reference 0.0.2

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reference #

A library for building Flutter plugins that want to maintain access to object instances on separate threads/processes.

Overview #

This library works by managing pairs of references. Each pair consists of a LocalReference and a RemoteReference. The pairs are stored and managed in a ReferencePairManager. Here are the basic definitions of these classes:

  • LocalReference - represents an object on the same thread/process.
  • RemoteReference - represents an object on a different thread/process.
  • ReferencePairManager - manages communication between objects represented by LocalReferences and RemoteReferences.

A LocalReference and RemoteReference pair is also maintained by a pair of ReferencePairManagers. One ReferencePairManager is on the same thread/process as the object that LocalReference represents and another ReferencePairManager is on the same thread/process as the object that RemoteReference represents.

The labels of local and remote are relative to which thread one is on. A RemoteReference in a ReferencePairManager will represent a LocalReference in another ReferencePairManager and vice versa. This is shown in the diagram below:

Reference Architecture

It’s also important to note that the RemoteReference in both ReferencePairManagers are considered equivalent values, so they can be used to identify paired LocalReferences.

For every reference pair, the ReferencePairManager’s role is to handle communication between the objects represented by LocalReference and RemoteReference.

How ReferencePairManager Handles Communication #

ReferencePairManagers are responsible for creating pairs, disposing pairs, and calling methods on paired References. Here are the relevant classes:

  • TypeReference - represents a type. This type must be able to be represented by a LocalReference.
  • RemoteReferenceCommunicationHandler - handles communication with RemoteReferences for a ReferencePairManager. This class communicates with other ReferencePairManagers to create, dispose, or execute methods on RemoteReferences.
  • LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler - handles communication with LocalReferences for a ReferencePairManager. This class handles communication from other ReferencePairManagers to create, dispose, or execute methods for a LocalReference.

Below is the typical flow for either creating a pair, disposing of a pair, or a LocalReference calling a method on it’s paired RemoteReference. A detailed example follows.

Reference Architecture

To give a more detailed explanation, let’s assume we want to create a new pair. It’s also important to remember that what is considered a LocalReference to one ReferencePairManager, is considered a RemoteReference to another.

  1. An instance of LocalReference is created.
  2. LocalReference tells ReferencePairManager1 to create a RemoteReference.
  3. ReferencePairManager1 creates a RemoteReference and stores the RemoteReference and the LocalReference as a pair.
  4. ReferencePairManager1 tells its RemoteReferenceCommunicationHandler to communicate with another ReferencePairManager to create a RemoteReference for the instance of LocalReference.
  5. RemoteReferenceCommunicationHandler tells ReferencePairManager2 to make a RemoteReference.
  6. ReferencePairManager2 tells its LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler to create a LocalReference.
  7. LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler creates and returns a LocalReference.
  8. ReferencePairManager2 stores the RemoteReference and the LocalReference from LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler as a pair.

How ReferencePairManager Handles Arguments #

When creating a RemoteReference or executing a method, you have the option to pass arguments as well. Before a ReferencePairManager hands off arguments to a RemoteReferenceCommunicationHandler, it converts all LocalReferences to RemoteReferences and before a ReferencePairManager hands off arguments to a LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler it converts all RemoteReferences to LocalReferences.

Getting Started #

This project is a starting point for a Flutter plug-in package, a specialized package that includes platform-specific implementation code for Android and/or iOS.

For help getting started with Flutter, view our online documentation, which offers tutorials, samples, guidance on mobile development, and a full API reference.

To use this with your own plugin, you will have to extend ReferencePairManager and implement RemoteReferenceCommunicationHandler and LocalReferenceCommunicationHandler. This needs to be done in Dart and then on every platform that is wanted to be supported. (e.g. Java/Kotlin for Android or Obj-C/Swift for iOS. This plugin allows you to use any system for IPC (e.g. MethodChannel or dart:ffi), but it also provides a MethodChannelReferencePairManager that is a partial implementation using MethodChannels. Here are the latest example implementations for Dart and Java.

0.0.2 #

  • Update README and improve Dart documentation.

0.0.1 #

  • Initial release.
  • Support for Dart and Java.


import 'package:flutter/material.dart';

void main() {

class MyApp extends StatefulWidget {
  _MyAppState createState() => _MyAppState();

class _MyAppState extends State<MyApp> {
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return MaterialApp(
      home: Scaffold(
        appBar: AppBar(
          title: const Text('Plugin example app'),
        body: Center(child: Text('Hello, World!')),

Use this package as a library

1. Depend on it

Add this to your package's pubspec.yaml file:

  reference: ^0.0.2

2. Install it

You can install packages from the command line:

with Flutter:

$ flutter pub get

Alternatively, your editor might support flutter pub get. Check the docs for your editor to learn more.

3. Import it

Now in your Dart code, you can use:

import 'package:reference/reference.dart';
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Learn more about scoring.

We analyzed this package on Jul 7, 2020, and provided a score, details, and suggestions below. Analysis was completed with status completed using:

  • Dart: 2.8.4
  • pana: 0.13.13
  • Flutter: 1.17.5

Analysis suggestions

Package does not support Flutter platform linux

Because of import path [package:reference/reference.dart] that declares support for platforms: android, ios

Package does not support Flutter platform macos

Because of import path [package:reference/reference.dart] that declares support for platforms: android, ios

Package does not support Flutter platform web

Because of import path [package:reference/reference.dart] that declares support for platforms: android, ios

Package does not support Flutter platform windows

Because of import path [package:reference/reference.dart] that declares support for platforms: android, ios

Package not compatible with SDK dart

because of import path [reference] that is in a package requiring null.

Maintenance suggestions

Package is pre-v0.1 release. (-10 points)

While nothing is inherently wrong with versions of 0.0.*, it might mean that the author is still experimenting with the general direction of the API.


Package Constraint Resolved Available
Direct dependencies
Dart SDK >=2.7.0 <3.0.0
flutter 0.0.0
quiver ^2.1.3 2.1.3
uuid ^2.0.4 2.2.0
Transitive dependencies
charcode 1.1.3
collection 1.14.12 1.14.13
convert 2.1.1
crypto 2.1.5
matcher 0.12.8
meta 1.1.8 1.2.1
path 1.7.0
sky_engine 0.0.99
stack_trace 1.9.5
typed_data 1.1.6 1.2.0
vector_math 2.0.8
Dev dependencies