Dry layout support for RenderBox


A new method named computeDryLayout was added to the RenderBox protocol. Subclasses of RenderBox are expected to implement it to correctly report their desired size given a set of BoxConstraints during intrinsic calculations. Subclasses that implement computeDryLayout no longer need to override performResize.


A new method, computeDryLayout, was added to the RenderBox protocol to correctly calculate the intrinsic sizes of a RenderParagraph with WidgetSpan children and a RenderWrap. The method receives a set of BoxConstraints and is expected to calculate the resulting size of the RenderBox without changing any internal state. It’s essentially a dry run of performLayout that only calculates the resulting size and doesn’t place the children. The computeDryLayout method is part of the intrinsics protocol (see also RenderBox.computeMinIntrinsicWidth and friends).

Description of change

Subclasses of RenderBox need to override the new computeDryLayout method if they are used as a descendant of a RenderObject that may query the intrinsic size of its children. Examples of widgets that do this are IntrinsicHeight and IntrinsicWidth.

The default implementation of RenderBox.performResize also uses the size computed by computeDryLayout to perform the resize. Overriding performResize is therefore no longer necessary.

Migration guide

Subclasses that already override performResize can be migrated by simply changing the function signature from void performResize() to Size computeDryLayout(BoxConstraints constraints) and by returning the calculated size instead of assigning it to the size setter. The old implementation of performResize can be removed.

Code before migration:

  void performResize() {
     size = constraints.biggest;

Code after migration:

  // This replaces the old performResize method.
  Size computeDryLayout(BoxConstraints constraints) {
     return constraints.biggest;

If the subclass doesn’t override performResize, the implementation of computeDryLayout has to be extracted from the performLayout method. Basically, computeDryLayout needs to do all the work performLayout is doing to figure out the size of the RenderBox. However, instead of assigning it to the size setter, it returns the computed size. If computeDryLayout needs to know the size of its children, it must obtain that size by calling getDryLayout on the child instead of calling layout.

If for some reason it is impossible to calculate the dry layout, computeDryLayout must call debugCannotComputeDryLayout from within an assert and return a dummy size of const Size(0, 0). Calculating a dry layout is, for example, impossible if the size of a RenderBox depends on the baseline metrics of its children.

  Size computeDryLayout(BoxConstraints constraints) {
      reason: 'Layout requires baseline metrics, which are only available after a full layout.'
    return const Size(0, 0);


Landed in version: 1.25.0-4.0.pre
In stable release: 2.0.0


API documentation:

Relevant issues:

Relevant PRs: