What is Flutter and What Makes it Special
app development

What is Flutter and What Makes it Special?

1.6.0 is the latest preview release being rolled out by Google earlier this month.

What is Flutter and What Makes it Special?

As a development platform, cross-platform mobile app development has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. After seeing the response on cross-platform development from the market, various tools and software have emerged to make the development platform more desirable.

A few examples of such web-based cross-platform app development tools are React Native backed up by Facebook, PhoneGap backed up by Adobe, Xamarin backed up by Microsoft and many more.

With the inception of such efficient cross-platform tools, flutter apps are set to take it to the next level. The purpose of developing flutter cross-platform apps is to minimize effort and time consumption. Other than that, this cross-platform app development platform offers many benefits which have escalated its popularity among the developer's community.

developer's community

In the growth and popularity of flutter, a major role was played by GitHub, which can be seen in the above graph statistics.

Before diving deep into flutter advantages and disadvantages, know what exactly is the Flutter framework and why it is preferred by developers across the globe.

What is Flutter Framework?

The flutter programming language is a mobile app SDK (Software Development Kit) that is developed by Google for building mobile applications for major app development platforms like iOS and Android. Flutter comes with a full package that consists of widgets, development tools, and framework to provide the app developers the ease of usage.

Flutter approach

Here are some more facts about the flutter development that you should be aware of such as:

  • It is an open source and free of cost platform.
  • Flutter's rich UI elements follow specific platform guidelines.
  • The main competition of flutter is React Native.
  • Flutter is based on Dart, which is an object-oriented programming language.
  • It offers fast and highly customizable widgets to developers.
  • The architecture of Flutter is based on widely known reactive programming.

So now you know what is Flutter framework, it's time we move towards the flutter pros and cons.

Dart programming language for Flutter

Dart, an object-oriented programming language for fast apps on multiple platforms, is integrated with Flutter to develop apps. Flutter engages reactive views , which tends to refresh the view tree for every new frame. It further develops objects that usually exist for only one frame and Dart uses “generational garbage collection” that is suited for such an environment.

Dart also avoids jank and stutter by allocating objects with a single pointer bump and don’t involve locks. The programming language “tree shaking” compiler make it more efficient for Flutter as it includes on those codes which are required by the app.

The app developers can deploy a wide range for widgets from its library, which help in creating multi-dimensional apps.

What is Exceptional in Flutter?

With Flutter being one of the best frameworks for the developers across the globe as compared to other frameworks, it has many conveniences that are usually not found in any single framework. Here are some of the elements that make Flutter one of the best frameworks:

  • With no JavaScript bridge, it has benefits of reactive views;
  • Its code compiles AOT to native code, which makes it smooth, fast, and predictable;
  • The programmer gets complete control of the widgets and layout;
  • Excellent customizable widgets;
  • Offers efficient developer tools coupled with robust hot reload
  • Apps made with Flutter are super performant and compatible.

Flutter Pros and Cons

The interesting part of Flutter is that not everyone is a fan of Google’s mobile app SDK. That’s why we have decided to state the pros and cons of flutter programming language to see if it has the potential of developing apps as an efficient cross-platform mobile development.

For your ease, we have put down the pros of Flutter first and then have listed cons. Take a look:

Flutter Pros and Cons

Pros of Flutter

Google's flutter software development kit enables developers to build two-dimensional mobile apps that can offer various functionalities and features including storage, camera, and geolocation support to users.

In case, you are looking for some high-quality and impressive designs then flutter is the right choice for your project. Here are the open source mobile app builder’s notable advantages:

1. Faster Mobile Apps

The mobile apps developed using flutter app development are way faster in comparison to applications built on other app development platforms. Apps made with flutter are also smooth in functioning as they offer a great user experience without any cutting or hanging while continuously scrolling.

2. Great for MVP

A Minimum Viable Product MVP plays a crucial role as the foundation for mobile and Web applications, so if you want your digital product to be developed at a quicker pace then opt for flutter cross-platform app development.

Many SMEs (Small to Medium-scale Enterprises) and organizations are now using flutter to speed up their development process while reducing the app development cost at the same time.

Great for MVP

3. Hot Reload

Hot Reload is considered to be one of the biggest advantages of flutter because of this the app developers are able to see all the changes, including the minor ones in the code right away. With the help of hot reload, app developers can also make quick fixes in the app's code for its smooth functioning.

4. Less Testing Efforts

In flutter, the user doesn't really have to create two separate apps for different platforms like Android and iOS because flutter provides a single codebase that can be used for more than one platform. This ultimately reduces the testing efforts as the Quality Assurance team doesn't need to run the same tests on different platforms again and again.

5. Native Features Access

Setting up flutter is very easy and can be initiated on low-end machines where app developers can access native features like geolocation and camera. This cross-platform mobile app development platform allows you to reuse your existing Objective-C, Swift and Java code for iOS and Android platforms.

6. Faster Code Compilation

Flutter offers faster & more dynamic mobile app development environment to the developer that allows changes in the code, which can be visible directly in the app. This functionality is due to the hot-reloading features that take (milliseconds) to reflect the change.

