In brief, Flutter is an open-source software development kit that has been making waves since its release in 2018. This innovative toolkit empowers developers to seamlessly craft high-quality, natively compiled apps for iOS and Android platforms, eliminating the need for separate codebases. The prospect of accelerated app development without compromising quality has led to a surge in Flutter’s popularity. This blog will shed light on why most developers use flutter and why you should, too.
In 2021, Flutter achieved a significant milestone by surpassing React Native as the most popular cross-platform mobile framework, according to a survey by Statista, a staggering 42% of developers globally chose Flutter, marking a pivotal shift in the industry.
This shift is more than just a passing trend; it signifies a fundamental transformation in the way developers approach cross-platform mobile app development.
As of last year, Tim Sneath, Flutter’s product manager, revealed a remarkable milestone—more than 2 million developers actively utilizing Flutter. The spring update showcased a significant uptick in Flutter’s adoption, raising eyebrows in the tech community.
We’ll explore the reasons behind Flutter’s meteoric rise, providing valuable insights for tech enthusiasts and decision-makers seeking the best tools for their company’s growth.
Why is Flutter used for Cross-platform development? Top 10 Reasons
Flutter has emerged as a game-changer, especially for cross-platform app development. Let’s delve into the top 10 reasons why Flutter is used for cross-platform development and why it is the preferred choice for businesses and developers alike.
Best for Cross-Platform App Development
The allure of Flutter lies in its ability to streamline cross-platform app development, striking a balance between cost-effectiveness and faster time-to-market. Unlike its predecessors, Flutter bridges the gap, delivering apps that are cost-effective and boast native-like performance and appearance.
Flutter’s stellar performance, ranging from 60 to 120 frames per second (fps), is a testament to its programming language, Dart.
Leveraging Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation, Flutter runs code natively on each platform, eliminating intermediaries that often hinder performance in other cross-platform frameworks.
Great Portability with a Single Code Base
With the release of Flutter 3 in May 2022, the framework expanded its horizons to cover six platforms from a single codebase—Android, iOS, Web, Windows, macOS, and Linux. Flutter developers can use one codebase to reach a broader audience without significant additional expenses, thus reducing development time.
Flutter’s impact on the speed of mobile app development is undeniable. A remarkable 91% of developers attest to Flutter’s role in reducing the overall development time.
From our experience, Flutter projects typically range from 2 to 6 months, depending on complexity, showcasing its efficiency compared to native apps development.
Lower Development Cost
Flutter’s budget-friendliness is a standout factor, with Flutter apps generally costing 30% to 40% less than their native counterparts. This cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive choice for businesses looking to optimize their development budget without compromising on quality.
Hot Reload: A Developer’s Delight
Flutter’s hot reload feature is a developer favorite and a boon for business owners. This function enables instant visualization of code changes without restarting the application, saving time and resources.
It facilitates quick iteration, error detection, and experimentation, leading to a superior user experience.
Pre-built UI Widgets
At the core of Flutter’s UI design are widgets—flexible, reusable, and customizable building blocks. Flutter’s UI library has built-in widgets, both stateless and stateful, ensuring adaptability to various screen sizes and reducing the likelihood of errors.
The platform-specific Cupertino widgets for iOS and Material Design for Android add an extra layer of native appeal.
Ability to Create Great Design
Flutter app development empowers developers and designers to create unique, aesthetically pleasing mobile apps with its rich library of customizable widgets. Incorporating Materials and Cupertino widgets enables the development of apps with beautiful, modern interfaces, ensuring a smooth user experience.
Ideal for MVP Development
For startups, Flutter is an ideal Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development tool. Its fast and cost-effective nature allows startups to swiftly bring their products to market, enabling real-market testing of ideas and business models.
Moreover, Flutter’s scalability ensures that modifications and feature additions can seamlessly integrate without compromising quality.
Global Community Support
Being an open-source framework, Flutter benefits from a diverse global community contributing to its development and success.
The continuous exchange of experiences, creation of educational materials, and prompt fixes from both the community and Google ensure that Flutter remains at the forefront of cross-platform app development.
You might also like: Flutter App Development Tips
How Does Flutter App Development Work?
When it comes to understanding how Flutter operates, it’s essential to unravel the layers of its architecture. Flutter comprises three core layers: the Framework, Engine, and Embedder.
This intricate architecture plays a pivotal role in delivering the seamless cross-platform app development experience that Flutter is renowned for.
Framework: The Face of Flutter
At the top layer lies the Framework, the most visible aspect of Flutter for developers. This layer is built on the Dart programming language, providing a modern and reactive framework for crafting UIs. The flexibility of the Dart language allows developers to express intricate UI designs and interactions efficiently.
