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Understanding and Resolving the “instance of ‘future<dynamic>’”-Error in Dart

When developing with Flutter and Dart, encountering the “instance of ‘Future<dynamic>’” error can be a bit puzzling at first. Let’s break down what this error means, and then I’ll guide you through some steps to resolve it.

What are Futures in Dart?

In Dart, a Future represents a potential value or error that will be available at some point in the future. Futures are part of Dart’s approach to dealing with asynchronous operations. For instance, fetching data from a network or a database query are operations that complete asynchronously.

A Future in Dart can be in one of three states:

  1. Uncompleted: The asynchronous operation is still running.
  2. Completed with a value: The operation finished successfully with a result.
  3. Completed with an error: The operation encountered an error.

When you see a result like “instance of ‘Future<dynamic>’”, it generally means that a Future object is being printed directly, rather than handling its result. This output is the default toString() representation of a Future that hasn’t completed yet.

Why Does This Error Occur?

This issue typically arises under these scenarios:

  • Forgetting to await a Future when an asynchronous operation’s result is needed immediately.
  • Not handling the Future properly, leading to the direct printing or misuse of the uncompleted Future.

How to Fix It

Here are some steps to fix the “instance of ‘Future<dynamic>’” error, assuming you have intermediate experience with Flutter and Dart:

Step 1: Identify the Future

First, locate where the Future is being generated in your code. This will usually be a function call that interacts with asynchronous data, such as a network request or database call.

For example:

Future<String> fetchUserData() {
return Future.delayed(Duration(seconds: 2), () => "User data");

Step 2: Await the Future

Ensure that you await the Future when you need its result. This must be done in an asynchronous function, i.e., a function declared with async.

Future<void> printUserData() async {
String data = await fetchUserData();
print(data); // This will correctly print "User data"

Step 3: Check for Missing await

If the “instance of ‘Future<dynamic>’” occurs because you forgot to use await somewhere, add it accordingly. This is a common mistake which leads to the runtime handling the Future as a normal object rather than waiting for its completion.

Step 4: Use then() as an Alternative to await

If refactoring to an async function is not suitable, use the then() method to handle the Future:

void printUserData() {
fetchUserData().then((data) {
print(data); // This will print "User data" after it is fetched
}).catchError((error) {
print('An error occurred: $error');

Tips for Handling Futures

  • Always ensure your Future handling code is within try-catch blocks if using await, to handle exceptions gracefully.
  • Use Future.then() if chaining multiple asynchronous operations without making the function asynchronous.
  • Use proper type annotations to avoid ‘dynamic’ types unless necessary. This improves code readability and safety.

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