Faster Code Compilation

Faster code compilation also gives greater freedom to add features, fix bugs and experiment faster.

7. Single Code for Two platforms

One of the best things about Flutter development is that a single code can be used for two platforms. For instance, a single code can be used for Android and iOS platform both. It’s because Flutter has its own widgets and designs and don’t rely on the platform.

It saves time and efforts of the Flutter developer and yet, the developer can easily differentiate the app even with the same code base.

8. Remarkable Widget Support

Flutter doesn’t make use of platform widgets (or DOM WebViews), as it has a whole set of its own widgets that are fast and can be customized as per the developer’s need.

Widgets can be directly rendered from the platform only and further tailored. Flutter just need a platform where widgets can be put on the screen.

Remarkable Widget Support

9. Layout

The layout structure in Flutter can be regarded as the most considerable improvement. It helps in determining the size and position of the widgets. Earlier, layout used to have a large number of rules that has to be applied to widgets.

For instance, CSS layout defines 375 properties, which are applied to HTML elements.

Cons of Flutter

In comparison to the other mobile app development frameworks, flutter is relatively new and is still in its initial stages of development. So, one can say that it still requires some more time in the application development field to fully compete with other frameworks like Xamarin.

Here are some other disadvantages of flutter framework:

disadvantages of flutter framework

1. Limited Support

It’s true that Flutter has built an impressive support community with hundreds and thousands of flutter enthusiasts, but it's still not enough. In comparison to other support communities, flutter is lacking behind in user support. Also, there are limited libraries that can be accessed by app developers in the flutter.

2. Continuous Integration

Because flutter is still in its early stages, there are not a number of CI (Continuous Integration) Platforms that provide support to it; this includes Jenkins and Travis. That’s why continuous integration support can be referred to as a major disadvantage for flutter development.

3. No Web Apps

Another issue for the flutter app development companies is that it is limited to mobile applications and does not cover Web apps. And this can be a major problem as nowadays businesses are looking for support from both mobile apps and web browsers. Thus, flutter lacks flexibility with respect to web applications.

4. Not so Impressive Libraries & Support

As we all know, Flutter is relatively new to the app development world and thus, sometimes it’s hard to find the required functionalities in the available libraries. And to cater to that, the developer has to build it by himself, which can well extend the app development time.

Why Flutter is Famous Among App Developers?

Apart from Android and iOS, flutter can also be used to create mobile apps on a new platform known as Fuchsia that is developed by the tech giant Google itself. As per reports, Fuchsia may replace Android in future and will pack more punch than Android.

Ever since the day Flutter made its debut at Google I/O 2017, it has been a topic of interest in the mobile app development industry. Google I/O 2019 drew more attention to Flutter, and many announcements made this technology more lucrative for the app developers. Here are some announcements from Google’s annual developer conference:

  • A preview version of open source app builder was released as ‘Hummingbird,’ which was later changed to Flutter web.
  • Flutter 1.5 was rolled out with new updates.
  • New Flutter release supports app development for Chrome OS.
  • Dart 2.3 was released with support for UI-as-code features.

Key Takeaways

  • Flutter has an extensible framework with a layered architecture.
  • It consists of open source packages as well as channels.
  • Delivers a native UI performance that is compiled with reactive applications.
  • The compilation of JIT and AOT apps takes place in the smooth motion of 60 fps.
  • Flutter offers rich tooling like CLI & IDE, Hot Reload and Firebase integration.
  • It has an expressive design with material design widgets.
  • The developers can compose and reuse widgets in the flutter.
  • It doesn’t use the bridge and directly converts Dart code into native code.
  • Perfect for an MVP.
  • Less code has to be written in comparison to native code.
  • Robust cross-development support.

 

Conclusion

Speaking from the point of view of an app developer, flutter does lack some important aspects, but on the other hand, it can be seen that Google is paving a new road for cross-platform app development. Our expert advice would be to give flutter a try as it's still in beta stage and will surely improve in the upcoming months.

So, this was our take on the pros and cons of flutter and its entry in the mobile app development market. If you are interested in reading more such informative articles on cross-platform app development then make sure you are subscribed to MobileAppDaily for daily updates.

Also, we would love to know your thoughts in the ‘Comment’ section down below, on the topic of Flutter app development.

Resources:

Websites:

  • https://flutter.dev/
  • https://medium.com/flutter-community/in-plain-english-so-what-the-heck-is-flutter-and- why-is-it-a-big-deal-7a6dc926b34a
  • https://hackernoon.com/whats-revolutionary-about-flutter-946915b09514

Video:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq4N0hgOWzU
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pJ7lJNiGkA
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7HOt3Jb1Ts
  • https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=io2018+flutter
Twinkle <span>Product Strategist</span>
Written By

She is an experienced business and marketing consultant of the mobile app industry; advising on anything from the perfect branding to the latest tech releases. She is passionate about writing well-researched reports to help the app owners and the mobile app industry audience. She has a vibrant touch that goes well in her writing as well.

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