Engine: The Powerhouse in C/C++
Beneath the Framework is the Engine, a powerhouse written in C/C++. This layer is responsible for graphics rendering, accessibility support, text layout, and crucial APIs.
The Engine’s efficiency is evident in achieving outstanding performance (60 to 120 fps) through the Dart language’s client-optimized features and Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation.
Embedder: Platform-Specific Harmony
The Embedder, the bottom layer, harmonizes Flutter with different operating systems. A platform-specific embedder acts as an intermediary, facilitating the Flutter app’s interaction with the underlying OS.
Whether Java and C++ for Android, Objective-C/Objective-C++ for iOS and macOS, or C++ for Windows and Linux, the Embedder ensures a seamless integration of Flutter code into the native apps.
Architectural Harmony: No Privileged Access
Flutter’s architecture is designed as an extensible, layered system with no layer enjoying privileged access to the one below. Each layer is independent, optional, and replaceable. The platform-specific embedder is crucial for packaging Flutter apps, working closely with the OS for services like rendering surfaces, accessibility, and input.
Flutter Engine: The Core Implementation
At the core of Flutter lies the Flutter Engine, which is mostly written in C++ and supports the necessary primitives for all Flutter apps. This engine handles the rasterization of composited scenes, providing low-level implementations for graphics, text layout, I/O operations, accessibility support, plugin architecture, and the Dart runtime and compile toolchain.
The Flutter framework interacts with the engine through dart:ui, wrapping the underlying C++ code in Dart classes. This library exposes low-level primitives for driving input, graphics, and text rendering subsystems. Developers primarily engage with Flutter through the modern, reactive Flutter framework, crafted in the Dart language.
Layers Unveiled: From Foundation to Design
- Foundational Classes and Building Blocks:
- Animation, painting, and gestures provide abstractions over the foundation.
- Rendering Layer:
- Deals with layout, allowing the creation and dynamic manipulation of renderable objects.
- Widgets Layer:
- A composition abstraction introduces the reactive programming model.
- Material and Cupertino Libraries:
- Comprehensive sets of controls implementing Material or iOS design languages.
Flutter’s Compact Framework
The Flutter framework is compact, with higher-level features often implemented as packages. These packages cover platform plugins, platform-agnostic features, and more, creating a robust ecosystem that extends Flutter’s capabilities.
Navigating the Layers: A Broad Overview
This deep dive navigates through the layers, starting with the reactive UI development paradigm and culminating in Flutter’s web support differences.
Understanding how Flutter works sets the stage for developers to grasp the underlying technology that Techahead leverages for delivering top-notch Flutter app development solutions.
Advantages of Flutter App Development
Flutter has emerged as a game-changer, winning the hearts of developers worldwide. Its popularity is not merely a trend but a result of the numerous advantages it brings to the table. Let’s delve into the key reasons why mobile app developers are enamored with Flutter.
1. Platform-Agnostic Development
Flutter’s appeal lies in its ability to cater to both Android and iOS platforms seamlessly. With a single codebase, developers can reach a wider audience, tapping into the 72% Android market share and the substantial iOS user base. This eliminates the need for separate native apps, saving both time and costs in the development process.
2. Simplified and Accelerated Development
Flutter streamlines the development process with its robust features. The use of a single codebase and UI engine significantly reduces the effort required to create versions for Android and iOS. The extensive Flutter widgets not only provide ready-made functionality but also accelerate coding time, leading to reduced development costs.
3. Stateful Hot Reload Capability
One of the standout features of Flutter is its stateful hot reload capability. This unique functionality, relying on JIT compilation, allows developers to implement changes to the code in real time.
The ability to instantly see the effects of code revisions without restarting the application speeds up the testing of features, bug fixing, and overall development. It’s a crucial factor in swiftly getting initial applications and updates to market, making Flutter ideal for building and releasing MVP applications.
4. Ease of Learning and Usage
Whether you’re an experienced developer or just starting, Flutter’s simplicity stands out. Dart, the programming language Flutter uses, is structurally and syntactically similar to languages like Java, Python, and C#.
This makes it easy for developers to integrate Flutter and Dart into their repertoire. Additionally, Flutter’s expansive widget library minimizes the need for extensive coding, enabling even those with less development experience to build applications effortlessly.
5. Robust Documentation and Thriving Community
Flutter’s excellent documentation serves as a valuable resource for developers. The comprehensive reference manual, example applications, and a dedicated “cookbook” guide developers in accomplishing common tasks.
Moreover, Flutter’s widespread adoption has fostered a thriving community, offering assistance through platforms like Stack Overflow, Flutter Awesome, Google Groups, and the Flutter subreddit. The abundance of resources ensures that developers can easily find support and guidance.
6. Scalability with Firebase Integration
Scaling an application is a critical aspect of long-term success. Flutter, backed by Google’s Firebase application on the backend, ensures scalability. Firebase’s real-time database updates facilitate quick data syncing among clients.
