Pros and Cons of Flutter App Development
Are you on the hunt for the ultimate solution to build your app? Flutter is rapidly becoming the go-to choice for app owners who want to conquer their business goals in mobile app development. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of Flutter from the perspectives of app and product owners.
Read on to get insight on what matters about Flutter in 2023.
Table of contents
Whether you are an experienced app owner or just venturing into the world of mobile applications, understanding the strengths and limitations of Flutter development is essential for maximizing your app’s potential and achieving your business goals.
By delving into the advantages and disadvantages of Flutter app development services, we will provide valuable insights – giving you the full picture to make the best choice for your next app development project.
Keep reading to find out:
- What is Flutter and why is it used?
- The main pros and cons of the Flutter framework
- Is Flutter really good for app development?
Let’s dive in!
What is Flutter app development?
Flutter is an open source framework by Google for creating beautiful, natively compiled, multi-platform apps from a single codebase. Offering a robust solution, Flutter development has become a solid alternative to other cross-platform frameworks like React Native.
Let’s look at Flutter from a practical perspective.
Have you ever paid with Google Pay, shopped on Alibaba or had a class in Google Classroom? Or maybe you own a BMW or Toyota and manage your car through the app? They all have one thing in common – Flutter, a game changer in building cross-platform mobile app development.
As you can see, the chances are you’ve already seen Flutter in action.
Flutter includes two key elements:
- Flutter SDK powered by Dart – an object-oriented programming language that puts the user interface (UI) first.
- A framework with a collection of widgets that can be customized according to specific requirements.
But there’s more to the Flutter framework:
- It’s free and open source, so you can count on transparent, flexible, and community-driven development.
- Flutter mobile and web apps look and feel great, thanks to rich widgets. You can create your own custom app design or use available UI elements following available guidelines. Also, Flutter supports Material 3, Google’s open source design system. Here you can find Top Apps Made with Flutter.
- The architecture of the Flutter framework is based on reactive programming that allows for fast edits, integration APIs, and the customized use of native components.
- Flutter’s programming language Dart combines a familiar, object-oriented syntax with built-in reactive and declarative features, enabling efficient and expressive app development.
- It’s a serious competitor to native mobile app development. According to this year’s Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Flutter has surpassed even its biggest competitor, React Native, in popularity.
Read also: React Native Pros and Cons.
Is Flutter popular in 2023?
Among these cross-platform toolkits, one software tool has gained tremendous popularity among developers, enterprises, app owners, and users. And yes, its name is Flutter.
Let’s look at GitHub statistics, wherein Flutter boasts a higher number of stars than its primary competitor, React Native (154k vs. 110k, as of June 2023). Also, the difference between these results grows every year. The conclusion? Flutter is still relevant in 2023 and keeps stealing attention from its rivals as it develops.
So why is Flutter growing in popularity? Well, Google and the Flutter community are constantly developing it, so there are more and more ways to seamlessly create stunning, natively compiled, cross-platform mobile applications. But even compared to other frameworks or native solutions, Flutter benefits businesses by:
- reducing development costs
- reducing maintenance costs (if your app is expensive to maintain, you can rewrite the native app in Flutter)
- offering a single codebase for multiple platforms (Android, iOS, web, and more)
Before diving deeper into all of Flutter’s pros and cons, let’s take a moment to discover the incredible possibilities this framework offers.
What is Flutter used for?
Flutter is a powerful tool for various purposes beyond just building cross-platform apps. While its primary focus is on developing mobile, web, and desktop applications from a single codebase, Flutter development also extends its capabilities to other areas.
We have described for you the most important ones.
Here are 7 common cases where Flutter excels:
- Cross-platform Mobile App Development
Flutter is primarily known for its ability to build high-quality, visually appealing, and performant mobile applications on iOS and Android platforms. With a single codebase, developers can create apps that look and feel native on multiple devices, saving resources and improving time to market.
- Single-Page or Multi-Page Applications
Flutter can be used to develop single-page applications (SPAs) or multi-page applications (MPAs) for the web. It provides a fast and responsive user interface, enabling the creation of interactive and engaging web applications.
- Desktop App Development
Flutter development extends its capabilities beyond mobile and web platforms to desktop environments. It allows developers to create desktop applications for platforms like Windows, macOS, and Linux, delivering native-like experiences across different operating systems.
- Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)
Flutter supports the development of PWAs, which are web applications that offer native-like experiences and can be installed on a user’s device. By leveraging Flutter’s capabilities, developers can build PWAs with enhanced performance, offline support, and app-like functionalities.
- Simple 2D Game Development
Although its not Flutter’s primary focus, the framework can be used to develop simple 2D games and interactive experiences. Flutter’s rendering engine, alongside its rich set of animation and UI capabilities, make it suitable for creating lightweight games or adding gamified elements to applications.
Currently, there is not much of an option for 3D rendering, but there are approaches to introduce it in future versions of Flutter.
- Prototyping and MVP Development
Flutter’s fast development cycle, hot reload feature, and customizable widgets make it an excellent choice for prototyping and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development. It lets developers quickly iterate and test ideas, validate concepts, and get early user feedback. In short, you can deliver your app to your users faster.
