Route and Navigator Refactoring

Summary

The Route class no longer manages its overlay entries in overlay, and its install() method no longer has an insertionPoint parameter. The isInitialRoute property in RouteSetting has been deprecated, and Navigator.pop() no longer returns a value.

Context

We refactored the navigator APIs to prepare for the new page API and the introduction of the Router widget as outlined in the Navigator 2.0 and Router design document. This refactoring introduced some function signature changes in order to make the existing navigator APIs continue to work with the new page API.

Description of change

The boolean return value of Navigator.pop() was not well defined, and the user could achieve the same result by calling Navigator.canPop(). Since the API for Navigator.canPop() was better defined, we simplified Navigator.pop() to not return a boolean value.

On the other hand, the navigator requires the ability to manually rearrange entries in the overlay to allow the user to change the route history in the new API. We changed it so that the route only creates and destroys its overlay entries, while the navigator inserts or removes overlay entries from the overlay. We also removed the insertionPoint argument of Route.install() because it was obsolete after the change.

Finally, we removed the isInitialRoute property from RouteSetting as part of refactoring, and provided the onGenerateInitialRoutes API for full control of initial routes generation.

Migration guide

Case 1: An app depends on pop() returning a boolean value.

TextField(
  onTap: () {
    if (Navigator.pop(context))
      print(There still is at least one route after pop);
    else
      print(Oops! No more routes.);
  }
)

You could use Navigator.canPop() in combination with Navigator.pop() to achieve the same result.

TextField(
  onTap: () {
    if (Navigator.canPop(context))
      print(There still is at least one route after pop);
    else
      print(Oops! No more routes.);
    // Our navigator pops the route anyway.
    Navigator.pop(context);
  }
)

Case2: An app generates routes based on isInitialRoute.

MaterialApp(
  onGenerateRoute: (RouteSetting setting) {
    if (setting.isInitialRoute)
      return FakeSplashRoute();
    else
      return RealRoute(setting);
  }
)

There are different ways to migrate this change. One way is to set the initial route name to a fixed value and generate a specific route (FakeSplashRoute in the above example) for the route name.

MaterialApp(
  initialRouteName: fakeSplash,
  onGenerateRoute: (RouteSetting setting) {
    if (setting.name == fakeSplash)
      return FakeSplashRoute();
    else
      return RealRoute(setting);
  }
)

If there is a more complicated use case, you can use the new API, onGenerateInitialRoutes, in MaterialApp or CupertinoApp.

MaterialApp(
  onGenerateRoute: (RouteSetting setting) {
    return RealRoute(setting);
  },
  onGenerateInitialRoutes: (String initialRouteName) {
    return <Route>[FakeSplashRoute()];
  }
)

Timeline

Landed in version: 1.16.3
In stable release: 1.17

References

Design doc:

API documentation:

Relevant issue:

Relevant PR: