Picking the right stage management framework for your Flutter app development project can make a huge difference to your productivity and your app’s future maintainability.
The Flutter platform itself provides some basic state management tools in the standard library such as InheritedWidget and FutureBuilder. These are great for interactive demos and simple todo apps, but to ensure that your application’s architecture remains manageable as your codebase grows it’s important to pick a robust state management framework.
During the development of your Flutter app you should prefer to use Stateless widgets wherever possible. As the name suggests, these widgets are by definition unable to handle state changes. As our state changes due to user input or network activity we’ll need to use a state management framework to encapsulate the business logic surrounding these state changes and present the user with the relevant information.
So let’s take a look at some of the most popular state management Frameworks and their pros and cons. Choosing a state management framework can be a daunting task, and I hope we can help you to choose one that’s the best for your team, project and skill level.
To quote the bloc website ‘Bloc makes it easy to separate presentation from business logic, making your code fast, easy to test, and reusable.’ Bloc (short for Business Logic Component) has become one of Google’s most recommended packages, and given the quality of its documentation and undoubted popularity within the Flutter community it’s easy to see why.
By encapsulating your business logic into a new class your logic then becomes much more testable and separated from the UI. Bloc also ensures that there’s only a single way to change state within your application.
The above approach can make Bloc feel a little too complicated for smaller applications, but the more recent addition of Cubit as a simpler form, along with a constant stream of improvements from the developers has helped Bloc remain one of the most popular packages in the Flutter ecosystem.
The Provider Pattern is a straightforward way to manage state within Flutter applications. It provides a simple and efficient way to access and modify the application's state from anywhere in the code. The pattern uses the Flutter-provided InheritedWidget as the base class for all providers and is used to propagate down the widget tree. This makes it easy to access and modify application state in a consistent and efficient manner, while also making the code more maintainable and testable.
The Provider Pattern is a very popular way to manage state in Flutter applications, and it is highly recommended for any simple project that needs to manage state in a more maintainable fashion.
Riverpod is one of the newer state management solutions for Flutter that builds on top of the Provider Pattern. It provides additional features such as dependency injection, reactive programming, and more. It was created by the developer of the Provider package to hopefully avoid some of the problems encountered by Provider and InheritedWidget users.
Riverpod is designed to make state management easier to understand, maintain, and test, and it is becoming increasingly popular for Flutter projects. With Riverpod, state can be accessed and modified from anywhere in the code, making it easier to keep the code consistent and maintainable. As your application grows this global access can state and business logic more difficult to compartmentalise.
It can be difficult to understand the nuances of the Provider Pattern, and how to use it properly with the Riverpod package. Additionally, due to the complexity of the Provider Pattern, it can be difficult to debug errors related to state management when using Riverpod. There are however some efforts by the Riverpod developers to allow some coding errors to be caught at compile time.
Another issue is that due to the reactive nature of the Riverpod package, it can be difficult to ensure that all parts of the application remain in-sync when the state changes.
MobX is a state management solution for Flutter applications that uses a reactive and reactive-like programming model. It is based on the concept of reactive programming, which enables developers to write code that automatically responds and updates to changes in state.
MobX provides a simple and efficient way to access and modify the application's state from anywhere in the code. It also provides a powerful API with features such as actions, reactions, and observables - which re-run whenever relevant state changes.
Developers using MobX may run into several issues. Firstly, MobX requires a certain level of understanding of the reactive programming paradigm, which can be difficult to grasp. Additionally, debugging errors related to state management can be difficult due to the complexity of MobX.
Another issue is that MobX uses a global state object, which can lead to issues with synchronisation if the state is not managed properly. Finally, due to the complexity of MobX, it can also be difficult to unit test the code that uses MobX.