The optimization of updates minimizes the impact on performance when adding users or functionality. Flutter developers can seamlessly enhance features and expand the user base without compromising application performance.
7. Exceptional User Experience
In the competitive realm of mobile apps, user experience is paramount. Flutter excels in this aspect by offering a built-in widget catalog focused on high-performance and visually appealing application elements.
Flutter apps are compiled directly into native code, eliminating the need for intermediate code interpretation steps. This direct compilation results in faster performance compared to other cross-platform development tools, providing users with a smooth and responsive experience
Disadvantages of Flutter app development
While Flutter has emerged as a powerful and versatile SDK for mobile app development, it’s essential to acknowledge its limitations. Every technology comes with trade-offs, and Flutter is no exception. Let’s explore some of the downsides of using Flutter that developers and decision-makers should be aware of.
1. Concerns with Application Size
For developers mindful of application size, Flutter may pose a concern. Flutter apps are self-contained, carrying all the necessary code to run the app. This approach, while beneficial for certain aspects, results in larger app sizes compared to other applications.
Particularly for devices with limited storage or older devices, the size of Flutter applications may become a challenge, potentially impacting user adoption.
2. Limited Third-Party Libraries
Access to third-party libraries significantly contributes to reducing development time and costs. While Flutter has an extensive built-in widget catalog and a growing number of packages on its official site, it still lags behind other, more established development tools in terms of third-party resources.
The evolving Flutter ecosystem is closing this gap, but developers may face limitations in specific functionalities due to the relative youth of the Flutter platform.
3. Platform Limitations
Flutter’s current limitations extend to the number of platforms it supports. As of now, Flutter doesn’t facilitate the development of applications for watchOS, tvOS, or Apple CarPlay.
This limitation, especially in the rapidly growing smartwatch market, can be a critical drawback for developers targeting diverse platforms. While Flutter aims to address this by providing workarounds, it’s an area where developers need to be cautious about their project requirements.
4. Learning Dart as a Prerequisite
This could potentially deter developers looking for a quick onboarding process. However, it’s important to note that Dart’s adoption is growing, and its unique features align well with Flutter’s development paradigm.
5. Potential Bias Towards Android Development
Given that Flutter is a Google product, it may exhibit a bias towards Android development over iOS. There have been instances where Flutter features and updates are optimized for Android faster than iOS.
The majority of the mobile market being dominated by Android could influence the prioritization of improvements. Developers with a focus on the iOS market should keep a watchful eye on future Flutter releases to ensure compatibility and timely updates.
How can TechAhead Help?
At TechAhead, we bring forth a wealth of expertise and innovation to elevate your business through cutting-edge Flutter app development solutions. Here’s how our services can cater to your distinct needs and contribute to your success:
Our experienced Flutter Engineers collaborate with you to explore and suggest the best product ideas tailored to your market and existing business environment.
Through in-depth consultations, we customize user interfaces, discuss development processes, and focus on crucial aspects such as app performance to ensure your product’s success.
Flutter App Development:
Benefit from our end-to-end Flutter app development services, encompassing every stage from wireframes and prototypes to design, development, testing, and deployment.
Crafting applications with Flutter is a seamless experience with our dedicated team ensuring the delivery of functional and aesthetically pleasing cross-platform solutions.
App Migration & Upgradation:
Seamlessly transition your existing applications to the Flutter platform with our app migration and upgrade services.
Leveraging our cross-platform app development expertise, we minimize disruption to your business processes while fast-tracking the development cycle. Trust us to exceed your expectations during this transformative journey.
Monitoring & Support:
For your existing mobile apps, our team provides vigilant performance monitoring and robust support services. Beyond Flutter app development, our dedicated team extends support for marketing and other auxiliary needs, ensuring your app’s sustained excellence in the competitive landscape.
Unlock the full potential of your Flutter-based apps with high-end API development. Our expertise spans various integrations, from Google Pay to other systems, facilitating seamless connectivity and empowering your app to meet diverse business objectives.
Turbocharge your Flutter app’s capabilities with state-of-the-art customizations and optimizations. Our Flutter developers focus on making your web and mobile apps user-friendly and easily accessible, ensuring consistent success and productivity for your business.
Flutter offers a wealth of advantages and a few considerations to keep in mind. As we conclude this exploration of Flutter’s prowess, it’s evident that Flutter is not just a trend but a strategic choice for developers and businesses aiming for excellence in cross-platform app development.
To take your app development journey to new heights, consider the holistic advantages of Flutter: its cross-platform prowess, exceptional performance, portability across multiple platforms, and a vibrant community backing its continuous evolution.
Techahead, with its expertise and commitment to excellence in Flutter app development, invites you to explore the vast possibilities this groundbreaking technology has to offer.