go_router

The goal of the go_router package is to simplify use of the Router in Flutter as specified by the MaterialApp.router constructor. By default, it requires an implementation of the RouterDelegate and RouteInformationParser classes. These two implementations themselves imply the definition of a custom type to hold the app state that drives the creation of the Navigator. You can read an excellent blog post on these requirements on Medium. This separation of responsibilities allows the Flutter developer to implement a number of routing and navigation policies at the cost of complexity.

The go_router makes three simplifying assumptions to reduce complexity:

  1. all routing in the app will happen via schemeless absolute URI-compliant names
  2. an entire stack of pages can be constructed from the route name alone
  3. the concept of "back" in your app is "up" the stack of pages

These assumptions allow go_router to provide a simpler implementation of your app's custom router regardless of the platform you're targeting. Specifically, since web users can enter arbitrary locations to navigate your app, go_router is designed to be able to handle arbitrary locations while still allowing an easy-to-use developer experience.

Getting Started

To use the go_router package, follow these instructions.

Declarative Routing

The go_router is governed by a set of routes which you specify via a routes builder function:

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  ...
  late final _router = GoRouter(routes: _routesBuilder, error: _errorBuilder);
  List<GoRoute> _routesBuilder(BuildContext context, String location) => [
        GoRoute(
          pattern: '/',
          builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<FamiliesPage>(
            key: const ValueKey('FamiliesPage'),
            child: FamiliesPage(families: Families.data),
          ),
        ),
        GoRoute(
          pattern: '/family/:fid',
          builder: (context, args) {
            final family = Families.family(args['fid']!);

            return MaterialPage<FamilyPage>(
              key: ValueKey(family),
              child: FamilyPage(family: family),
            );
          },
        ),
        GoRoute(
          pattern: '/family/:fid/person/:pid',
          builder: (context, args) {
            final family = Families.family(args['fid']!);
            final person = family.person(args['pid']!);

            return MaterialPage<PersonPage>(
              key: ValueKey(person),
              child: PersonPage(family: family, person: person),
            );
          },
        ),
      ];
  ...
}

In this case, we've defined 3 routes. The route name patterns are defined and implemented in the path_to_regexp package, which gives you the ability to include regular expressions, e.g. /family/:fid(f\d+). These route name patterns will be matched in order and every pattern that matches a prefix of the location will be a page on the navigation stack like so:

patternexample locationnavigation stack
//FamiliesPage()
/family/:fid/family/f1FamiliesPage(), FamilyPage(f1)
/family/:fid/person/:pid/family/f1/person/p2FamiliesPage(), FamilyPage(f1), PersonPage(p2)

The order of the patterns in the list of routes dictates the order in the navigation stack. The navigation stack is used to pop up to the previous page in the stack when the user press the Back button or your app calls Navigation.pop().

In addition to the pattern, a GoRoute contains a page builder function which is called to create the page when a pattern is matched. That function can use the arguments parsed from the pattern to do things like look up data to use to initialize each page.

In addition, the go_router needs an error handler in case no page is found or if any of the page builder functions throws an exception, e.g.

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  ...
  late final _router = GoRouter(routes: _routesBuilder, error: _errorBuilder);
  ...
  Page<dynamic> _errorBuilder(BuildContext context, GoRouteException ex) => MaterialPage<Four04Page>(
        key: const ValueKey('Four04Page'),
        child: Four04Page(message: ex.nested.toString()),
      );
}

The GoRouteException object contains the location that caused the exception and a nested Exception that was thrown attempting to navigate to that route.

With these two functions in hand, you can establish your app's custom routing policy using the MaterialApp.router constructor:

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  App({Key? key}) : super(key: key);

  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) => MaterialApp.router(
        routeInformationParser: _router.routeInformationParser,
        routerDelegate: _router.routerDelegate,
      );

  late final _router = GoRouter(routes: _routesBuilder, error: _errorBuilder);
  List<GoRoute> _routesBuilder(BuildContext context, String location) => ...
  Page<dynamic> _errorBuilder(BuildContext context, GoRouteException ex) => ...
}

With the router in place, your app can now navigate between pages.

