What is Flutter? And is it going to be right for your next app?
Wondering what is Flutter and could this hot new cross-platform framework be used in your next mobile app? In this blog post we dive deep into the specs and features Flutter brings to the table and determine which businesses it will suit the most.
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So, you want to build a mobile app. Perhaps, you’ve even settled for cross-platform development over natively compiled applications – great call! You may have even decided that React Native can be the best solution for your users’ perfect mobile development experience. And yet everyone on the internet seems to be pushing Flutter apps these days.
Flutter vs React Native
In all the fairness – both Flutter and React Native are solid cross-platform frameworks for front-end development. Both are great for mobile applications. Both will give you access to both iOS and Android apps. Both offer solid app performance and modern solutions.
Yet, each has its own benefits to bring to the table. In this article, we’re going to focus on Flutter apps, but if you want to learn more about React Native, some of these posts might come in handy:
- What is React Native and when to use it?
- Pros and cons of React Native development tools
- Flutter vs React Native: What to chose in 2023
And now, it’s about time we’ve clarified once and for all: what is Flutter and if it’s the right choice for your business and tech needs.
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How does Flutter work?
Now is probably the right time to say that Flutter is not a programming language. Instead, it’s a mobile app SDK (software development kit) for cross-platform app development. It’s also often referred to as Flutter framework.
Flutter app development relies on the programming language called Dart – a client-optimized open-source language dedicated to building beautiful and productive solutions.
It doesn’t require some dedicated IDEs, and developers can conveniently use reliable Android Studio or VS Code for building mobile applications with Flutter framework and Dart programming language.
But there’s more.
Single codebase, limitless reach
Being cross-platform, Flutter allows you to build a product using the same codebase for multiple platforms. But it goes beyond simple iOS and Android apps, reaching web development and more.
As such, Flutter supports six different platforms (making it an absolute champion among other frameworks):
|Android||Android 4.1 and above|
|iOS||iOS 11 & above|
|macOS||10.11 and above|
|Windows||Windows 7+, 64-bit|
|Web||Chrome 84+ |
Safari on El Capitan+ Edge 1.2.0+
As a result, you basically get to access any script with a single-codebase Flutter application. No wonder developers love Flutter!
Positive developer experience
Essentially, Flutter allows to creative beautiful yet high-performing solutions faster. Dart programming language supports a variety of features that make developers’ lives easier.
We asked around for some of the developers’ favorite Flutter features, and relying on built-in widgets absolutely stole the spotlight in the community:
Other popular features that often get mentioned include:
- Hot reload – a dedicated Dart feature that allows for a lot of experimentation in your code, whether you want to create beautiful UI, fix annoying bugs, or add new features;
- Access to native code – Flutter offers a flexible system that allows developers to write custom code with some platform-specific functionality;
- Automated testing – Flutter allows automation for unit, widget, and integration tests, thus significantly simplifying the otherwise-tedious process of testing a multi-platform application;
- Minimal code – it’s easy to learn Flutter, so even though there may be a shortage of Flutter developers still, it’s safe to assume that soon enough we’ll have plenty of experienced professionals.
But Flutter goes beyond nifty features like hot reload and integration tests. It also makes sure to stay accessible and well-supported.
Flutter is an open-source framework developed by Google, which instantly adds it more credibility in the eyes of non-believers.
The tech giant ensures that the framework has stable support and high-quality documentation.
There are more technical aspects to Flutter framework than these, but let’s assume we’ve covered the most crucial ones. With those in mind, let’s move on to the business-driven reasons that may encourage you to consider working with a Flutter team in the future.
Business benefits of Flutter app development
The most obvious benefit is also the most important one: Flutter allows you to address web and mobile app development at the same time. But, of course, there’s more to Flutter applications that this.
Unparalleled User Interface
Flutter is a modern framework that renders widgets and utilizes basic building blocks to provide an outstanding UI optimized for the end-user.
Simply put: it’s beautiful.
There’s a good chance that Dart is the one programming language that puts quite such an emphasis on looks as the Flutter framework requires, ensuring that Flutter users get the best frontend experience.
Lower development costs
As a rule, cross-platform apps are already cheaper than native ones.
But Flutter takes this price-quality ratio to the next level, as it allows you to build apps for up to six platforms simultaneously while maintaining the native performance.
Instead of paying for two, three, or six different solutions, you’ll be paying for the same code your Flutter application will reuse across different systems.
At the same time, you’ll be saving time and money not only on the application development process, but also all the related QA testing.
Speed of app development
Not only is it cheaper to build cross-platform apps with Flutter, it is also faster.
A single Flutter team working on a single source code can develop and update applications for up to six platforms.
This significantly increases the efficiency of the team, simplifies the application development management and reduces the number of specialists needed to achieve business goals.
The same is true about testing.
As a result, with Flutter, you can have two native-like mobile apps in shorter amount of time.
You don’t really need to worry about a specific industry if you’re considering Flutter for your next app development project – it’s pretty universal.
After five years on the market Flutter has come out of early development and has introduced stable versions for all leading platforms.
Its maturity and stability is confirmed by a growing number of implementations in serious industries such as banking, finance and ecommerce.
Scalability is one of the main benefits of the framework. A single Flutter team can efficiently use the same code to build a version of your application for any supported additional platform any time in the future.
That makes it much easier to grow your business, expand, and conquer new markets than with native technology. It also significantly increases the business value of your Flutter app.
It won’t be too much of a stretch to say that the biggest benefit of choosing Flutter is Google, the company behind the solution. They have emphasized many times that there’s a specific plan in motion to develop this technology even further.
So, with a little bit of luck, Flutter will be able to remove the current need of having multiple applications for multiple platforms.
This support allows us to count on the increasing capabilities of Flutter applications and the consecutive business benefits in the nearest future.
What businesses should use Flutter
While Flutter brings many benefits to the table, by no means is it a universal solution that will suit any business and technical need.
Not sure what type of app will work best for your next project? Check out this free infographic:
A Flutter app will be perfect for:
✅ Startups – it’s sleek and modern and perfect for early adopters.
✅ Businesses with limited resources – building a single Flutter app is much cheaper than investing in two different applications for iOS and Android devices or web apps.
✅ Projects that want to get started with an MVP – Minimum Viable Products can be built faster with cross-platform frameworks like Flutter, and they allow business owners to test their app’s effectiveness and value faster.
✅ Solutions mainly based on the API – Flutter supports various API integrations and reusable UI elements that make it much faster and easier to complete the project.
Flutter may not be the best choice for:
❌ Businesses that operate in large teams – it’s hard to find highly qualified developers for Dart – programming language supporting Flutter and tooling is not robust enough
❌ Projects that require high customization – Flutter renders widgets that are ready-made which makes the development process faster and the final user interface more native-like. Yet, there’s still somewhat of a lack of third-party libraries for Flutter mobile app development.
❌ Companies whose target audience prefers a specific operating system – it may be cheaper and faster to develop a single native mobile application instead
❌ Solutions that heavily rely on unique functions of the platform or require low-level communication with external devices
Ready to build your next app with Flutter? Let’s make it happen together!