I have been working on Monarch for the past couple of years. It has been exciting, challenging and frustrating. It has also been rewarding and uncomfortable. I had to learn and do things I hadn’t done before.

It has been a good journey.

Here is where this journey has taken me.

Programming Link to heading

Monarch is developer tool for Flutter developers, thus I had to get pretty good at Flutter and Dart. I love Dart. It’s a great language. I also had to get familiar with the tooling of Dart and Flutter. I got into some obscure areas of the ecosystem like mirrors, reflection, vm_service, analysis server, code generation, grpc, etc.

Since Monarch needs to run on multiple operating systems I had to learn Swift programming on macOS. I have been using macs for a while so that wasn’t too bad. However, I also had to run Monarch on Windows. I hadn’t used Windows in many years so I felt some friction there. I also had to re-learn C++ programming. I hadn’t done C++ since school. C++ is hard, and it is also so fast and so cool. Then I had to port Monarch to Linux. I had never done development on Linux so I had to learn the Linux ecosystem, and also learn GTK.

Automation Link to heading

Monarch needs to be built on macOS, Windows and Linux and also against many Flutter versions. I wrote the automation to manage the Monarch builds. The automation is powerful: it automatically runs a new build when a new Flutter version comes out, it runs builds on multiple platforms at the same time, it builds and deploys Monarch binaries, it manages releases, etc.

Every time I improve the Monarch automation my life gets easier.

Developer Experience Link to heading

Monarch is a developer tool. Thus, my priority has been the developer experience.

  • Monarch has a command-line interface (CLI) so developers can easily run it and upgrade it.
  • It also has a UI since it is a UI tool.
  • It is fully open source.
  • There is no lock-in.
  • It has minimal dependencies.
  • It gets out of the way.
  • It doesn’t require sign-ups.
  • It’s API is really small, which makes it very easy to learn.
  • It is simple yet powerful.

Pondering about the best developer experience and making tough choices based on those constraints has been hard, rewarding and humbling.

Architecture Link to heading

I spend a lot of time thinking about software architectures. I like seeing architectures from different perspectives: static dependencies, runtime design, deployment design, even directory structure design is important.

The Monarch Architecture document describes the Monarch architecture in more detail.

Messaging and Strategy Link to heading

I work on the Monarch messaging and strategy as well. I have been writing a lot during the past two years, which I enjoy. Here is some of my writing:

Flutter, Flutter Engine and Dart deep dives Link to heading

Monarch uses some features of Flutter, Flutter Engine and Dart that most of the community doesn’t use. Thus, it is hard to find answers to issues I run into. Many times I have had to do deep dives throughout the Flutter, Flutter Engine and Dart code bases. It is hard, and often tedious, but it is part of the job.

You can find the issues I have authored here: link.

The Future Link to heading

No matter where you are in life, there is always more journey ahead.

–Nelson Mandela

My Monarch journey goes on.