The competition among businesses these days is far more fierce than it ever has been. This is forcing them to continuously search for new ways to stay on top of their rivals. This is true in the digital space as well. Businesses need to ensure that the users get the most seamless digital experience while using their applications, regardless of their choice of a mobile device or an OS. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to select the right mobile technologies. For years, they have been using React Native and Xamarin for their app development needs, but Google’s Flutter has been making great strides silently.
Flutter is an open-source mobile application development framework that helps develop cross-platform applications using Google’s Dart programming language. Flutter’s rising popularity is evident by the fact that it is now among GitHub’s top-20 software repositories. It achieved this feat within just a few months of its first release. In fact, Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey places Flutter at third place with 75.4% votes, above React Native (8th place) with 62.5% and Xamarin (14th place) with 48.3% votes, in the ‘Most loved cross-platform mobile app frameworks’ category. Let us look at what makes Flutter special and why exactly should you choose it for your next application.
Why choose Flutter for your next app?
1. Single codebase
Flutter works with a single codebase for both iOS and Android apps. This means that developers do not need to code separately for both the operating systems. This helps them quickly improve application quality, design, and speed so that more and more users get connected with the apps.
2. Dart as a programming language
Flutter’s use of Dart as the programming language provides certain benefits to the developers. One, Dart is Google’s in-house production, and therefore, is better suited for Flutter. Two, Dart uses a reactive framework and handles both front-end and back-end on its own.
3. Use of customizable widgets
The widgets included with Flutter implement the Human Interface Design descriptions for iOS that allow for a natural usage experience on iPhones and iPads. These widgets provide layouts and flexible APIs for animations, effects, gestures, etc.
4. Native themes for iOS/Android
Flutter include different native themes for both the operating systems. This allows for faster run-time decisions on which UI is to be shown to the user based on their OS. Flutter has various theme elements (such as icons, fonts, styles, etc.) to ensure that the user gets a native user experience on both the platforms.
5. Stateful hot reload
Flutter’s ‘Stateful Hot Reload’ or ‘Hot Restart’ functionality boosts the productivity of the developers by allowing them to view their changes within one second. The changes to the app structure are visible in 10 seconds. Unlike the slow Gradle build in Android, ‘Stateful Hot Reload’ simply refreshes the app UI instantly like a webpage, helping save up to 40% of developers’ time.
6. Innumerable packages and extensive community
There are a plethora of open-source packages (for example, to open images, share media, etc.) for Flutter that help developers create apps much faster and with ease. This library, supporting both Android and iOS, is growing exponentially with the help of the ever-growing developer community.
7. Powerful design experience
Thanks to its immaculate implementation of the design specifications, Flutter makes it easy to create powerful UI experiences out of the box. This is a huge benefit, especially considering how difficult it is to mimic native-level experience through cross-platform development.
8. Support for a variety of IDEs
Flutter is compatible with various IDEs, such as Android Studio, VS Code, IntelliJ, etc. This makes it easy to work with and accessible for the huge number of developers who are comfortable with any of the IDEs.
9. Easier animations
Announced at Flutter Live 2018, 2-Dimension Flare is an online tool that makes it really easy to create spectacular animations. With a shallow learning curve for developers, it helps reduce the time to implement changes that require animations.
10. Create apps for mobile, desktop and the web
Also announced at Flutter Live 2018, Hummingbird allows developers to use the same code to build apps for mobile, desktops and the web, all at the same time.
Want to build an app with Flutter?
With numerous benefits, it is no surprise that some of the best innovative apps have been built using Flutter. Some of the eminent examples of Flutter apps are Google Ads, AppTree and Alibaba. Flutter provides many benefits like faster programming and testing times, cross-platform capabilities with native-level experience, smoother apps and UI designs that your users will love to interact with.
On top of this, it is backed by a giant like Google, which means you will never have to worry about lack of support. It is clear that the time is now, for developers to consider switching to Flutter for all their mobile app development requirements.