Navigation

To navigate between pages, use the GoRouter.go method:

// navigate using the GoRouter
onTap: () => GoRouter.of(context).go('/family/f1/person/p2')

The go_router also provides a simplified version using Dart extension methods:

// more easily navigate using the GoRouter
onTap: () => context.go('/family/f1/person/p2')

The simplified version maps directly to the more fully-specified version, so you can use either.

URL Path Strategy

By default, Flutter adds a hash (#) into the URL for web apps:

URL Strategy w/ Hash

The process for turning off the hash is documented but fiddly. The go_router has built-in support for setting the URL path strategy, however, so you can simply call GoRouter.setUrlPathStrategy before calling runApp and make your choice:

void main() {
  // turn on the # in the URLs on the web (default)
  // GoRouter.setUrlPathStrategy(UrlPathStrategy.hash);

  // turn off the # in the URLs on the web
  GoRouter.setUrlPathStrategy(UrlPathStrategy.path);

  runApp(App());
}

Setting the path instead of the hash strategy turns off the # in the URLs:

URL Strategy w/o Hash

Finally, when you deploy your Flutter web app to a web server, it needs to be configured such that every URL ends up at your Flutter web app's index.html, otherwise Flutter won't be able to route to your pages. If you're using Firebase hosting, you can configure rewrites to cause all URLs to be rewritten to index.html.

If you'd like to test locally before publishing, you can use live-server like so:

$ live-server --entry-file=index.html build/web

Of course, any local web server that can be configured to redirect all traffic to index.html will do.

Deep Linking

Flutter defines "deep linking" as "opening a URL displays that screen in your app." Anything that's listed as a GoRoute can be accessed via deep linking across Android, iOS and the web. Support works out of the box for the web, of course, via the address bar, but requires additional configuration for Android and iOS as described in the Flutter docs.

Conditional Routes

The routes builder is called each time that the location changes, which allows you to change the routes based on the location. Furthermore, if you'd like to change the set of routes based on conditional app state, you can do so using InheritedWidget or one of it's wrappers. For example, imagine a simple class to track the app's current logged in state:

class LoginInfo extends ChangeNotifier {
  var _userName = '';
  bool get loggedIn => _userName.isNotEmpty;

  void login(String userName) {
    _userName = userName;
    notifyListeners();
  }
}

Because the LoginInfo is a ChangeNotifier, it can accept listeners and notify them of data changes. We can then use the provider package (which is based on InheritedWidget) to drop an instance of LoginInfo into the widget tree:

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  // add the login info into the tree as app state that can change over time
  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) => ChangeNotifierProvider<LoginInfo>(
        create: (context) => LoginInfo(),
        child: MaterialApp.router(
          routeInformationParser: _router.routeInformationParser,
          routerDelegate: _router.routerDelegate,
          title: 'Conditional Routes GoRouter Example',
        ),
      );
...
}

Now imagine a login page that pulls the login info out of the widget tree and changes the login state as appropriate:

class LoginPage extends StatelessWidget {
  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) => Scaffold(
        appBar: AppBar(title: Text(_title(context))),
        body: Center(
          child: Column(
            mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,
            children: [
              ElevatedButton(
                // log a user in, letting all the listeners know
                onPressed: () => context.read<LoginInfo>().login('user1'),
                child: const Text('Login'),
              ),
            ],
          ),
        ),
      );
...
}

Notice the use of context.read from the provider package to walk the widget tree to find the login info and login a sample user. This causes the listeners to this data to be notified and for any widgets listening for this change to rebuild. We can then use this data when implementing the GoRouter routes builder to decide which routes are allowed:

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  ...
  // the routes when the user is logged in
  final _loggedInRoutes = [
    GoRoute(
      pattern: '/',
      builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<FamiliesPage>(...),
    ),
    GoRoute(
      pattern: '/family/:fid',
      builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<FamilyPage>(...),
    ),
    GoRoute(
      pattern: '/family/:fid/person/:pid',
      builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<PersonPage>(...),
    ),
  ];

