When it comes to mobile development, Android and iOS are the go-to platforms for developers. Although these mobile platforms have a lot in common, but their development codes are totally different. Many technologies have emerged to accommodate cross-platform mobile applications. One of the newest additions to the combination is Flutter.
Google has launched a new software development kit (SDK), ‘Flutter' which has gained high popularity since it first came out. Without knowing it, you’ve probably already used the apps made with Flutter. Whether you shopped on Alibaba, ran an ad campaign on Google Ads, or used a digital coupon, you’ve likely witnessed the results of Flutter’s still short history.
What are the pros & cons of Flutter in mobile app development? For which kind of app is Flutter a good idea? Do we really need a new framework? In this article, you will find the latest information about Flutter for App Owners and everyone who wants to develop a mobile app.
Flutter is Google’s mobile app SDK, complete with a framework, widgets, and tools, that gives developers an easy way to build and deploy visually attractive, fast mobile apps on both Android and iOS platforms. Flutter was released in May 2017. The first stable release of Flutter was December 2018.
The language that is used to code in flutter is Dart, developed by Google, and unique to Flutter.
Flutter enables a smooth and easy cross-platform mobile app development. You don’t need to develop an iOS and Android app separately. All you need is one codebase for both platforms. Thanks to the rich widgets, Flutter apps look and feel great.
Flutter has a number of benefits that keep attracting developers and app owners, including:
For developers, Flutter means faster & more dynamic mobile app development. We can make changes in the code and see them straight away in the app! This is the so-called Hot reload, which usually only takes (milli)seconds and helps teams add features, fix bugs, and experiment faster. It is one of the things about Flutter loved by every top Flutter app development team.
Hot reload is also very comfortable in developer-designer cooperation when we want to improve or experiment with an app’s look and check the effects on the spot. In other words, with Flutter, your designer or tester can work together with a developer on the UI, making changes – for example, “Put it 2 pixels right” or “Make the animation faster” – and see them immediately.
Developers write just one codebase for your 2 apps – covering both Android and iOS platforms. Flutter doesn’t depend on the platform, because it has its own widgets and designs. This means that you have the same app on two platforms. Yet what’s important is that, if you want to differentiate your apps – it’s possible.
If you have the same app for 2 platforms, it means less testing! The Quality Assurance process can be faster. Because of one codebase, the developers write automatic tests only once. What’s more, Quality specialists have less work to do, because they have only one app to check. Of course, if your apps have some differences, they need to be tested on both platforms.
Flutter apps work in a smooth and fast way, without hanging and cutting while scrolling. If you want to understand why and how it works from the technical point of view, read this article. Also, check out this amazing page in the Flutter documentation that talks about best practices for app performance.
Widgets are necessary for an app’s view and interface. They must have a natural look and feel regardless of screen size. They also must be fast, extensible, and customizable. Flutter takes the everything’s a widget approach. It has a rich set of widgets and extensive capabilities for creating complex custom widgets. In Flutter, widgets aren’t only used for views. They’re also used for entire screens and even for the app itself.
If you want to show your product to investors as soon as possible, you can build a Flutter mobile application that looks native on both Android and iOS. Thus, your investors will have a clear idea of what your MVP looks like. Developing two separate apps would take much more time and money.
Your new app will look the same, even on old versions of Android and iOS systems. There are no additional costs for supporting older devices.
Flutter runs on Android Jelly Bean or newer, as well as iOS 8 or newer.
Flutter, in all its glory, does have a few downfalls. The Flutter framework is still in its early stages, which means it still has a lot of room to grow, expand, and get better.
Flutter is supported by Google, which means there are many different beneficial libraries available. Since the framework is still in its newborn phase, you may not find every feature you need. There are a lot of various features available, but you may not find every single feature you need at the moment, for now. You’ll be happy to know Flutter features native apps, which means more of a variety for you, including Twilio, UStream, Stripe, and other apps.
One big deficiency that cannot be discounted is the large file size of apps developed in Flutter. Now in some cases and for some situations, these file sizes could be a significant issue causing potential users to choose to use an alternative. While phones and hardware in developed countries often have sufficient capacity to store the app this is not the case everywhere in the world. Many older devices are unable to store additional apps without users being forced to pick and choose between an app or photos/music on their device. However, this file size offers improved runtime and performance so it is critical to understand the audience you’re appealing to.
While Flutter is easy to use it does still require some knowledge of programming and Dart which is used for Flutter is simply not as popular as C, C++, Java and other older languages. As such developers need to spend time learning Dart first which adds to the cost of any deployment.
As we mentioned before, you’ve probably already used the apps made with Flutter.
Flutter cross-platform development has helped create a lot of apps, and many are startups which have grown big. Here are the most popular apps made with Flutter.
Google created a bunch of apps using Flutter, and it has completed changed the old Google ads platform. This new app provides real-time alerts and in-depth detail of the campaign. Several new features have been added due to Flutter framework.
Alibaba was an already a popular eCommerce website, but still, it hires Flutter Developers. It made changes to its mobile app to facilitate global transactions. It increased Alibaba user satisfaction on a global scale.
This is a lifestyle app that is powered by AI. It helps users decide what they should do every day by asking new questions each day. The app also has an insight dashboard which provides detail statics into the user’s personal life.
This is an app to manage your credit cards and all the rewards point you earn. This flutter fintech app help user analyzes and tracks it reward point spending and how to utilize them better.
It takes about 250 hours to develop an average app in Flutter that will work on both iOS and Android, whereas it takes about 400 hours to develop such an app for iOS and 250 hours to build an average app for Android. To find out how much it costs to build an app with Flutter, you can multiply the number of hours by the hourly rate of your developers. You can see that developing for both platforms separately is timely and requires lots of resources. If you want to build your app quickly and save money, then you need to choose cross-platform development rather than choosing to develop two native apps.
So, we’ve reviewed Flutter’s main features, dropped in some comparison with other products, and hopefully helped you form your own opinion about the technology. Now, how do you get started with Flutter?
Check your system requirements. Windows users must have Windows 7 SP1 or later (64-bit) with Windows PowerShell 5.0 and Git for Windows pre-installed. Mac OS developers need a 64-bit version with Xcode 9.0 or newer installed while Linux users don’t have to comply with any special requirements.
Download Flutter SDK. Choose your OS and follow the instructions. All operating systems support development both for iOS and Android, but you will also require a platform-specific editor. Dart comes pre-installed with Flutter.
Install an editor. You can use any IDE with Flutter command lines, but Google recommends using their plugins for officially supported editors: Android Studio, IntelliJ, and Visual Studio.
Flutter is a great chance to build beautiful, high-performance, and outstanding mobile apps that fit your custom needs and requirements.
Flutter is a great option if you are looking to develop a mobile app for your company or for your own. It has all the features to develop an excellent app, but you need to be careful while hiring Flutter developers, otherwise it would be a waste of time.
Leverage the amazing benefits of Flutter to give your business a competitive edge. Till then - keep learning...