a ghoulish figure was a vestige of the company’s former CTO, Marley. The spirit was enshrouded in chains, a keyboard glued to its fingers.
“My older CTO, is that you?! How can this be?” exclaimed Scrooge.
“I’m here to help you avoid my fate, old friend. Time’s are changing, and there is a better way. You do not need to suffer this chaos.” the spirit boomed. “Tonight you will be visited by three spirits. You must pay attention and heed their lessons or risk being cursed to carry heavy chains like mine for all of eternity.”
Just as unexpectedly as before, the wind picked up. This time the wind raced the other way out the door, and the office returned to its orderly state.
Scrooge decided the vision must have been mania onset by a lack of sleep. It was late and perhaps a nap was in order. Going to the couch in the office lobby grumbling, Scrooge drifted into a fitful sleep muttering, “…still compiling…”
A chill suddenly awoke Scrooge. At the foot of the couch, there was a ghost adorned with colorful stickers taking a bite of an apple.
“Who are you?!” Scrooge screamed.
“I am the Ghost of Development Past” the apparition proclaimed. “I’m here to remind you of the way things used to be”.
The ghost grabbed Scrooge’s hand and suddenly the world shifted. Scrooge looked around and recognized the tiny familiar room. It was his dorm room from college.
“I remember this day. This was the day I uploaded my first app to the App Store.” said Scrooge.
“In those days, everything was so fresh and exciting. I remember how excited I was to see my first app run on a device. Apps were still new and not much had been built yet. Sure, we didn’t have the technology and sophistication we have now, but those days were innocent and carefree. We felt like we could make anything we wanted and it would make people happy.”
“Do you remember how excited and enthusiastic you once were?” said the ghost. “You loved writing code and developing apps. You’d even work on nights and weekends — just for fun.”
Again, a gust of wind came out of nowhere. When it cleared, a different scene unfolded. They were in an office full of happy, smiling people typing rapidly on their keyboards. Scrooge noticed one group seemed to be setting into a new pod of desks.
“This is our first start-up,” said Scrooge, “and this is the day we split our mobile development team into two, one for iOS and one for Android.”
The Ghost of Development Past nodded and said, “Things were so exciting. A passion burned in you. Do you remember what happened next?”
“Yes, unfortunately. Things got complicated quickly. I spent the next few years working on devops, automation, and process. I stopped coding and spent all of my time managing. We had so much opportunity, but everything became so hard. Please, take me away from here!”
Scrooge awoke with a start and seriously considered making a trip to Urgent Care.
But, at the end of the bed stood a new figure. This one wearing a t-shirt with a logo Scrooge didn’t recognize.
“I am the Ghost of Development Present!” said the ghost with a flourish. “I’m here to show you what’s happening now as you work.”
The ghost grabbed Scrooge’s hand and they were suddenly transported to room filled with light and cheer. Lively holiday music played, and Scrooge saw Cratchit sitting in front of a laptop.
“Come on Bob, finish up with that and come help get dinner ready!” someone yelled from another room.
“Almost done! This is so exciting! I just figured out how to get this to run on the Web! So now my app works on mobile, desktop, AND the Web! It’s so cool!”
Scrooge watched Bob and saw an energy that was never seen at the office these days. There was excitement and joy.”
The voice from the other room spoke again, “How did you build for all of those platforms so fast? That’s pretty incredible.”
“It really is! It’s so different and refreshing from what we have to do at work. I really wish we could get old Scrooge to see what this could do for our team. Not only would this simplify a lot of our process by only needing to manage a single code base, but it’s also just faster to develop apps in general.”
As Scrooge watched the enthusiasm bubbling from Cratchit, his world suddenly shifted back to the office.
“Is Cratchit going to quit?” Scrooge mused. Certainly it seemed a possibility if there was so much more excited for something new.
“Heed my warning Scrooge. If these shadows creeping in your team remain unaltered, your future may be in doubt.” said the ghost as it slowly faded.
Scrooge awoke with a start back on the office couch. Clearly, it had been a nightmare.
But then, there was a strange noise. This time knowing what to expect, Scrooge looked and saw another ghost adorned in a fuschia-colored jacket embroidered with unrecognizable logos.
The ghost approached and announced, “I am the Ghost of Development Yet to Come! I am here to show your future if you don’t rethink your ways!”
The ghost grabbed Scrooge’s hand, and again the world shifted in a flash.
“Where are we?” They were standing in an empty office that looked oddly familiar.
“We are in the future, in an office of a company that had to close. It could not keep up with the competition, and started losing its employees. A series of new upstarts entered the market, which moved much faster than this company. The complexity of too many redundant code bases, as well as the complex internal processes to manage them, put the company at a disadvantage. They couldn’t compete.”
Again the world shifted, and they were in a bustling workplace. It was alive with energy. Looking at one of the nearby screens, Scrooge realized the app this company was building looked like nothing he’s ever seen before. The operating system looked totally different, and the device itself was completely new.
The ghost spoke up and said, “Now we are at a rapidly growing company of the future. This team embraced a revolutionary new framework that helped them do more and move faster than their competition. Their developers spend more time building new features rather than simply duplicating or coordinating. They also were poised to succeed when a revolutionary new operating system came out.”
“Wait a minute…” said Scrooge. “Now I remember that office we were just in. It was the office I’m supposed to be sleeping in right now!”
“That’s right,” said the Ghost of Development Yet To Come. “Just after the holidays, Cratchit moved on to a new company. You worked endlessly and tireless on the existing apps. You held on tightly to the products that had previously made you successful. But ultimately, the effort to keep pace proved to be too much.”
“Oh spirit”, yelled Scrooge, “assure me that I can still change these shadows you’ve shown me, and alter our company’s approach!”
Suddenly, the office morphed back into the present day form. Grabbing a coat, Scrooge raced out the front door and didn’t stop running until arriving at Cratchit’s front door.
“Happy holidays!” a confused Cratchit said after opening the door. “What are you doing here?”
“I have an idea that we need to talk about. We need to consider some changes to how we do things. We need to change our future.” Scrooge spoke excitedly.
Cratchit and Scrooge went inside together, and the fire burned brightly.