What Is Flutter?
Flutter is Google’s mobile SDK that can be used to create native-looking Android and iOS apps from the same code base. Although it was launched in December 2018 and Flutter has since been in beta, the buzz around it has continued to grow stronger.
Before its launch, many developers have had to undergo a tedious process of porting their Android apps to iOS in a bid to reach the widest possible audience. Flutter reduces the development time and effort as it comes complete with a framework, widgets, and tools that make it possible to build and deploy visually attractive, fast mobile apps on both Android and iOS apps.
In a nutshell, you don’t need to develop an iOS and Android app separately as you can write once and deploy it to both platforms.
How Does Flutter Work?
Widgets are the central idea of a Flutter app’s user interface as different widgets can be combined to build the entire UI. Each widget is a vital part of the user interface as it defines:
- a structural element (like a button or menu)
- a stylistic element (a font or color scheme)
- a layout aspect (like padding)
- and many more
Unlike other frameworks that separate views, view controllers, layouts and other properties, widgets are the core of this technology. The mobile app SDK doesn’t use OEM widgets since it has ready-made widgets that look native to Android or iOS apps (following Material Design or Cupertino).
To encourage versatility, Flutter also allows developers to build their own widgets.
Pros and Cons of Flutter
Google’s purpose for launching Flutter is o enable developers to deliver high-performance and high-fidelity apps that feel natural on different platforms. If you’re considering Flutter as a technology to use for your next mobile app, here are the benefits and limitations you should know.
Pros of Flutter
Saves Time, Effort and Money
Flutter is a cross-platform development tool, meaning there’s no need to develop an app for one system and repeat the process for another. The same code you use for building an iOS app can work seamlessly on Google’s Android, helping you save time and resources throughout the development process.
Speeds up Coding and Prototyping
One of the major reasons Flutter is gaining a lot of traction among mobile developers is it’s hot reload. Hot reload allows you to view any changes made in the code on emulators, simulators and hardware almost in real-time, with no need for app restarting.
The updated source code is injected into the running app and Flutter automatically rebuilds the widget in less than a second. That makes it easier to identify bugs as soon as they appear and test US or features without tie-ups.
Flutter offers top-notch performance for two reasons. First, it uses Dart which compiles into native code. Second, it doesn’t use any OEM widgets since it has its own library, effectively reducing the communication between the app and the platform.
The app performance (especially start-up times) is noticeably faster and the issues are fewer compared to non-Flutter apps.
Minimal Compatibility Issues
There’s no need to test your app on older OS versions since Flutter comes with its own widgets which results in fewer compatibility issues. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about whether your app will work on future OS versions.
However, you will need to update Flutter widgets once there’s a new version of Android or iOS.
Flutter is an open-source tool surrounded by an active community of developers which means it has countless possibilities of customizing everything in the framework – from Material and Cupertino widgets to animation and gestures.
Cons of Flutter
The disadvantages of Flutter are the effects of its young age and they include:
One of the foremost cons of Flutter is that you have to learn a new language (Dart) to use it. This often puts off developers but Dart is an easy language to learn due to its simplicity.
Suited for Universal Apps
Flutter’s biggest selling point, which is that developers can build apps for different platforms using the same code base, can also be its biggest drawback.
It is ideal for building simple, cross-platform apps, meaning developers who have platform-specific projects might have to look elsewhere.
A Young Technology
Flutter hasn’t gained wide acceptability due to its status as a new, relatively unstable tool. Common concerns include not coping with changes in the US of iOS and Android.
Hence, some developers opine that it is not yet suitable for building a complex commercial app but success stories like Tencent’s and Alibaba’s seem to prove otherwise.
Flutter is currently one of the most innovative tools on the market for developing mobile apps as it offers several advantages to development teams.
It will help you build apps that meet the standards of both mobile platforms while saving you precious time and money. It holds a lot of benefits for start-ups and programmers, making it a promising candidate for the mobile technology of choice in the near future.