- Project lead: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Area(s): Flutter
Fuchsia's Flutter integration is currently languishing under technical debt and out-of-tree workflows with sharp edges. These two factors make it difficult for existing or new engineers to contribute to Flutter-on-Fuchsia in a meaningful way. They have also led the Flutter team to largely abandon maintenance of Flutter-on-Fuchsia and transfer ownership of that task back to the Fuchsia team.
The out-of-tree location of the Fuchsia-Flutter code (known as the
flutter_runner) combined with the sequence of rollers between the upstream
repository and GI means that changes to the Dart VM or Flutter engine often do
not show up in GI for multiple weeks after they are introduced upstream.
Ultimately it is difficult to make changes to the
flutter_runner right now
and mistakes are very costly due to roll times. Since several products use
flutter for the primary shell, any bugs have a high user-facing cost and
sometimes can't be fixed for weeks.
Flutter on Fuchsia will migrate to become a Custom Flutter Engine Embedder
using the well-defined Embedder API (and ABI) created by the Flutter team. As
part of this we will remove the native VM hooks for
dart:fuchsia and reimplement these packages using
dart:ffi (because the
embedder API does not allow for custom native hooks).
This refactoring will allow the Fuchsia-specific code to be maintained independently of the core flutter engine code, with the 2 being separated by a well-defined ABI. In the process of disentangling the Fuchsia-specific code from the code flutter engineer code, it also removes a lot of technical debt (~8kLOC of legacy code scheduled for deletion).
Moving the flutter embedder code into
//sdk will be a large workflow change
for Fuchsia engineers working on Flutter. Those engineers will no longer
submit changes to
//flutter/shell/platform/fuchsia in the flutter engine
tree, but instead will submit those changes into the fuchsia tree.
flutter_runner_unittests are moved in-tree as well, so they run on
fuchsia CI instead. These tests are small and self-contained so moving them is
not expected to be problematic.
Finally, engineers working in the flutter embedder code will be limited to only
the APIs exposed by the Flutter team in
Risks and mitigations
dart:fuchsiamigration to FFI might encounter unexpected hurdles
Risk: lack of test coverage over the code that is being transformed for this task
Mitigation: Prototype an FFI-based
dart:zirconAPI and verify it works
Mitigation: Improve test coverage
Mitigation: Can (and did) migrate the legacy render code (in
flow/) without migrating