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Sane Provider-Provider dependencies with flutter_sub. A smart alternative to ProxyProvider.

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Flutter Sub Provider #

Allows creating sane Provider to Provider dependencies with the help of flutter_sub.

A SubProvider is much like a ProxyProvider except that it is fully recreated when its dependencies change.

Motivation #

When doing dependency injection with Provider, it is often necessary to create a Provider that depends on another Provider.

For example, a PaginationController may depend on an HttpClient to make requests. In flutter_sub_provider, this may look like the following:

class MyWidget extends StatelessWidget {
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return SubProvider<HttpClient, PaginationController>(
      create: (context, httpClient) => PaginationController(client: httpClient),
      builder: (context, child) => /* ... */,

Whenever the HttpClient changes, a new PaginationController is created, and the widget is rebuilt with the new controller.
Under the hood, SubProvider is using SubValue from flutter_sub to manage the PaginationController.

Contrast this with the equivalent ProxyProvider code:

class MyWidget extends StatelessWidget {
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return ProxyProvider<HttpClient, PaginationController>(
      update: (context, httpClient, paginationController) => paginationController..httpClient = httpClient,
      builder: (context, child) => /* ... */,

In the ProxyProvider example, dependencies are side-loaded through a setter, and the PaginationController is updated in-place when the HttpClient changes.

The approach of SubProvider is for several reasons.

  • The dependencies are injected through the constructor instead of through a setter. This ensures our controller is always created in a valid state.
  • The internal state of the controller is reset when the http client changes. This ensures that we don't have any stale data from the previous http client.
  • The http client can be final and or private. The controller retains control over its variables.

Principles #

Much like flutter_sub, is built around the concept of Subs - compact versions of StatefulWidgets that create, update, and dispose of a value.
flutter_sub_provider extends this concept by integrating with provider to create SubProviders.

SubProviders extends the corresponding Provider type and add the ability to manage dependencies.
When a dependency changes, the SubProvider fully recreates its managed object, ensuring that it always operates on the latest dependencies.

For simplicity, you can imagine a SubProvider to look somewhat like this (in reality, it's a bit more complicated):

class SubProvider<T, R> extends StatelessWidget {
    required this.create,
    required this.builder,

  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    final dependency = Provider.of<T>(context);
    return SubValue<R>.builder(
      create: create(context, dependency),
      keys: [dependency],
      builder: (context, value) =>
          value: value,
          builder: builder,

This code is heavily simplified. To see the full implementation, you can check out the SubProvider.

Custom SubProviders #

You can directly use all of the inbuilt SubProviders in your tree. It is also possible to extend SubProvider to create your own reusable SubProviders.

You can get access to SingleChildSubValue and other internal types by importing package:flutter_sub_provider/developer.dart.

To create a reusable SubProvider from our example earlier, we can do the following:

class PaginationControllerProvider extends SubProvider<HttpClient, PaginationController> {
  }) : super(
        create: (context, httpClient) => PaginationController(client: httpClient),

Inbuilt SubProviders #

Name Description
SubProvider Creates a value based on a dependency and exposes it to its descendants.
SubChangeNotifierProvider Creates a ChangeNotifier based on a dependency and exposes it to its descendants.
SubListenableProvider Creates a Listenable based on a dependency and exposes it to its descendants.
SubFutureProvider Creates and listens to a Future based on a dependency and exposes its result to its descendants.
SubStreamProvider Creates and listens to a Stream based on a dependency and exposes its content to its descendants.

Each SubProvider comes in versions 0-6, which can manage the according amount of dependencies respectively.

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Sane Provider-Provider dependencies with flutter_sub. A smart alternative to ProxyProvider.

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flutter, flutter_sub, provider


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