How to create new Flutter project in Visual Studio Code

create new flutter project using terminal

Flutter has taken the app development world by storm, and for good reason. Its ability to create stunning cross-platform apps with a single codebase has made it a developer favorite. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every step of setting up Flutter development in Visual Studio Code, ensuring you have a seamless and productive environment to bring your app ideas to life.

Prerequisites: Getting Ready to Flutter

Before we jump into the exciting world of Flutter, let’s make sure you have everything you need to set up your development environment:

1. Install Flutter SDK

Head over to the official Flutter website and follow the installation instructions for your specific operating system. Flutter provides a command-line tool that helps you manage everything from creating projects to running apps on various devices.

2. Install Dart SDK

Dart is the programming language used by Flutter, and you’ll need to have the Dart SDK installed to write Flutter apps. You can download the Dart SDK from the Dart website.

3. Install Visual Studio Code

If you don’t have Visual Studio Code (VS Code) installed, you can download it from the official website. VS Code is a powerful and popular code editor that offers a wide range of extensions to enhance your development experience.

4. Flutter and Dart Extensions

Launch Visual Studio Code and navigate to the Extensions marketplace by clicking on the Extensions icon in the sidebar or using the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+X (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+Shift+X (macOS). Search for “Flutter” and “Dart” extensions, and install the ones provided by Dart Code and Dart & Flutter teams. These extensions will provide essential tools and features for Flutter development.

Setting Up Your Development Environment: Making It Flutter-Friendly

Now that you have the necessary tools installed, it’s time to configure your environment for Flutter development.

Setting Up SDK Paths

  1. Configuring Flutter SDK Path: After installing Flutter, add its bin directory to your system’s PATH variable. This step ensures that you can run Flutter commands from any terminal window. For example, on macOS or Linux, you can add the following line to your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.zshrc file:
export PATH="$PATH:`<path-to-flutter-directory>`/flutter/bin"

Replace <path-to-flutter-directory> with the actual path to your Flutter installation.

  1. Adding Dart SDK Path: Similarly, add the Dart SDK’s bin directory to your system’s PATH variable using the same process. This allows you to run Dart commands from the terminal.

Integrating Flutter and Dart Extensions

With Visual Studio Code open, go to the Extensions sidebar, search for “Flutter” and “Dart,” and install the recommended extensions. These extensions provide invaluable features like code highlighting, IntelliSense, and debugging tools tailored for Flutter development.

Creating Your First Flutter Project: Let’s Get Coding

With your environment set up, it’s time to create your very first Flutter project.

Two Paths to Project Creation

  1. Using the Command Palette: Open Visual Studio Code and press Ctrl+Shift+P (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+Shift+P (macOS) to open the Command Palette. Type “Flutter: New Project,” provide a name for your project, and choose a location. VS Code will generate the necessary files and folders for your new Flutter app.
  2. Using the Terminal: Alternatively, you can create a new Flutter project using the terminal. Navigate to the directory where you want to create your project and run the following commands:
flutter create <project-name>
cd <project-name>
code .

This will create a new Flutter project, navigate into its directory, and open it in Visual Studio Code.

Configuring Your Project: Laying the Foundation

Understanding the Project Structure

Your Flutter project has a well-organized structure. Key directories include:

  • lib: This is where you’ll write most of your app’s code.
  • assets: Place static files like images, fonts, or JSON data here.

Key Files and Their Significance

  1. main.dart: The entry point of your app. It’s where the app starts executing.
  2. pubspec.yaml: The project’s configuration file where you define dependencies, assets, and metadata.

Dependency Management with pubspec.yaml

Open the pubspec.yaml file and add any external packages your project requires. For example, to add the popular http package for making HTTP requests, include the following:

    sdk: flutter
  http: ^<version>

Replace <version> with the desired package version.

Running Your Flutter App: Let’s See It in Action

Debugging Your App

Set breakpoints in your code by clicking in the gutter next to the line numbers. Launch the debugger by clicking the green play button in the top bar or pressing F5. Use the debugging console to interact with your app’s runtime.

