Why To Choose Flutter Over Other Cross-Platform Frameworks | Hacker Noon

June 15th 2020

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@sanjay-kidechaSanjay Kidecha

Sanjay Kidecha is the CMO of Kody Technolab. He loves to explore and write on latest Tech Trends.

Flutter is the Future!

Mobile app development is lately being considered a field of endeavor and looks like Flutter embraces it. Backed by Google, Flutter is expected to bring a revolutionary change in the way high-fidelity apps for iOS, Android, web, and desktop are built. The apps built with Flutter feel natural and native across various platforms. 

Flutter is a free & open-source mobile UI framework introduced by the Google family in May’17 with the first stable version released on 4th December’18. 

It allows you to create native mobile apps for iOS & Android, using the same source code. Flutter is a power-pact toolkit consisting of a 2D rendering engine, ready-made widgets, hot reload features, and other development tools. And needless to say, this is what distinguishes Flutter from the other programming tools available.

This blog will highlight the basics of Flutter, Flutter 1.17 updates, Flutter’s less-known features, and the benefits attached to Flutter app development. Here is your food for thought; all the apps for Google’s Fuchsia OS will be developed on Flutter. Are you excited to find out how and why Flutter will bring revolutionary change? Keep reading… 

Technical overview of Flutter & its history

Flutter is an SDK (Software Development Kit) that helps developers in compiling the code into native machine code and build unique apps for iOS and Android. It is a framework based on widgets using which you can personalize the UI elements depending on the project. 

Flutter apps are built on Dart programming language. Dart is relatively old & quite similar to familiar languages like JavaScript or Java. Google released it in October’11; however, it was less explored by developers. 

Over the years, this typed object programming language, Dart, improved a lot and soon became the most sought after programming language. Flutter perfectly blends the Skia graphics library with Material Design, which facilitates speedy transition & design elements that give native-app like feel. Flutter is a power-packed feature platform that aims to solve all the woes of a developer. 

Flutter 1.17 update highlights

It looks like Google is keeping up with the promise of making Flutter better and efficient. It released the stable versions of Flutter 1.17 and Dart 2.8, just a few weeks back. Here are a few highlights about the recently released versions. 

Apps built using Flutter 1.17 will observe speed rise by 20-37 %;

Flutter gallery size is reduced to 8.1 MB from 9.6 MB;

Flutter version 1.17 extends metal support, which means that the developers will have direct access to the in-built GPU of the iOS device. 

Flutter becomes really cool by introducing NavigationRail that will assist in building responsive apps. The DatePicker and TextSelection are redesigned for a better view.

Flutter developers can directly use any fonts from fonts.google.com.

  • Samsung keyboard issue along with 6339 other issues resolved;
  • Hot Reload feature improved;
  • Dart 2.8 has improved things with pub;
  • Pubget feature in Dart 2.8 will help developers in fetching packages in no time;
  • Dev plugins channel made available for the developers. 

Why should you learn Flutter?

Same Code across multiple platforms

Flutter developers need to code only once and employ it across both the platforms iOS and Android. Additionally, the tool is packed with widgets and material design, which allows developers to create an app that works cross-platform. 

Adaptive to new platform releases

Flutter is designed in a way that allows developers to access the new OS features and explore its capabilities instantly. 

Detailed and clear documentation

Considerable and understandable documentation is that one thing that distinguishes Flutter from the other frameworks. Flutter provides simple, yet detailed explanations of every process. Also, it explains in-depth about the tools for cross-platform app development. 

Easy integration of complex animation

Bringing Animations to the Flutter app is easy now. By using ready-made widgets like Animated Builder, Animated Container, and more, you can easily integrate the animation you want in your app. The Flare Runtime for Flutter and Rive’s support to Flutter is making the Flutter animation game crazy. 

Faster prototyping

Flutter makes it easy to design an app that fits the respective platforms. You can use various widgets and make the animations seem fluid and real. Hence, you can experiment with your project idea by developing a prototype using Flutter.

Cost-effective app development

You can build two apps at the cost of one! Flutter is easy to understand and requires less allocation of resources. With the help of a single Flutter app developer, you can build apps for iOS and Android. The developers are free to use the code libraries and extensive tools provided on the Flutter platform.