  // the routes when the user is not logged in
  final _loggedOutRoutes = [
    GoRoute(
      pattern: '/',
      builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<LoginPage>(...),
    ),
  ];

  late final _router = GoRouter.routes(
    // changes in the login info will rebuild the stack of routes
    builder: (context, location) => context.watch<LoginInfo>().loggedIn ? _loggedInRoutes : _loggedOutRoutes,
    ...
  );
}

Here we've defined two lists of routes, one for when the user is logged in and one for when they're not. Then, we use context.watch to read the login info to determine which list of routes to return. And because we used context.watch instead of context.read, whenever the login info object changes, the routes builder is automatically called for the correct list of routes based on the current app state.

Redirection

Sometimes you want to redirect one route to another one, e.g. if the user is not logged in. You can do that by passing a redirect function to the GoRoute object, e.g.

List<GoRoute> _routesBuilder(BuildContext context, String location) => [
  GoRoute(
    pattern: '/',
    redirect: _redirectToLogin,
    builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<FamiliesPage>(
      key: const ValueKey('FamiliesPage'),
      child: FamiliesPage(families: Families.data),
    ),
  ),
  ...
  GoRoute(
    pattern: '/login',
    redirect: _redirectToHome,
    builder: (context, args) => const MaterialPage<LoginPage>(
      key: ValueKey('LoginPage'),
      child: LoginPage(),
    ),
  ),
];

// if the user is not logged in, redirect to /login
String? _redirectToLogin(BuildContext context) =>
    context.watch<LoginInfo>().loggedIn ? null : '/login';

// if the user is logged in, no need to login again, so redirect to /
String? _redirectToHome(BuildContext context) =>
    context.watch<LoginInfo>().loggedIn ? '/' : null;

In this code, if the user is not logged in, we redirect from the / to /login. Likewise, if the user is logged in, we redirect from /login to /. And because we're using context.watch, when the login state changes, the routes builder will be called again to generate and match the routes.

Query Parameters

If you'd like to use query parameters for navigation, you can; they will be considered as optional for the purpose of matching a route but passed along as arguments to the page builders. For example, if you'd like to redirect to /login with the original location so that after a successful login, the user can be routed back to the original location, you can do that using query paramaters:

List<GoRoute> _routeBuilder(BuildContext context, String location) => [
  ...
  GoRoute(
    pattern: '/family/:fid/person/:pid',
    redirect: (context) => _redirectToLogin(context, location),
    builder: (context, args) {
      final family = Families.family(args['fid']!);
      final person = family.person(args['pid']!);
      return MaterialPage<PersonPage>(
        key: ValueKey(person),
        child: PersonPage(family: family, person: person),
      );
    },
  ),
  GoRoute(
    pattern: '/login',
    redirect: _redirectToHome,
    builder: (context, args) => MaterialPage<LoginPage>(
      key: const ValueKey('LoginPage'),
      child: LoginPage(from: args['from']),
    ),
  ),
];

// if the user is not logged in, redirect to /login
String? _redirectToLogin(BuildContext context, String location) =>
    context.watch<LoginInfo>().loggedIn ? null : '/login?from=$location';

In this example, if the user isn't logged in, they're redirected to /login with a from query parameter set to the original location. When the /login route is matched, the optional from parameter is passed to the LoginPage. In the LoginPage if the from parameter was passed, we use it to go to the original location:

class LoginPage extends StatelessWidget {
  final String? from;
  const LoginPage({this.from, Key? key}) : super(key: key);

  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) => Scaffold(
        appBar: AppBar(title: Text(_title(context))),
        body: Center(
          child: Column(
            mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,
            children: [
              ElevatedButton(
                // log a user in, letting all the listeners know
                onPressed: () {
                  context.read<LoginInfo>().login('user1');
                  if (from != null) context.go(from!);
                },
                child: const Text('Login'),
              ),
            ],
          ),
        ),
      );
}

A query parameter will not override a positional parameter or another query parameter set earlier in the location string.

