This plugin Combines Isolate and MethodChannel. In other words it provides a way to use flutter plugins in Isolate or just work with user friendly API for Isolate.

Features

  • Create an Isolate.
  • Communicate with Isolate without extra code.
  • Use Method Channels in Isolate.
  • Supports all flutter platforms.

❌️ It doesn’t create Isolate alternative (aka service worker) in web. So all code will work in single (main) Isolate.

Usage

Create and maintain Isolate

Create

CombineIsolate is just a representation of Isolate so when you create a CombineIsolate Isolate will be created under the hood except web platform.

To create a new CombineIsolate you just need to call Combine().spawn(entryPointFunction). entryPointFunction is a function which will be called in Isolate.

CombineIsolate combineIsolate = await Combine().spawn((context) {
  print("Hello from Isolate!!!");
});

Listen for errors

To listen for errors you can use CombineIsolate.errors getter which returns stream with errors from isolate.

CombineIsolate combineIsolate;
combineIsolate.errors.listen(print); // Listen for errors.

Kill

To kill CombineIsolate you can use CombineIsolate.kill method.

CombineIsolate combineIsolate;
combineIsolate.kill(); // Kill Isolate.

Communicate with Isolate

IsolateContext

Do you remember context argument in entryPointFunction? Let’s take a closer look at it.

IsolateContext holds an argument, passed while you spawn Isolate and IsolateMessenger which is used to communicate with original Isolate.

Pass arguments

To provide argument just pass it to the spawn function.

Combine().spawn(
  (context) {
    final argument = context.argument as String;
    print(argument); // Print: This is my argument
  },
  argument: "This is my argument",
);

Chat with Isolate

To chat with Isolate you can use IsolateMessenger. It has messages getter with stream of messages from Isolate and send method which sends message to Isolate.

In the crated isolate you can get IsolateMessenger from IsolateContext.messenger. Another IsolateMessenger can be found in CombineIsolate.

CombineIsolate combineIsolate = await Combine().spawn((context) {
  context.messenger
    ..messages.listen(
      (event) => print("Message from Main Isolate: $event"),
    )
    ..send("Hello from Combine Isolate!");
});

combineIsolate.messenger.messages.listen(
  (event) {
    print("Message from Combine Isolate: $event");
    combineIsolate.messenger.send("Hello from Main Isolate!");
  },
);

This code will give the following output:

Message from Combine Isolate: Hello from Combine Isolate! Message from Main Isolate: Hello from Main Isolate!

Dealing with MethodChannels

Configuration

Everything is already configured to work with MethodChannels so you can just use them!

Combine().spawn((context) async {
  final textFromTestAsset = await rootBundle.loadString("assets/test.txt");
  print("Text from test asset: $textFromTestAsset");
  // Print: Text from test asset: Asset is loaded!
});

Explanation:

  • the point it that rootBundle uses BinaryMessenger (low level MethodChannel)
  • let’s assume that file in assets/test.txt exists and contains Asset is loaded! text

Limitations

Everything will work fine while you or your plugin just use MethodChannel.invokeMethod or BinaryMessenger.send methods.

However if you or your plugin expect to receive some data from MethodChannel.setMethodCallHandler or BinaryMessenger.handlePlatformMessage you may notice that these methods are not working. This may happen if you didn’t send any data to the platform from this Isolate.

Why? In short the reason is that plugin just sends all messages from known [method] channels in Main Isolate to the Combine Isolate. However [method] channel becomes known when you send anything to it. The good news is that almost always when you want to receive messages from channel using MethodChannel.setMethodCallHandler or BinaryMessenger.handlePlatformMessage methods firstly you send some data to this channel so it is very unlikely that you will face this problem.

Additional information

Limitation may be fixed by some cool hacks and I’ll try to do it later.

Also as you may have already noticed this package is in alpha version. So firstly it means that API may be changed. Secondly it means that I need to do a lot of things so I need your help. If you like this package please like and start it! If you have something to say please create an issue! I want to know that this package can help someone. It will give me the strength to continue working on it 🙂

GitHub

View Github