Hot Reload: Instant Gratification

Flutter’s “hot reload” feature is a game-changer. Make changes to your code, save, and witness the app update in real-time without restarting it. Press Ctrl+S (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+S (macOS) to trigger hot reload.

Multi-Platform Launch

To launch your app on different platforms, use the “Run and Debug” configuration dropdown in the top bar of VS Code. Select the desired device or emulator, and click the play button. Flutter will compile and run your app on the selected platform.

Crafting Code and Testing Waters: Dive into Development

Creating Your First Flutter Widget

Widgets are the building blocks of Flutter apps. Open lib/main.dart and start creating your first widget. For instance, you can replace the default MyApp widget with a Container widget:

import 'package:flutter/material.dart';

void main() {
      home: Container(
        child: Center(
          child: Text(
            'Hello, Flutter!',
            style: TextStyle(fontSize: 24, color: Colors.white),

Mastering Debugging with VS Code

If you encounter issues, the VS Code debugger is your ally. Set breakpoints, step through code, inspect variables, and pinpoint problems. Use the debug console to execute Dart expressions and gain insights into your app’s state.

Adding Functionality: Elevate Your App’s Potential

Exploring for Packages

Head to to discover a vast collection of Flutter packages. Whether you need charts, authentication, or animations, there’s likely a package that fits your needs. To integrate a package, follow the installation and usage instructions provided on the package’s page.

Integrating Widgets and Components

Leverage existing widgets to add complex functionality effortlessly. For example, the ListView widget allows you to create scrolling lists, and the TextField widget enables user input. Combine and customize widgets to build rich user interfaces.

Styling and Theming: Designing Your App’s Aesthetics

The Aesthetics of UI/UX

Good design is paramount in app development. Consider user experience (UX) principles and create intuitive interfaces that delight users.

Flutter’s Styling Tools

Flutter offers a wide range of tools for styling your app. Utilize the Theme class to apply consistent styles, and explore Flutter’s rich set of pre-designed widgets following Material Design guidelines.

Conclusion: Your Flutter Journey Begins Now

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your Flutter environment, created a new project, and embarked on your coding journey. As you delve deeper into Flutter development, remember that practice makes perfect. Experiment, explore, and embrace the challenges.

By combining the power of Flutter with the versatility of Visual Studio Code, you’re equipped to create impressive cross-platform apps that captivate users and showcase your creativity. The road ahead is exciting, and the possibilities are limitless. Happy coding!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other code editors for Flutter development?

Absolutely! While we’ve highlighted Visual Studio Code due to its popularity and features, you can use other editors like Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA for Flutter development.

Is Flutter suitable for beginners?

Yes, Flutter’s intuitive widget-based approach makes it accessible to beginners. Its extensive documentation and supportive community are valuable resources for learning.

How can I learn more about advanced Flutter topics?

To delve deeper into advanced Flutter concepts, consider exploring official Flutter documentation, online tutorials, and community forums.

Are there design resources for creating visually appealing Flutter apps?

Indeed, Flutter offers a rich collection of design resources and libraries that assist in creating stunning user interfaces and seamless user experiences.

Can I use Flutter to build games?

Absolutely! Flutter can be used to create games, although it’s more commonly used for building apps with user interfaces. For game development, you might explore game-specific frameworks and engines.

Where can I find more resources to learn Flutter?

Explore the official Flutter documentation for in-depth guides and tutorials. You can also join online communities and forums to connect with fellow developers.

How do I handle app responsiveness in Flutter?

Flutter’s flexible layout system makes handling app responsiveness relatively straightforward. You can use widgets like MediaQuery and LayoutBuilder to create responsive designs.

Can I publish my Flutter app to the app stores?

Absolutely! Flutter supports publishing apps to both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Follow the platform-specific guidelines to package and submit your app for review.

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