Wondering why you should consider Flutter for your next product when considering the best solution? Regardless of whether you're in charge of making IT-related business decisions or if you’re a developer, it can be helpful to compare potential solutions against one another. We hope this page will help shed some more light on the subject of Flutter's features and functionality.
First and foremost, we’ll help you discern what Flutter is and why it is the most powerful platform for building mobile apps. You’ll learn about Flutter’s advantages compared to other platforms and the role these benefits play in both development and business processes.
Above all else, you’ll encounter why Flutter can be an effective solution for some common issues that may continually occur in your organization.
What Is Flutter?
Throughout my career as a software developer, I’ve witnessed many recurring difficulties that product owners go through before choosing what programming language to use for their products. All of the projects were different, but almost all of them had something important in common: the resulting apps need to not only run on desktop devices but also be optimized for mobile devices because nowadays most consumer spending is on smartphones and tablets. So it’s no surprise!
In addition to working on smartphone apps, I also had some experience in mobile game development. I remember seeing a well-established cross-platform game development for the first time in 2016, which was when I thought it would be very important to have an instrument that would allow us to create apps using one convenient solution.
Well, now we have it. And I want to share the joy of working on Flutter with you so that you make the most benefit of the innovation. In this article, I highlight my thoughts on what advantages of Flutter are going to make it dominate the cross-platform application development in the upcoming years.
Coming from a career of developing mostly on Android, I can say that Flutter allows me to build high-quality applications with a native performance by using my existing knowledge of game development. The platform was developed with intuitive design principles in mind so that users feel at home regardless of the device they're using.
You might assume that every framework can perform some things and offer certain features. We see your point, but Flutter is a bit different from its competitors in some key areas. We are here to share with you why Flutter app development is better than any other frameworks you've used so far.
1. Same UI and Business Logic in All Platforms
We, experts, know that basically any cross-platform framework provides a way to share codebase between the target platforms. But there are no such application frameworks that allow sharing both the UI and user interface.
To illustrate, here's an example of how UI rendering looks like in most cross-platform frameworks:
This kind of rendering process makes building an app that looks native on every platform easy. But there is a long list of things you must do before you embark on this endeavour, which includes identifying if the app will be calling remote services or have been built from scratch by focusing on quality or performance. The devil’s in the details, however, and if you don’t have someone overseeing your project, then it might fall apart at some point down the line. That would prove to be disastrous for the success of your company.
In contrast, Flutter doesn’t need any platform-specific UI components to render its UI. The only thing Flutter needs to show the application is a canvas onto which it can draw. And here’s how it looks:
The Flutter app developer will be thankful for its ability to render a user interface consistently on different platforms. Not having to worry about the consistency of the UI in a short time with Flutter, it is possible to share the same architecture and not worry about it affecting the performance of the end product.
2. Reduced Code Development Time
From my experience, building a normal-sized android app with the use of Android Studio can take 4.9 seconds to get it ready on a test device. It is normal for some people to think that it takes forever just to adjust a minor visual aspect in your layout, but there is a solution for that!
Flutter's "hot reload" feature allows you to see the applied changes almost instantly. The feature saves time and allows users to quickly update their application without losing other information from the application itself.
Besides, the Flutter framework includes lots of ready-to-use widgets. Most of them are incredibly customizable, saving you time unlike any other framework before. In addition to numerous core layout widgets, Flutter also provides a large set of Material and Cupertino widgets that mimic the behaviour of each design language to match your project’s needs. Here’s how they work :
In a nutshell, using Flutter allows you to skip several time-consuming steps when developing an app, which makes the entire process faster, simpler and less worrisome.
3. Increased Time-to-Market Speed
Say goodbye to cross-platform app development blues. Flutter makes it easier to build apps that look high-quality on all screens. When you use Flutter, there is only one build process - so no more developing code for each targeted platform separately. No need for multiple device form factors or specific configurations. We can develop native Android third party libraries without any modifications in the Flutter app, which results in shorter development times with consistently optimized performance!
Flutter is great because the UI rendering is declarative, which means you won’t have to worry about tweaking and updating its visuals for any visual changes. This is especially true when compared to other options like native iOS and Android development.
