Build a Flutter Login app with Python Backend
Businesses nowadays need to make critical choices on their selection of mobile technologies. They need to be testing and evaluating technologies every day. Organizations that fail to produce products and services that are simple to use, risk falling behind the competition.
We’ve seen the emergence of various mobile frameworks like React Native, Xamarin and AngularJS that help make it easier to produce these digital experiences. Recently we’ve seen a new player enter the game — Google’s Flutter.
Python facilitates the learning process, its readability also makes communication among programmers working on the same project smoother. This means that if a different programmer works on later additions to the code, they should have no problem understanding and working with the original code.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on showing you how to connect a Python Django backend and a Flutter frontend using GraphQL.
Let’s take a look at why we use these tools before we get started.
Why we use Flutter
Why we use GraphQ
According to its website, “GraphQL is a query language for APIs and a runtime for fulfilling those queries with your existing data. GraphQL provides a complete and understandable description of the data in your API, gives clients the power to ask for exactly what they need and nothing more, makes it easier to evolve APIs over time, and enables powerful developer tools.”
There are many advantages to using GraphQL. To start with, it creates a uniform API across an entire application without being limited by a specific storage engine. Moreover, GraphQL APIs leverage your existing data and GraphQL engines are available in many languages. Finally, GraphQL calls the functions you provide for each field in the type system with optimal concurrency.
Why we use Python
Developers have long been debating which is the best backend language. Is it Java? Swift? Maybe C++? Well, even though our programmers have a broad toolkit that prepares them to tackle even the most challenging problems, we definitely have a favorite. Python increases productivity, is platform-independent and easy to read, is great for machine learning, and has countless resources and a large community behind it.
Why we use Django
Django is an open-source Python web framework that has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. It has been used extensively by companies such as Mozilla, Spotify and NASA, as well as within our team. Django is not only fast, secure and versatile: it’s also great for SEO, highly-scalable and portable.
Now, let’s get into our app. Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Start a new Django Project
Create the virtual env & Activate it
Create the Django Project
pip install django
django-admin startproject auth
Create the custom user model
python manage.py startapp users
Then, create the custom user model:
Add it to the settings
python manage.py makemigrations
python manage.py migrate
2. Setup Graphene and GraphQL JWT
pip install graphene-django django-graphql-jwt==0.3.0
Add the url
Edit your settings
pip install django-graphql-auth
python manage.py migrate
Setup Email Backend
The default configuration is to send an activation email when registering users; you can set this to False on your settings, but you still need an email backend for resetting passwords.
The quickest solution for development is to set up a console email backend. To do this, simply add the following to your settings.py.
Create the schema
Create a file called schema.py next to your settings.py with the following lines:
And add Django-Filter to the installed apps.
pip install django-filter
INSTALLED_APPS = [
Making your first query
Start the dev server:
python manage.py runserver
Open your browser:
On your GRAPHQL_JWT[“JWT_ALLOW_ANY_CLASSES”] setting, add the following:
Let’s try to register a new user:
Something went wrong! Now you know the response format that you can expect of all mutations
Let’s try again, this time, with a super secret password:
Check if the new user is really on the database:
Congratulations! You have successfully built your very first authentication system with GraphQL! Now, let’s create a beautiful frontend for it!
3. Create the Flutter login app
flutter create auth_frontend
flutter run -d chrome
The first time you use it, you’ll see a simple app where you can press a button to increase a counter.
For this tutorial, we have prepared a login example:
So far, we have just made the following changes to our main.dart:
As you can see, a method is called when you press “register”, or “login”. Those are the functions we will implement with a simple backend call.
4. SetUp GraphQL in Flutter login
GraphQL has many benefits, both for the client (devices will need fewer requests and, therefore, reduce data usage) and the programmer (requests are arguable, they have the same structure as the request).
First, add the following packages to your project’s dependencies: pubspec.yaml
Then, create a graphQL configuration file where you will set up the backend URL, and create the GraphQLClient object.
You will need another file to place your GraphQL queries:
Then, modify your main.dart file to talk to the backend in Register.
First, import the necessary packages:
Then, create the configuration objects in main:
In the _LoginpageState class, add the following:
Then, make the _createAccountPressed method async and add this code:
Now, be sure your backend is running as it should, and try to register with a new account in your frontend server. You may see this beautiful error:
Blocked by CORS policy. This happens because your backend does not accept requests from Flutter. There are many fixes for this, and it will depend on which environment you are deploying. For production, you should whitelist your frontend URL in the Django settings. But, for now, we will fix this in settings.py by allowing all CORS:
pip install django-cors-headers
Finally, try to register a new user again and, if you enter a valid email, you should see a success message in the console!
Congratulations! You have built a complete web app, with both a frontend and backend!
Go ahead and build something amazing!
Here is the final main.dart for you to check out:
And, here is the entire project for you to download:
Final thoughts on Flutter login
Adding a widget with Flutter is really simple thanks to the official docs and you can find many widgets to add to your app. These include Appbars, icons, images, inputs, and animations, among many others. This, combined with the possibility to connect any backend services, including the potential of Django, is something that can bring a lot of value to your products, and keep your whole dev team happy!