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ReArch = re-imagined approach to application design and architecture

We must state definitions and provide for priorities and descriptions of data. We must state relationships, not procedures.

-- Grace Murray Hopper, Management and the Computer of the Future (1962)


Specifically, ReArch is a novel solution to:

  • ⚡️ State Management
  • 🧮 Incremental Computation
  • 🧱 Component-Based Software Engineering

And with those, come:

In a Nutshell

Define your "capsules" (en-capsulated pieces of data) at the top level:

// Capsules are simply functions that consume a CapsuleHandle.
// The CapsuleHandle lets you get the data of other capsules,
// in addition to using a large variety of side effects.

// This particular capsule manages a count from a classic example counter app,
// using the state side effect.
(int, void Function()) countManager(CapsuleHandle use) {
  final (count, setCount) = use.state(0);
  return (count, () => setCount(count + 1));

// This capsule provides the current count, plus one.
int countPlusOneCapsule(CapsuleHandle use) => use(countManager).$1 + 1;

And then, if you are using Flutter, define some widgets:

// Widgets are just like a special kind of capsule!
// Instead of a CapsuleHandle, they consume a WidgetHandle.
// They also live at the top level.
Widget counterAppBody(BuildContext context, WidgetHandle use) {
  final (count, incrementCount) = use(countManager);
  final countPlusOne = use(countPlusOneCapsule);
  return Scaffold(
    appBar: AppBar(title: Text('ReArch Demo')),
    floatingActionButton: FloatingActionButton(
      onPressed: incrementCount,
      tooltip: 'Increment',
      child: Icon(Icons.add),
    body: Center(
      child: Text(
        '$count + 1 = $countPlusOne',
        style: TextTheme.of(context).headlineLarge,

// Or, until static metaprogramming roles around:
class CounterAppBody extends RearchConsumer {
  const CounterAppBody({super.key});

  Widget build(BuildContext context, WidgetHandle use) {
    final (count, incrementCount) = use(countManager);
    final countPlusOne = use(countPlusOneCapsule);
    return Scaffold(
      appBar: AppBar(title: Text('ReArch Demo')),
      floatingActionButton: FloatingActionButton(
        onPressed: incrementCount,
        tooltip: 'Increment',
        child: Icon(Icons.add),
      body: Center(
        child: Text(
          '$count + 1 = $countPlusOne',
          style: TextTheme.of(context).headlineLarge,

Note: the @rearchWidget above requires static metaprogramming, which has not yet been released.

Getting Started

With Flutter

Simply run: flutter pub add rearch flutter_rearch

And (this part is important), wrap your application widget with a RearchBootstrapper widget in your main.dart:

void main() {
    child: MaterialApp(...),

Dart Only

Simply run: dart pub add rearch

And then just create one container for your application:

void main() {
  final container = CapsuleContainer();
  // Use the container.


Now go take a look at the documentation!

Why ReArch?

ReArch is different than other approaches to build applications because it enables feature composition and also acts upon two key observations:

  1. UI is a function of state and side effect(s).
  2. State is a function of other state and side effect(s).

Accordingly, ReArch allows you to simply define functions of state + side effects for creating both state and UI, and in doing so allows you to create applications of great scale. Also because of this insight, I'd argue that ReArch is the most testable approach to building applications today. With ReArch, all of your capsule/widget code will be pure functions (despite having arbitrary side effects!), and you will never need complicated mocks.

While ReArch can be used for state management, it is also much more; it provides a solution to build any application by borrowing from the fields of component-based software engineering and incremental computation.

ReArch was also the the subject of my master's thesis.

Further, ReArch has an extremely powerful side effects system, and that is not an understatement. You will never have to wait on a new feature; you can just create a side effect! Side effects enable you to have extremely high code reuse between your state and widget logic, and allow you to think in the same manner for both.

Worth mentioning here, ReArch's persistence side effect also provides the (arguably) best mechanism to cache/persist state out of any Flutter state management framework. Don't believe me? Take a peak at the examples in the documentation.

Why not use my current solution?

If the reasons listed above are not enough for you, then here are some more reasons, based on some other popular solutions.

Why not Provider?

It's maintenance-only and has fundamental problems; Riverpod is its successor.

Why not Riverpod?

I actually created ReArch after being mostly happy with Riverpod. The core principles behind Riverpod are incredbily smart, and I never would have thought of ReArch without them.

