The Industry’s First*1 Plug-in Will Accelerate IVI Web Application Development
Tokyo, Japan, 23 January 2024 – ACCESS Co., Ltd. announces that it 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
- 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 at https://pub.dev/packages/flutter_linux_webview.
“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.”
*1 This is the industry’s first Chromium-based WebView plug-in that operates on Flutter for embedded Linux devices, published by the pub.dev development community (according to investigations conducted by ACCESS as of December 19, 2023, when flutter_linux_webview was released)
*2 WebView functions embed browser-like functions in apps so that websites can be viewed within them.
*3 Flutter is a free, open-source SDK for mobile application UIs, developed by Google. It offers cross-platform support, so identical codebases can be used for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and web applications.
*4 Embedded Linux consists of a Linux kernel and Linux operating system adapted specifically for embedded systems.
Since 1984, ACCESS CO., LTD. (Tokyo Stock Exchange Prime Market, Index, 4813) has been providing advanced IT solutions centred on mobile and network software technologies to telecom carriers, consumer electronics manufacturers, broadcasting and publishing companies, the automotive industry and energy infrastructure providers around the world. The company develops mobile software solutions that have been installed on over 1.5 billion devices, and network software solutions that have been used by hundreds of companies. Utilising its network virtualisation technology expertise and knowledge, the company is currently focusing on the development and commercialisation of Internet of Things (IoT) and media solutions that combine embedded and cloud technology. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the company maintains subsidiaries and affiliates in Asia, Europe and the United States to support and expand its business globally. Learn more about ACCESS at www.access-company.com.
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