Custom Builder

As described, the go_router uses the list of GoRoute objects to implement it's routing policy using patterns to match and using the order of matches to create the Navigator.pop() implementation, etc. If you'd like to implement the routing policy yourself, you can implement a lower level builder that is given a location and is responsible for producing a Navigator. For example, this lower level builder can be implemented and passed to the GoRouter.builder constructor like so:

class App extends StatelessWidget {
  ...
  late final _router = GoRouter.builder(builder: _builder);
  Widget _builder(BuildContext context, String location) {
    final locPages = <String, Page<dynamic>>{};

    try {
      final segments = Uri.parse(location).pathSegments;

      // home page, i.e. '/'
      {
        const loc = '/';
        final page = MaterialPage<FamiliesPage>(
          key: const ValueKey('FamiliesPage'),
          child: FamiliesPage(families: Families.data),
        );
        locPages[loc] = page;
      }

      // family page, e.g. '/family/:fid
      if (segments.length >= 2 && segments[0] == 'family') {
        final fid = segments[1];
        final family = Families.family(fid);

        final loc = '/family/$fid';
        final page = MaterialPage<FamilyPage>(
          key: ValueKey(family),
          child: FamilyPage(family: family),
        );

        locPages[loc] = page;
      }

      // person page, e.g. '/family/:fid/person/:pid
      if (segments.length >= 4 &&
          segments[0] == 'family' &&
          segments[2] == 'person') {
        final fid = segments[1];
        final pid = segments[3];
        final family = Families.family(fid);
        final person = family.person(pid);

        final loc = '/family/$fid/person/$pid';
        final page = MaterialPage<PersonPage>(
          key: ValueKey(person),
          child: PersonPage(family: family, person: person),
        );

        locPages[loc] = page;
      }

      // if we haven't found any matching routes OR if the last route doesn't
      // match exactly, then we haven't got a valid stack of pages; the latter
      // allows '/' to match as part of a stack of pages but to fail on
      // '/nonsense'
      if (locPages.isEmpty ||
          locPages.keys.last.toString().toLowerCase() !=
              location.toLowerCase()) {
        throw Exception('page not found: $location');
      }
    } on Exception catch (ex) {
      locPages.clear();

      final loc = location;
      final page = MaterialPage<Four04Page>(
        key: const ValueKey('ErrorPage'),
        child: Four04Page(message: ex.toString()),
      );

      locPages[loc] = page;
    }

    return Navigator(
      pages: locPages.values.toList(),
      onPopPage: (route, dynamic result) {
        if (!route.didPop(result)) return false;

        // remove the route for the page we're showing and go to the next
        // location up
        locPages.remove(locPages.keys.last);
        _router.go(locPages.keys.last);

        return true;
      },
    );
  }
}

There's a lot going on here, but it fundamentally boils down to 3 things:

  1. Matching portions of the location to instances of the app's pages using manually parsed URI segments for arguments. This mapping is kept in an ordered map so it can be used as a stack of location=>page mappings.
  2. Providing an implementation of onPopPage that will translate Navigation.pop to use the location=>page mappings to navigate to the previous page on the stack.
  3. Show an error page if any of that fails.

This is the basic policy that the GoRouter itself implements, although in a simplified form w/o features like route name patterns, redirection or query parameters.

Examples

You can see the go_router in action via the following examples:

  • main.dart: define a basic routing policy using a set of declarative GoRoute objects
  • url_strategy.dart: turn off the # in the Flutter web URL
  • conditional.dart: provide different routes based on changing app state
  • redirection.dart: redirect one route to another based on changing app state
  • query_params.dart: optional query parameters will be passed to all page builders
  • builder.dart: define routing policy by providing a custom builder

You can run these examples from the command line like so:

$ flutter run example/lib/routes.dart

Or, if you're using Visual Studio Code, a launch.json file has been provided with these examples configured.

Issues

Do you have an issue with or feature request for go_router? Log it on the issue tracker.

Libraries

go_router