Flutter Application Development
What is Flutter Programming, and What are the Pros and Cons of Flutter Programming?
Have you heard of Flutter programming? You may think that Flutter is a quirky name for a development environment. But the Flutter framework and Flutter coding language should not be taken lightly. In this article, we explore the Flutter as a development option, and discuss the pros and cons of Flutter app development, how to get started with a Flutter project and how to find and hire Flutter developers and IT consulting partners.
According to a recent study by Statista, the Flutter development environment represents 46% of the cross-platform development market. That’s an impressive accomplishment, in a technology market where there are so many options.
What is Flutter Programming/Framework?
Flutter consisted of mobile development software development kit (SDK) which is compatible with Android and iOS operating systems. Flutter mobile dev leverages open-source mobile app development tools. Flutter is a product of Google and its UI toolkit and framework are designed to enable easy development of cross-platform and hybrid mobile applications, desktop and web applications using a single code base. The product was created in 2015 and launched in 2017-2018, and it includes an integrated development environment (IDE) with debugging tools, and responsive development tools that allow for swift product and application development.
Flutter includes a library of pre-built widgets to make it easier and faster for developers to design and create mobile applications. The Flutter framework includes an engine and platform-specific embedders. The engine is built in C/C++. The Flutter architecture enables swift, effective upgrades to add functionality or users, making it scalable, flexible, and extensible.
The Flutter programming language is Dart (an object-oriented programming language that was developed by the Google team in 2011). Dart has a Skia library for graphics capabilities and is designed to allow Flutter programmers to easily visualize and read code and make changes and can enable Android app development using Flutter or web development using Flutter, or any one of a myriad of options. The Dart approach supports Ahead-of-Time (AOT) and Just-in-Time (JIT) code compilation for better performance of native code, and hot reload capacity. These features help developers to reduce development time.
Today, Google Flutter apps include many global, well-known businesses, with Android, iOS, hybrid mobile apps and web applications capturing large market share.
Among the businesses engaged in app development using Flutter:
Alibaba – This online eCommerce business has global reach with more than ten (10) million users. Its primary user base is an Android population.
eBay – The eBay app for automobile sales is compatible with both iOS and Android and serves clients who are looking to buy or sell cars.
Push – This mobile app for athletes supports both Android and iOS users and provides access for wearable devices using the Flutter framework.
Google – Not surprisingly, Google engaged in mobile app development using Flutter to build its Google Ads mobile application. Its users can create budgets and bids and track ad statistics. Google also uses Flutter for its Google Pay mobile app.
CrowdSource – This global funding app uses Flutter development tools to create an environment that allows for images, video, and other content to enable funding for charities and causes around the world.
BMW – The original BMW focus was for the Apple iOS operating system, but they added Android capability as well, and Flutter was able to accommodate both so the car manufacturer is not limited in its audience, but can serve the market with a hybrid mobile app that allows easy access to products and services.
Hamilton – Even the entertainment industry has gotten into the act with the Hamilton Flutter app that allows fans to gain access to information about events and shows and has a feature that allows fans of the Hamilton musical to sing along to their favorite songs from the Hamilton score!
|Pros and Cons of Flutter App Development If you are mulling over your mobile application or a web application for mobile devices, you are probably wondering, can we use flutter for web development or why use flutter for app development. According to BuiltWith, there are over 43,000 websites currently using Flutter, and AppBrain surveys reveal over 25,000 Flutter apps on the market today. Clearly, the market and the developer community have seen the benefits of the Flutter Development environment. There are many advantages of using Flutter, and we have listed some of them here.
Benefits of Using Flutter App Development
Write Code Once for Android, iOS, and Web
One of the benefits of using Flutter is that your developers can write one code that is suitable for Android, iOS, and web development. The one code environment and toolkit allows developers to work effectively and quickly and, moreover, allows the business to upgrade the product once it has been launched in the market. It is easy and fast to make changes and launch those changes, so the mobile application can be kept evergreen and fresh, ensuring that your users will want to keep using your mobile app.
Flutter runs seamlessly on desktops, on the web and in mobile environs including Android and iOS with great hybrid capabilities. It is less expensive and time-consuming to build your mobile application and the skillset required is limited to Flutter development skills. Adding features and upgrading your mobile app is simple, easy, and fast.
If you are still asking, what are the advantages of Flutter, here is another reason to consider developing your mobile application in this environment.