However, it can be argued that Riverpod has some design problems, in addition to some other grievances:

  • All the different provider types are not easy for beginners to grasp. Code generation has helped in this regard, but there are still many different types behind the scenes, and users will still have to learn about them at some point when using Riverpod. Further, new users often do not know when to choose a function or a class when using @riverpod.
  • Family and AutoDispose providers have design problems (more on this later), and consequently can set you up for bad practices/easy misuse.
  • Notifier classes are not all that clear for beginners. They contain many intricacies and odd fields like future and stream that are not declarative.
  • No easy way to scope state to a particular Widget.
  • Some pretty crucial features like offline persistence and watching mutations have taken years to get implemented. That is not Remi's fault though; he is a very busy guy and he can only do so much. Perhaps, though, if there wasn't a need to modify the core components to add new functionality, then users would never need to wait on said changes and could extend the library themselves.
  • The advanced features are inherently complex and hard to grasp. In addition, most will have to use them at some point when developing an app with some level of sophistication.
  • The dependencies parameter. I have seen quite a few beginners stumble across it and get confused. You shouldn't need to specify dependencies for scoped providers when you already do a in the provider; that is just redundant and error-prone.

You will notice a lot of carry over from Riverpod when using ReArch (because I cherry-picked many of the ideas I liked), but there are a notable few things missing (on purpose): Family and AutoDispose providers. While working on the initial version of ReArch for quite some time, and going through many design revisions, I realized how these two core parts of Riverpod are actually flawed, to an extent. While they work at the surface level for some users, the ideas backing Family/AutoDispose promote bad practices (keep reading!).

What's wrong with family?

TL;DR: ReArch embraces the factory pattern, which solves all the issues with family.

Families have two problems:

  1. Families are globally-scoped, which does not make sense from a design perspective for the cases they are intended to solve.
  2. They rely on AutoDispose to not cause leaks, and AutoDispose itself has problems (see the next section).

To best explain that first point, think for a second: where are family providers used? There are two possible answers:

  1. The provider is used locally. In this case, why are you promoting local state to global state, which is where family providers live? It should be kept local, just like a mutable variable. As many know, keeping local state at the top level is a bad practice.
  2. The provider is used globally. In this case, you would need to store the family arguments(s) in one provider, and then use the family provider to turn those arguments into a new provider accessible globally. While family does work for this use case, it also doesn't quite make sense. To prevent leaks, you must also tack on AutoDispose. Further, the framework must deal with the complexity of caching the different in-use versions of the family, which then forces the parameters to override hashCode and ==. That is a lot of effort for something that could be done simply with the factory pattern and no additional overhead!

For some quick context, factories are a way to create an object on demand based on some dynamic arguments, such as those provided by a user or some external mechanism. Factories allow you to create an object for however long you need it, and gracefully handle its state and disposal.

For that reason, ReArch exposes a way to make working with the factory pattern easier; see the documentation for more.

What's wrong with autoDispose?

TL;DR: ReArch is smart enough to know which capsules it can dispose automatically. (Cool, right?)

AutoDispose, in my opinion, is a broken concept. When you have to rely on hacks like a timer to keep something from being disposed (disposeDelay) when navigating around an app, it should be clear that something is wrong in the implementation and/or idea. Plus, in a mobile application, you either have global state or disposable local state. If you need some state to automatically dispose, chances are you actually need ephemeral state.

In cases where a global cache is exceedingly large for some reason (like for app-wide image(s)/video(s)), I'd argue clearing that cache should often be taken care of on a case-per-case basis due to differing application requirements.

Consequently, AutoDispose has all sorts of parameters and traces of it scattered throughout the core framework to accomodate one-off situations, all in addition to a barrage of types to support the different combinations (i.e., AutoDisposeAsyncNotifierProviderElement, AutoDisposeAsyncNotifierProviderFamily, AutoDispose..., etc.).

Instead of AutoDispose, ReArch:

  • Introduces the novel concept of idempotent capsules when dealing with global state.
    • You don't need to know anything about idempotent capsules when using ReArch; they are identified internally and are automatically cleaned up for you!
  • Embraces the use of factories and side effects for ephemeral state.

Why not Hooks?

I actually love flutter_hooks! Just a few grievances:

  • Hooks only work from within widgets
  • Hooks are only effective at handling ephemeral state
  • Not as testable as ReArch, since ReArch uses dependency inversion (while mocks are possible, ReArch is still easier to test)

Hooks are akin to ReArch's side effects; in fact, some work very similar to or exactly the same across the libraries.

Why not Bloc?

BLoC = Boilerplate + Lots of Code.

