The future of Dart package management: What to expect

If you've been using Dart for any length of time, you've probably already heard about Dart package management. It's a critical part of the Dart programming language, and it's been around for quite some time.

However, as with any technology, the landscape is always changing, and there are always new and exciting developments on the horizon. That's why in this article, we'll be taking a look at what the future holds for Dart package management.

What is Dart package management?

Let's start with a quick refresher. Dart package management is a way for developers to share code and make it easier to reuse across different projects. It does so by providing a framework for bundling code together into a package, complete with metadata that describes what the package does, where it comes from, and how it can be used.

Packages can be stored locally on a developer's machine, or they can be uploaded to a central repository where other developers can find and use them. These repositories are called "package repositories," and there are several of them maintained by the Dart team.

The current state of Dart package management

At the moment, package management in Dart is relatively simple. A package can be created manually by putting the necessary files together in the correct directory structure and creating a pubspec.yaml file that describes the package's metadata.

Packages can then be published to the package repository of your choice by running the pub publish command, and other developers can then use those packages in their own projects by adding them as dependencies to their pubspec.yaml files.

Overall, this system works pretty well, and it's easy enough to use once you get the hang of it. However, there are some limitations to the current package management system that make it less than ideal for certain use cases.

What's changing?

The good news is that the Dart team is actively working on improving package management in Dart. They've outlined some of their plans in a blog post from 2020, and they've been steadily working towards these goals ever since.

Some of the changes we can expect to see in the future include:

Enhanced package metadata

Currently, package metadata is limited to just a few fields in the pubspec.yaml file. In the future, the Dart team plans to expand this metadata to include more information about packages, such as their license, documentation, and more.

This enhanced metadata will make it easier for developers to find the packages they need and make informed decisions about which packages to use in their projects.

Customizable package caches

When you download a package in Dart, it gets stored in a cache on your machine. This can be convenient, as it makes it faster to download the package again in the future. However, it can also be a pain point, as the cache can quickly become cluttered with packages you no longer need.

In the future, Dart package management will allow developers to customize their package caches. This means you'll be able to choose exactly which packages you want to keep around, and which ones you want to delete to save space.

Better support for monorepos

Monorepos are becoming increasingly popular in the world of software development. They allow developers to manage multiple related projects in a single repository, which can be convenient for a variety of reasons.

However, Dart package management doesn't currently have great support for monorepos. In the future, the Dart team plans to improve this by adding better support for inter-package dependencies within a monorepo.

An improved experience is the official package repository for Dart. It's where developers go to find and download packages for use in their projects.

While works pretty well, there's always room for improvement. In the future, we can expect to see an improved experience with better search, filtering, and sorting options, as well as the ability to view package metrics and more.

And more!

These are just a few of the changes we can expect to see in the future of Dart package management. There's sure to be plenty more on the horizon as well.

What does this mean for developers?

If you're a Dart developer, you might be wondering how these changes will affect you. The short answer is: it depends.

If you're already comfortable with Dart package management and you don't have any specific pain points or requirements that aren't currently being met, then these changes might not have a huge impact on your day-to-day work.

However, if you've ever found yourself frustrated by the limitations of Dart package management, or if you have specific use cases that aren't currently supported, then these changes will likely be very welcome.

Overall, the improvements to Dart package management will make it easier and more convenient for developers to share and reuse code in their projects. This should lead to more robust and maintainable codebases, and ultimately, better software overall.

Best practices for Dart package management

While the future of Dart package management looks bright, there are already plenty of best practices that developers can follow to make the most of the system as it currently stands. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Use semantic versioning

When you create a package in Dart, you'll need to assign it a version number in your pubspec.yaml file. It's important to use semantic versioning (also known as "semver") when assigning version numbers.

Semver is a system for versioning software that helps developers communicate the nature of changes between different versions. This makes it easier for other developers to understand when breaking changes have been introduced, and what they need to do to update their own code.

Be mindful of package sizes

When you create a package, it's important to keep its size in mind. Large packages can take a long time to download, which can be frustrating for other developers. Try to keep packages as small and focused as possible, and consider splitting larger packages into multiple smaller ones if necessary.

Document your packages

It's important to document your packages thoroughly so that other developers know how to use them in their own projects. This includes providing clear API documentation, writing example code, and including usage instructions in your README file.

Test your packages

Before publishing your package, make sure to thoroughly test it to ensure that it works as expected. This includes writing unit tests, integration tests, and any other tests necessary to ensure that your package functions correctly.

Publish your packages responsibly

When you publish a package, you're making it available to other developers all over the world. It's important to take this responsibility seriously and to make sure that your packages are of high quality and well-maintained.

This means responding to issue reports and pull requests in a timely manner, providing timely updates to your packages when necessary, and following best practices for releasing breaking changes.


Dart package management is an essential part of the Dart programming language, and it's only going to become more important in the future as more and more developers adopt Dart for their projects. With the improvements on the horizon, it's an exciting time to be a Dart developer.

By following best practices for package management, and by being mindful of the changes coming down the pipeline, developers can ensure that their code is maintainable and easy to reuse across different projects. This should lead to better software and better outcomes for everyone involved.

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Written by AI researcher, Haskell Ruska, PhD ( Scientific Journal of AI 2023, Peer Reviewed