Long gone are the days when developing an app individually for iOS and Android was a prerequisite – to make it work on both platforms.
Now, however, the tables have turned dramatically!
Over the past few years, crafting a single app that would work on multiple platforms, using one single codebase, has been the trend.
Nevertheless, building cross-platform mobile applications has always been an uphill struggle for any mobile app developer. But ever since the introduction of a multitude of cross-platform frameworks, the programmer’s life has become a lot easier.
Developers no longer need to write separate codebases in different languages to simultaneously deploy an Android and iOS app. Instead, they just have to write the code once and build applications for different platforms, without putting any additional efforts.
One such framework which has acquired the interest and trust of gazillion developers is the Google-backed “Flutter”.
If you haven’t heard about it yet or the buzz surrounding it, then you’re probably living under a rock!
Let’s talk about it in detail!
- An open source SDK that lets you develop powerful, high-quality native mobile apps for Android, iOS, and even Google’s upcoming OS Fushcia, using a single codebase.
- A modern, reactive framework which empowers you to customize your app with rich, composable widgets, built-in animations, gestures, effects, and myriad other features.
- The apps that are created using Flutter are incredibly fast, smooth, and beautiful.
- The framework allows you to make your app run native on Android and iOS, without involving any interpreter.
- It has an inbuilt library of Material (for Android) components and Cupertino (for iOS) widgets that are pixel-perfect enactments of the guidelines set by Google Play Store and App Store.
- It provides a wide range of fully-customizable widgets to help you build native interfaces in no time.
- Flutter’s layered architecture ensures rock-solid, exhaustive customization, which results in implausibly fast rendering and meaningful & flexible designs.
- The beta 3 version of Flutter was released earlier this year, which has significantly increased the demand of the framework.
- Whether you’re just getting started with mobile app development or are well-versed in other app development frameworks, you’ll definitely relish the high-speed development and quality apps that Flutter supports.
Some of these apps include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and Grooveshark.
Keep reading, there’s a lot more to explore …
Merits & Demerits of Using Flutter for Mobile App Development
Just like any other framework, Flutter has its unique set of pros and cons. Let’s cover its strong points first.
- Flutter is developed and supported by Google, which is its biggest advantage. Besides that, it’s easy to learn, fast, efficient, and completely different from other app development frameworks.
- Its lightning-quick code compiling speed and hot reload feature sets Flutter apart from its fellow competitors. It compiles your code relatively faster than any other app development framework, pretty similar to pure native compilation. Moreover, its hot reload attribute helps you quickly and easily build User Interfaces (UIs), add several new features to your app, and fix bugs.
- Flutter will be used as a primary development SDK in Google’s upcoming mobile OS Fuschia.
- The app animations are faster, smoother, and cleaner, simply because Flutter uses 2D GPU-accelerated APIs.
- Unlike native approaches, Flutter allows developers to run their native C/C++ compiled code, which is one of its key plus points.
- The framework uses Dart, an object-oriented programming language by Google, to render a faster UI in comparison to other cross-platform frameworks, which plummets the app development time drastically.
- Creating APIs using Dart is fun, probably because it’s simply the easiest language to learn for developers.
- It uses nested widgets to ensure that the design of the app on a particular operating system is up-to-date and adheres to the design standards.
- Flutter apps can run both on Android and iOS emulators simultaneously without any performance lag using the command “flutter run -d all”.
- You can easily and quickly find out the problems with your application using the command “$ flutter doctor”.
- Creating animations and transitions are more straightforward and simpler to execute than on native platforms.
Despite having countless advantages, there are several downsides of using Flutter for mobile app development. Some of them are mentioned below:
- With Flutter, it isn’t possible to develop apps in Java/Kotlin; instead, you’ll need to learn Dart.
- The framework is not perfect yet, as it lacks some important features such as OpenGL, MapView, VideoView, and accessibility support. Despite releasing Beta 3 earlier this year, Google hasn’t given any clue yet regarding the release of the stable version of Flutter.
- Flutter’s community is rather small as compared to Native’s. Developers are building new libraries and plugins, or in simple terms, the framework is still evolving.
- Taking into consideration its evolving nature, many services live AWS doesn’t support it yet.
- Flutter apps are relatively larger in size than native apps.
- The Google support is impressive and there are many ready-to-be-implemented libraries which you may find useful; however, it lacks certain functionalities, for example, inline maps are not supported yet, lack of support for inline video, etc.
Is Flutter Better than Native Mobile App Development?
There’s no denying that native development is beyond comparison, but one of its biggest downsides is its higher cost. In addition, it requires the most specific developer skills (detailed knowledge of Objective C / Swift, Java, C# plus a proper understanding of IDEs & APIs). To implement native development, you’ll either need to hire someone with these particular areas of expertise or make your developers learn these skills over a period of time.
Remember, these skills may vary from developer to developer and from platform to platform, which means you’ll have to hire different mobile app developers for each of your platform, i.e., Windows, iOS, and Android. This may cost you a ton of money. If cost is not an issue for you, look nowhere else; but if it is, then switch to a less expensive option – Flutter. While native apps offer the best end user experience, Flutter apps are not far behind. They look and feel like native apps and still offer a compelling user experience, if not quite as good.
Flutter is super easy to get started with (it just requires the knowledge of Dart), arguably easier than its native counterpart. It’s undoubtedly the best way to craft high-quality native as well as cross-platform interfaces on iOS and Android. Flutter apps feel native with less complexity, have a low barrier to entry, are cheapest to develop, and render exact native app experience. Furthermore, there’s no need to implement and maintain multiple codebases; you can use single code across Android, iOS, Windows, and other platforms. All in all, Flutter’s unique features and stable nature make it a serious competitor to native development; however, it’s not fully developed yet to do any harm to or replace Native or other frameworks.
Both Native and Flutter are outstanding frameworks for building attention-grabbing and robust mobile applications. Choosing between the two comes down to your personal preference and the amount of money you’re willing to spend.
If you’re seeking a reliable mobile app development company in India that could help you get started with Flutter, then look no further than Debut Infotech. For a free consultation, call at 1-703-537-5009 or drop a line at email@example.com.