Aside from the fact that bloc is just a heavy weight wrapper around the reducer pattern (which can be more elegantly done with useReducer from flutter_hooks or use.reducer in ReArch), bloc is designed in a manner that thwarts any form of useful composition and then proceeds to blame that limitation on proper application design!

What is suggested there (as of December 2023) is arguably incorrect; proper application design should encourage the use of composition, and this is nothing new. Composition is a design pattern that has been known about for many, many years and can be achieved via dependency inversion (which the docs explicitly say not to do). If you disagree with this assertion, let me counter with a question: why should you jump to UI code to connect pieces of app layer state that naturally need to interact with each other? Such a suggestion is clearly a workaround as you are then putting app layer logic in your UI code, and consequently results in unmaintainability as your app states independently evolve over time.

The underlying issue with bloc and a lot of other state management approaches is that they do one thing really well (in bloc's case, this is the reducer pattern), but then force the rest of your application to try to use this methodology even when it doesn't fit. You can read more about this phenomenon found across state management libraries here.

Tirade aside, individual blocs and cubits do work just fine. Bloc was in fact my first state management solution some years ago, and I often coupled it with get_it and Rx. The earlier days of Bloc also exposed Stream transformers with async * functions, which I did think was a clever use of language features to provide state decoupling.

Why not get_it?

There is a bit of overhead in having to set up dependency injection with pre-Dart 3 packages like get_it (which is actually, technically speaking, a "service locater"). Coming from get_it, you should welcome ReArch, since all dependency inversion is done for you automatically with zero boilerplate!

Further, ReArch is a reactive dependency injection framework; get_it lacks inter-state reactivity (note: just UI updates may be achieved through watch_it). But, if you don't want ReArch's reactivity; no problem! You don't have to use it, but it is there in case you do.

Why not Rx and Streams?

I was a decent fan of using Rx and streams for state management and used to do so myself.

However, there are a few main issues with Rx and streams:

  1. Streams are great at being streams; they are terrible at managing state. This has multiple reasons, but a big one is because streams cannot correctly support side effects (which is a fundamental limitation--there is no dependency graph when composing streams).
  2. "Streams were not designed for Flutter apps."
  3. It is very easy to mess up when using streams and cause a leak. (Some say it requires a PhD to properly understand how to work with streams!)
  4. Streams require a bit of syntactic and thought overhead, in addition to requiring a DI/service locator tool to access them.

Why not Signals?

Signals only constitute a subset of ReArch's functionality. If you took ReArch and removed:

  • Containers, instead opting for global singletons
  • The builtin side effects, instead opting for only a few hard-coded types of signals
  • Side effect composition
  • The ability for capsules to define their own API for interactions, instead allowing only .value
    • To explain this a bit more: what if you want custom state validation logic alongside your state?

Then you'd arrive at Signals.

So, if you like Signals, you'll likely love ReArch, because you'll get all of the benefits of Signals but with many more features (mostly due to ReArch's side effects model). The only main difference is in the API, but that is easy enough to adjust to--signals and capsules tend to map one-to-one.

If you must have the easier-to-learn Signals API, just add this line to your project:

/// Quick capsule wrapper to enable Signals-like syntax.
Capsule<T> capsule<T>(Capsule<T> c) => c;

// And in the rest of your code:
final myCapsule = capsule((use) {
  final someOtherData = use(someOtherCapsule);
  return; // returns a myValue.value for updating state

Note that I personally don't recommend the capsule() syntax since anyone reading such code without an IDE will have no idea what the types are. But, if you're doing solo work on a project and you always have an editor with LSP support, then knock yourself out.

Why not GetX?

Your code will look like 🍝.


Giving credit where credit is due: I got the original idea for ReArch (although, it was much different back then!) after using riverpod, flutter_hooks, and functional_widget. ReArch would not have been possible if not for these stellar, role-model projects. ReArch took dozens (not an exaggeration) of design overhauls to arrive at where it is today, incorporating many ideas from these 3 pacakges along the way.

Help Wanted!

As much as I have done with ReArch, it always seems like there is more to do. One person can only do so much!

If you would like to contribute, here are some areas where I would really appreciate help!

  • Documentation (especially inline!)
    • If you could add code samples/improve clarity, that would be greatly appreciated.
  • Adding extension methods to AsyncValue and Option are easy "first issues"
    • See the respective source files for more on contributing there.
  • New (platform-agnostic) side effects!
    • I've made many as I've needed them, but it'd be great to have more.
    • If you find yourself using a custom side effect over and over, consider making a PR! Chances are other developers can use it too.


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