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ACCESS empowers Flutter developers to include web content

January 23, 2024

ACCESS has developed a Chromium-based WebView*2 plug-in for Flutter*3, which operates on Embedded Linux*4 and has released the code for the plug-in to the open-source community as “flutter_linux_webview”, with the aim of promoting the development of IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) services.

Flutter has drawn world-wide attention as an open source UI (user interface) framework for mobile applications, and “flutter_linux_webview” is the industry’s first plug-in that enables flutter running on Embedded Linux devices to be extended with Chromium-based WebView functions (functions which allow the viewing of web content within applications). Efficiently extending services for IVI requires the use of web technologies to embed a diverse range of functions in devices. In the automobile industry, advances are being made in efforts to use Embedded Linux to produce UIs equivalent to those of smartphone apps, and Flutter is expected to be adopted for UI development for next-generation IVI as a cross-platform framework that makes it easy to create modern UI apps.

ACCESS has advanced web technologies, such as NetFront Browser BE, a Chromium Blink browser for embedded devices, and extensive knowledge. It has used these to take the lead in developing a Chromium-based WebView plug-in for Flutter, and by releasing this as the open source software “flutter_linux_webview”, it aims to stimulate the IVI service development community. The plug-in can reduce the burden involved in web application development for OEMs and in-vehicle system manufacturers thereby shortening time-to-market.

The features of “flutter_linux_webview” include:

  • Supports the following functions as a WebView plug-in for Embedded Linux
    • Navigation such as back, forward, access URL, load local file, load asset, etc. (page navigation)
    • Receiving navigation status notifications and loading error notifications
    • Creating multiple WebView widgets
    • Executing arbitrary JavaScript
    • Cookie management
    • Mouse and keyboard input for web content
  • Provides a common API that can also be used for the mobile version of webview_flutter (Flutter’s official plug-in)
    • WebView can be controlled using same code base as mobile versions (Android/iOS)
  • Operates on both x86-64 and arm64 architecture devices

“flutter_linux_webview” is available as open source software licensed under the “BSD-3-Clause distribution” free of charge.

“For automobile manufacturers, rich connected in-vehicle services are a key factor in winning customers,” said Michi Uematsu, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of ACCESS. “To simplify the development of appealing services, we’ve used our strengths in web technologies for embedded devices to deliver this open source plug-in. We are confident that this will simplify third-party development of IVI services and help car manufacturers deliver the services their customers demand, now and into the future.”

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