Flutter Warsaw interview with Albert Wolszon

Intro

Before the Flutter Warsaw #13, we interviewed our speakers. We've asked Albert Wolszon- the creator of Arbify -an open - source Flutter library - why did he create it, and what is the most frustrating thing that he approached while working with Flutter.

Speakers

Mateusz Wojtczak

LeanCode

Senior Flutter Developer

Albert Wolszon

LeanCode

Mobile Flutter Developer

Interview

[MateuszWojtczak] What's your background as a developer? How can you describe your way to Flutter?

[Albert Wolszon] I was interested in computers and programming since I was less than 10 years old. At some point, I just googled “HTML” and that’s how my programming adventure began. I advanced as a web developer doing mostly PHP. Then, there was this contest, Google Code-in, I was helping Wikimedia with doing some open-source work in their app and that’s how I was introduced to Android development. Java then. I caught the opportunity and explored mobile development. I really liked Kotlin. Then, I heard about Flutter. I immediately liked it as it was somewhat similar to my frontend workflow doing HTML, but without the browser-compatibility-CSS-nightmare and also it was much, much better than Android’s XML views, in my opinion.

What is Arbify?

That’s my newest project. It’s a tool that helps you and maybe your company in localizing your Flutter applications.

Why have you started building Arbify? Why didn't you take advantage of one of the existing solutions from the market?

The answer is pretty straightforward. There was no good tool for that, that worked flawlessly with Flutter and didn’t cost a fortune or wasn’t limited by the number of translated strings. So, I decided to write one myself!

Do you consider yourself an open-source contributor? What is your journey with open-source?

Yes, I do! I love open-source. It helps many people on many various levels. I also like to make open-source stuff because a) I write code then and that’s what I like to do and b) if it helps someone, that’s amazing! I’m not quite sure how I got into open-source, but after some time of just using it, I started to contribute something here and there.

What plans do you have regarding Arbify? Maybe you have some plans about creating another open-source Flutter library?

I would love to continue developing Arbify as I know this tool really works and helps. I use it for few of my personal projects too. I recently started working fulltime and I sadly don’t have as much free time and drive for writing Arbify as I had before, but I hope it will change over time. Right now I’m focusing on fixing reported bugs. I’m still exploring ways on how I can make my life - and possibly the lives of many Flutter developers - easier. Arbify was my first good bet. Whether or not I’ll come up with another good idea for a library or tool - I don’t know. But I hope so! 😁

What do you think about Flutter for non-mobile platforms: web and desktop? Have you tried playing with it? If so, what are your impressions?

When it comes to Web, I don’t think Flutter will succeed for ordinary websites. AFAIK it’s not as usable for people with disabilities as the “normal” Web is and I feel like it’s just not the right tool for a job. But when I think about web applications… that could work. But it’s still a little bit too soon for me to have a stronger opinion on that.

Desktop? Yes. I want Flutter to be an equal Electron alternative. I love VS Code and Discord, but I feel like a 100MB app that only shows some UI and provides a pinch of logic is wrong. Desktop platforms need Flutter.

SizedBox or Padding? 😁 And why?

🤔 Well, that of course depends on where. I use SizedBox for creating whitespace dividers and to set explicit sizes for widgets that need it, but don’t need alignment or whatnot (in which case I’d go for Container). And Padding is just… padding. Always use the right tool for the job folks!

And for the cooldown: what is the most frustrating thing that you have approached related to Flutter? Was there anything that was keeping you awake at night, thinking about this one particular issue?

*checks flutter/flutter on GitHub for issues that he authored* haha, but that’s some minor stuff.

That one wasn’t frustrating, but my first real state management solution in Flutter was Redux. I was a little familiar with it thanks to my past webdev experience. But when the time came I had to use Bloc. I was wondering on my sleepless nights why would one use it. And then I finally understood. The concept of small states for every part of the app instead of a bigger store containing local state data was new to me. But I like it now and I’m happy to know both!

The talk

Arbify - a quick overview of a Flutter localization made easy

Arbify started as an idea during one of the Flutter meetups. It quickly became a real piece of code. In this lightning talk, Albert explains what is Arbify and why the Flutter community should be interested about it.
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