- IoT and Embedded Systems
You can also use Flutter to develop user interfaces for IoT devices and embedded systems. Its ability to run on various platforms makes it flexible for creating interfaces for smart devices, wearables, home automation systems, and other connected devices.
If you want to see some apps built with Flutter, check out the Flutter Gallery app, which is a demo of some of Flutter’s features, widgets, and vignettes.
Which apps are created with Flutter? Real-life examples
Many major companies use Flutter to create their products. These include, for example:
- Google Ads and Google Pay
- New York Times Crossword puzzle
- eBay Motors
- Hamilton Musical
You can find more Flutter apps on Flutter’s official website.
Flutter’s open source nature, fast development cycle and cost effectiveness also make it popular with scale-ups. These companies often prioritize speed to market, cross-platform compatibility, and resource optimization, which Flutter can provide.
Here are a few examples of scale-ups that have successfully built their applications using Flutter:
- Reflectly: An AI-powered mental health app that helps users practice mindfulness and improve their mental well-being. Built with Flutter, Reflectly offers a seamless and visually appealing user experience.
- Hookle: A social media management platform that allows small businesses to manage multiple social media accounts in one place. They utilized Flutter to develop their cross-platform app, providing users with efficient social media management capabilities.
- Motion: A technology-driven supply chain platform that helps businesses optimize their inventory management and procurement processes. They chose Flutter to build their mobile app, offering their users a seamless and intuitive experience.
- Nubank: A Brazilian neobank, and one of the largest fintech companies in Latin America, leveraged Flutter to create a unified mobile banking app for its customers. The app provides a smooth and consistent user interface while offering various financial services.
- Invoice Ninja: An invoicing and payment platform designed for small businesses. Using Flutter, Invoice Ninja developed a cross-platform app that allows users to manage invoices, track payments, and streamline their financial processes effortlessly.
Pros of Flutter app development
Having covered the fundamentals of Flutter technology, it is essential to highlight its strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to make informed decisions for your software development venture.
From the perspective of an app owner, the crucial advantages are:
- Flutter speeds up the mobile app development process
- It reduces the app development cost
- The performance of cross-platform mobile applications written with Flutter is higher than those written with other cross-platform frameworks.
- Flutter development comes with unparalleled UI capabilities thanks to Flutter’s architecture.
A single codebase for many platforms
Develop once, and use your app everywhere. Flutter’s programming language Dart enables developers to write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, web, and even desktop.
Thus, you can reach your customers in all the places you need. And there you are, saving your time and effort by eliminating the need to create separate codebases for different platforms.
Flutter’s architecture is designed to deliver high performance. It uses a compiled programming language Dart and includes a high-performance rendering engine Impeller to ensure smooth, responsive app performance.
Faster app development – hot reload feature
One of the critical features of Flutter that gives it an edge over other tools is hot reload. A feature that greatly speeds up app development. How?
Hot reload enables changes to be made to the code and shown immediately in the app! Usually, it only takes (milli)seconds.
This approach allows your designers and testers to work together with Flutter developers on the UI, making cosmetic changes (like “Put it 2 pixels right” or “Make the animation faster”) and seeing the results in near real-time.
Of course, not every kind of code change can be hot reloaded quickly (check the list of current Hot reload Limitations), but plenty of those can.
And as an interesting note, Google engineers developed the hot reload feature to increase their productivity. Now it’s one of the things top app development companies love about Flutter.
Lower development cost
App development with Flutter leads to lower costs due to its cross-platform nature. With Flutter, developers can write and maintain a single codebase for both iOS and Android platforms, eliminating the need for separate development teams and reducing both the development time and effort.
This unified approach streamlines the development process, lowers maintenance costs, and allows businesses to reach a wider audience without incurring the expenses of building and maintaining two separate native apps.
Faster time to market
With Flutter, you can enhance time to market because your team of developers can write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms. At the same time, this eliminates the need for separate codebases.
Also, Flutter’s hot reload feature allows for real-time code changes, facilitating rapid iterations and faster app refinement.
It is worth adding that hot reload is a development feature. This means that each app update will still require review in Apple or Google stores, but this is also the case with other frameworks.
Thanks to Flutter’s capabilities, you will introduce changes faster at the application architecture level, thus speeding up the next steps.
Flutter is basically synonymous with outstanding user interface these days. Here is why.
• Flutter widgets for fast UI coding
Flutter provides a rich set of pre-designed UI (user interface) components called widgets, enabling developers to create visually appealing and highly customizable user interfaces. Flutter’s reactive framework allows for smooth animations and fast rendering, resulting in a delightful user experience.
As a result, you can create your own or customize ready-made widgets and have more control over the look and feel of your mobile app on both iOS and Android platforms.
Flutter also always targets 60fps by default (or 120fps on devices that support it). So, a smooth UI refresh is one of the basic assumptions of Flutter.
If you want to go beyond widgets, read about Flutter’s rendering capabilities and find out how to master Fragment Shaders.
• Same app UI and business logic in all platforms
Moreover, with Flutter’s unified approach to UI and business logic, you can effortlessly synchronize changes across all platforms, eliminating the need for separate development cycles and ensuring seamless integration.