4. Similar to Native App Performance
Performance is the very core of any application, whatever it is meant for. It can have a great impact on how well your software is received by users. Flutter applications are very fast because they don’t have to go through an additional interpretation process that may take time, which costs crucial processing power or memory. Using this software that has been coded natively into the machine code allows for greater performance.
Eventually, you get your release application fully compiled ahead of time with Flutter.
5. Custom, Animated UI of Any Complexity Available
One of the advantages of Flutter is its ability to customize your user interface, even if it's rather complex. It rather depends on how you want it to be presented. While it can be achieved using native platforms, the process takes too long. Here is an example of a complex yet quickly customized user interface experience:
Flutter makes it easy for you to animate the UI elements, including moving a widget from a start state to a finished state or from an initial position to a final position. It comes with built-in transition options you can use, but if needed, you can make your transitions too.
6. Own Rendering Engine
Flutter gives you so many possibilities in mobile development that aren’t available on other platforms. It requires a well-rounded framework to be so powerful, and even more so when working with a high-performance cross-platform rendering engine. To accomplish this, Flutter must have a versatile UI toolkit to work with.
-Flutter uses Skia for rendering itself onto a platform-provided canvas.- Because of the engine, UI built-in Flutter can be launched on virtually any platform regardless of its size or resolution.- Putting it differently, you no longer have to adjust your UI to transfer it from place to place because everything will already be ready regardless of what device or platform is being used.
7. Simple Platform-Specific Logic Implementation
Besides the UI, many real-life mobile apps make use of advanced OS-level features such as fetching GPS coordinates, Bluetooth communication, gathering sensors data, permission handling and work with credentials. Many of these are available when you develop a flutter application through a ready-to-use plugin supported by Google.
Of course, if there are OS-level features that your app relies on which you do not yet have as plugins then this is where using previously established channels becomes useful. Flutter provides channels that can be used for sending messages between platform-native code and Dart. They act like pipes that transmit data between the two elements by creating bi-directional links with them. This way you can implement native features on a Flutter app with just a little more work than what it would take to create them for an app hosted on the web only. For example, here’s an example of how channels work:
8. The Potential Ability to Go Beyond Mobile
The Flutter app development platform has grown tremendously since it was revealed in May 2017. Now, one year later, Flutter is available for both mobile and web apps, and can be used to make desktop applications too! For example, Google announced at this year’s I/O conference that they are offering a technical preview of an early version of Flutter for Web where you can run pure Flutter apps straight from the Google Chrome browser without having to modify your source code.
Even though everything except the mobile part of the framework is not considered production-ready, an experienced Dart developer can make a pure Dart app run on any major platform today using Google Cloud Pub/Sub, including Android, iOS, Web browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, and even embedded devices. And the app will function properly with no changes to Dart code.
Is Flutter a Good Solution From the Business Perspective?
Yes, yes and yes.
Some things positively influence your business model in a significant manner. These are most often the stability of the platform, its performance, a wide talent pool – it’s relatively easy to hire Flutter developers - and the guarantee of successful further tech/product development and improvement. The reason is that technology issues provoke the occurrence of risks, along with direct financial losses for your company.
From this point of view, Flutter lowers risks for your business:
- no problems with product development are likely to occur since Google is creating Fuchsia OS, which works with Flutter just fine
- using Flutter won’t cause you trouble finding engineers because there are already so many fans among Android developers in the community (check feedback here and here)
- ease of integration: Alibaba, Google Ads, AppTree, Reflectly, My Leaf - these are only a few of the global companies currently working with Flutter.
All these aspects make Flutter a solution for any and every business to prevent obstacles to seeking specialists, adjusting to new technologies and integrating the tool into the system. Compared to the alternative cross-platform approaches available, Flutter poses minimal risks to a business and therefore is worth considering as an option if one needs a viable way of reducing risks as much as possible for one's particular project.
So Why Try Flutter?
Let’s cover the greatest advantages of the framework: your app UI & logic don’t change depending on the platform, faster code development, increased time-to-market speed, close to native app performance, enormous UI customization potential, separate rendering engine, no reliance on platform-specific UI components, appropriate for any target platform
Simply put, Flutter is an open and easy-to-use mobile UI framework. Given how much time and effort we all devote to apps nowadays, I’m confident that Flutter will soon become the global standard for mobile development.