Handle Radial Pan Events in Flutter

A UI element that is not currently supported out of the box with Flutter is a click wheel, or knob, or radial control, rotatable circle, or whatever you want to call it. The following snippet demonstrates how to take a circular container, then detect which direction the user is rotating (clockwise or counter clockwise) and its velocity.

Full wheel demo source code.

Flutter Circular Pan Wheel

Detect Pan Gestures

Use a GestureDetector to wrap a container with a BoxShape.circle. Every pan event on the circle will emit data with information about the user’s movement.

file_type_dartlang main.dart
int radius = 250;

    onPanUpdate: _panHandler,
    child: Container(
        height: radius * 2,
        width: radius * 2,
        decoration: BoxDecoration(
            shape: BoxShape.circle,
            color: Colors.red,

Calculate Rotational Movement

Think of a wheel as four separate quadrants like topRight, bottomRight, bottomLeft, and topLeft. For each quadrant, then are four different directions the user can move: up, down, left, or right. We can calculate the change in the user’s movement by looking at the delta, then adjust it based on the quadrant in which it occurred.

The final value is rotationalChange. If the value is positive, the wheel is rotating clockwise, if negative it is moving counterclockwise. Use this value to change something meaningful in the UI.

file_type_dartlang main.dart
  void _panHandler(DragUpdateDetails d) {

    /// Pan location on the wheel
    bool onTop = d.localPosition.dy <= radius;
    bool onLeftSide = d.localPosition.dx <= radius;
    bool onRightSide = !onLeftSide;
    bool onBottom = !onTop;

    /// Pan movements
    bool panUp = d.delta.dy <= 0.0;
    bool panLeft = d.delta.dx <= 0.0;
    bool panRight = !panLeft;
    bool panDown = !panUp;

    /// Absoulte change on axis
    double yChange = d.delta.dy.abs();
    double xChange = d.delta.dx.abs();

    /// Directional change on wheel
    double verticalRotation = (onRightSide && panDown) || (onLeftSide && panUp)
        ? yChange
        : yChange * -1;

    double horizontalRotation = (onTop && panRight) || (onBottom && panLeft) 
        ? xChange 
        : xChange * -1;

    // Total computed change
    double rotationalChange = verticalRotation + horizontalRotation; 

    bool movingClockwise = rotationalChange > 0;
    bool movingCounterClockwise = rotationalChange < 0;

    // Now do something interesting with these computations!

Add Velocity

Adding velocity will make this UI element feel more natural if it controls a scrollable view. The faster the user pans, the higher the velocity. Simply multiply the rotational change by the delta distance.

file_type_dartlang main.dart
double rotationalChange = (horz + vert) * d.delta.distance;

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