Faster yet effective development

Flutter excels in designing as well as developing cross-platform applications. Developers have to put in less effort in developing as well as testing as compared to native app development. It lets you meet the project timelines. 

Exceptional catalog of Flutter Widgets

Flutter is everything about rich-widgets. It is stuffed with a variety of widgets that assists designers in preparing eye-catching UI. The comprehensive widget library lets you build fantastic applications giving native-app feel. 

Hot Reload feature

The biggest challenge for the developers was to see the impact of any changes made in the source code. But the Hot Reload feature of Flutter allows developers to view the changes instantly. Dart uses Ahead-of-Time and Just-in-Time compilation, which enables developers to see results in real time. 

Developers and designers can easily coordinate and look for ways that can amplify the application feel. Additionally, developers do not have to start from scratch every time when they wish to implement a change in the application.

Powerful Material Design Support

Flutter extends support to Material design using which you can prepare out-of-the-box applications.

Best for Startup MVP

If you are tight on budget as well as time, then, Flutter is an excellent choice for MVP. You have to invest in only one developer, who will help you build a beautiful application using a widget library. Flutter development is thus a cost-effective solution for MVP.

Active and growing community

The Flutter community is growing day by day, offering the developers excellent community support. There are a considerable number of community members who would love to exchange information about Flutter with you. 

Supported by Android Studio and VS Code

It is a blessing in disguise that you can pick up from various Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), namely Android Studio and Visual Studio. Android Studio is ready to use, and you just need to download Flutter and Dart Plugins. On the other hand, VS code is light in weight, and you can configure everything using plugins.

AdobeXD support

Adobe announced its XD support to Flutter, which will assist dev teams in creating and sharing designs for a variety of apps. 

Native-like features

It is almost impossible to distinguish between a Flutter app and a Native app. Apps built using Flutter gives Native-feel without compromising on any feature or speed of development. It allows you to access native features and highly focuses on giving a native performance. 

Less Code

Flutter takes a “code once” approach and is capable of delivering native apps for iOS and Android. Dart, the programming language of Flutter, is similar to JavaScript and is declarative. However, Flutter doesn’t use JavaScript bridge, which is why the apps have improved performance. 

Themes for various platforms

Flutter provides a pool of themes for iOS and Android apps. You can use themes within widgets to change the color of the background, font styles, color, etc.

Firebase support for backend

Flutter has strong backend support from Firebase. You can efficiently carry out the project development without worrying about cloud storage, realtime databases, hosting, cloud functions, authentication, and more. This means you do not have to invest resources and time in backend development specifically. 

Shortcomings of Flutter

Limited TV support

If you expect your app to run on Android or Apple TV, then sorry, Flutter doesn’t support both the TVs.

Continuous Integration

Flutter lacks the support of CI platforms like Travis and Jenkins for web applications. However, a new CI/CD system called Codemagic was announced, which seems to solve the challenge but only for mobile. 

Limited libraries

Flutter is relatively new and growing. No doubt, the Flutter team is constantly upgrading their library stock, but it may lack certain functionalities. You need to build these libraries from scratch, which is again a time-consuming job.

List of startups turned Big Giants using Flutter for mobile app development:

  • Alibaba;
  • Google Ads;
  • Dream11
  • Klaster Me;
  • Reflecty;
  • Game of Fifteen;
  • Tencent;
  • JD Finance;
  • Toon Blocks;
  • Share Music Pro;

Ending Note

Since the last stable version release of Flutter 1.17, it looks like a majority of companies will be inclined towards Google’s baby, Flutter. You can literally observe the increase in the team’s productivity by ten folds, unified user experience, and reduced time of development if you use Flutter. We hope that you are convinced that Flutter is the answer to your project development needs.

Flutter updates sound promising, and it looks like it will address all the gaps in the app development. So why wait and pinch your pocket, when you have an easy solution for it. Go Flutter!

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Sanjay Kidecha is the CMO of Kody Technolab. He loves to explore and write on latest Tech Trends.


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