Additionally, Flutter is designed to be compatible with a wide range of devices, including older ones, as it can run on devices that meet the minimum system requirements of the framework. These requirements are generally modest, ensuring compatibility and allowing for seamless app deployment.
Open source framework and active community
Being open source means that the framework’s source code is freely available, empowering developers to customize and extend Flutter according to their specific needs.
Additionally, the active community around Flutter provides a supportive environment where developers can collaborate, share knowledge, and contribute to the growth and improvement of the framework.
This combination of openness and community involvement fosters innovation, accelerates development, and continuously enhances Flutter’s capabilities.
Flutter’s growing ecosystem is a significant advantage for developers and app owners.
As the popularity of Flutter continues to soar, the ecosystem surrounding the framework is expanding rapidly. This growth is reflected in the increasing number of packages, libraries, and tools available for Flutter app development.
These resources cover various functionalities such as networking, database integration, state management, and more, allowing developers to leverage existing solutions and accelerate development.
With a thriving ecosystem, Flutter provides developers with a rich selection of options to extend app functionality, improve productivity, and create robust and feature-rich applications.
Cons of Flutter app development
From an app owner’s perspective, while Flutter has many advantages, we will not tell you that it’s free of disadvantages. Here’s what you should consider.
Flutter app size
The larger file size of Flutter apps can be a concern for some users, especially those with limited storage space on their devices. It may lead to longer download times and more storage space than smaller native apps.
However, the impact of larger app sizes can be mitigated with careful optimization techniques. Flutter has the capability to build apps that can download additional Dart code and assets at runtime. This allows apps to install with a smaller APK size and download features and assets when the user needs. Each uniquely downloadable bundle of Dart libraries and assets is something called “deferred components”.
Limited set of tools and libraries
Flutter can be easily integrated into any native API using something called platform channels. So we are not limited in our choice, but if some library/service does not support Flutter, it just requires more work to integrate with it.
Also, Flutter’s expanding community and continuous development help address this issue, and it may not be a significant problem for many developers.
Adoption of Dart
The adoption of Dart, the programming language used in Flutter, may be relatively lower (although already a little less than a few years ago) than more widely-used languages.
Dart is still a young language, but besides Flutter, server frameworks based on Dart have already appeared. Here are some examples:
Flutter app development with Droids On Roids
Considering all the good and bad about Flutter app development, at Droids On Roids, we think Flutter is a prominent technology, and we love building apps with this framework!
We started learning this technology at the very beginning of its existence, and we have already completed our first project in 2019. Now, with 20+ specialists on board, we have already developed multi-platform apps for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux using a single code base.
Here are some examples:
- NTFY – Nice To Fit You: A mobile commerce application for one of the largest dietary caterers in Poland.
- Slip: An app that allows users to collect and manage their receipts conveniently, paperlessly and build an initial customer database.
- Greenr: An app for tracking, reducing, competing, and offsetting users’ carbon footprint.
- in10: An event app offering advanced RSVP and ETA tracking for simpler meeting arrangements.
What to know more about our approach to Flutter? Read about our Flutter Mobile App Development Services.
Do developers like working with Flutter?
Developers widely embrace Flutter due to its numerous advantages and exceptional features. The rapid development cycle, along with the convenient hot reload functionality, significantly enhances the development experience.
With Flutter, developers can effortlessly build cross-platform applications using a single codebase, which saves time and effort. The framework’s intuitive and expressive UI framework, complemented by a vast collection of pre-built widgets, streamlines the development process and facilitates rapid prototyping and iteration.
Furthermore, the strong and supportive Flutter developer community offers valuable resources, packages, and continuous improvements, fostering a positive and collaborative environment.
Overall, Flutter enjoys a highly favorable reputation among developers, reflecting its capabilities and benefits to the app development process.
Is Flutter good for app development?
How can you better determine if Flutter is a good fit for app development if not by asking those who build Flutter apps all the time. That’s why we asked one of our Flutter masters for his thoughts! Here is what he shared with us:
Over the past few years, Flutter has had the reputation of being unreliable or not mature enough to compete with the established app development SDKs, but based on my experience from the past couple of years, I’m confident to say that Flutter has now become the go-to mobile app development framework for both businesses and developers alike. And while there will always be cases where native SDKs are a better match, I think with time there are fewer and fewer cases where they get a definitive advantage.
Why Flutter? A brief wrap-up
We believe that you have now gained a deeper understanding of Flutter app development and its potential benefits for your business. Although Flutter is a relatively new framework, it has rapidly gained popularity among developers and has become a preferred choice for many.
Its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and user-friendly interface set it apart from its closest competitors. The hot reload feature enables quick iterations and bug fixes, ensuring faster delivery of updates and improvements. Additionally, with Flutter’s ability to create cross-platform apps with a single codebase, you can reduce development costs and speed-up time-to-market.
So, if you want to improve your business processes and develop modern, user-friendly digital products, we encourage you to try Flutter. Our dedicated Flutter development team is ready to assist your business in exploring whether this framework is the right tool to address your specific needs.