Flutter is an open-source software development toolkit. In and of itself, that might not seem all that important, but it does provide a real benefit. Open-source tools allow developers to connect to the community and to ask questions, share techniques and participate in forums, so Flutter programmers can learn from each other, improving the performance of mobile apps and improving return on investment (ROI) and lowering total cost of ownership (TCO).
Instant UI Update
If you want your business users or consumers to adopt and keep using your mobile application, you must make it user-friendly. Performance is a big deal to users!
Flutter UI rendering is pixel-perfect, so developers can control the pixels and how they display on a particular device. The secret to this control lies in the Flutter engine which interprets the Dart code as it appears on the screen of an Android, desktop, or iOS device. The way the image or screen is displayed is dictated at the time the code is run, meaning the UI is updated instantly.
The Flutter UI code consists of a variety of widgets, many of which contain other widgets. These widgets dictate composition. Flutter can render, and re-render UIs at the impressive speed of sixty (60) frames per second (60 fps), meaning that the engine reacts as quickly as if the application was designed and developed in a native environment.
The Flutter engines engages Skia, a 2D graphics library that handles graphics for a variety of software and hardware. In addition, Flutter comprises application programming interfaces (APIs) to handle text, network, and other functions.
The bottom line for all of this is that the user interface is created, refreshed, and stabilized for every device, screen size and resolution, to ensure seamless performance across devices.
Fast, Cost-Effective, Simple Development
There are many other options for mobile application development. According to a recent study by Google trends, user and developer searches for development environs, frameworks and tools included Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, and NativeScript. Of these Flutter competitors, Flutter was, far and away, the most searched term.
So, what makes Flutter the development environment of choice. As an example, here is just one of the advantages of Flutter over React Native. Flutter provides a flexible UI (as noted above) and renders for iOS and Android with rapid prototyping. Flutter ensures that one team can provide one code, decreasing risk and speeding time to market, while providing the same look, feel and effectiveness as native development. While React Native has great developer community support, Flutter is a Google product, with an impressive rating by developers and programmers using the development environment.
For each of the other development environs, there are reasons to choose one or the other, depending on your requirements and target market, but Flutter compares favorably with all of these options with effective development tools, software development kits (SDKs) and techniques to speed the process.
- Flutter’s comprehensive library of widgets provides access to pre-built functionality, so developers can reduce coding time and cost.
- Flutter has hot reload capability to speed changes to the code, inserting code changes in Dart VM without the need for changes to preserved states.
- Flutter is a good choice for small, medium and start-up businesses with a limited budget. By developing one mobile app for use in all devices and environs, the business can limit its investment.
- Flutter is easy to learn and use and works with other languages like Python, C#, Java and other object-oriented languages and Dart is similar to what developers are used to seeing in these other development languages so developers find it easy to adopt.
- Flutter documentation is extensive and helpful, with a general developer manual, and documentation for common tasks.
- Flutter is scalable with the Google Firebase application functioning on the backend to improve scalability and optimize and minimize updates for synchronization.
- The Flutter catalog of widget is focused on high-performance application elements, ensuring that basic and complex interface components will work well in any environment.
- Flutter is ideal for Minimum Viable Products (MVP) because it is open-source, easy to test, has a single codebase and low maintenance requirements.
- Flutter works well for game development, with its toolkit developed specifically for gaming projects.
Disadvantages of Flutter Development for Web and Hybrid Mobile App Development
There aren’t many disadvantages to Flutter development, but there are a few. Here we consider some of the tradeoffs and limitations you may wish to include in your discussions regarding development choices. Keep in mind that the Flutter product is always addressing developer questions and comments, so the list of disadvantages will shrink as Google works through the most common issues and challenges.
Historically speaking, the Flutter product is still quite young and it is evolving. As a business choice, your commitment to the Flutter development environment may mean that you will see changes that you do not like, or that the Google team may make decisions to take the product in a direction that is surprising. Of course, this is true of any new or relatively new product, so this consideration is not unique to Flutter. But, it is a safe assumption that Google will work to keep the product relevant and that, as an open-source product, the developer community will have a lot of input on the direction the tools, widgets and features will take.
Flutter does not upgrade its tools and environment often, so if you are looking for a constant stream of new options and technologies, you will not find them here. Google is careful about its testing and release and is not in a hurry to launch new features. When these features are available, they will be dependable, but if you are a developer or a business that wants to live on the cutting-edge, you aren’t likely to get the daily updates you expect.
Limitations for Large Apps
If your business is designing a larger application, it is important to note that the Flutter environment will produce a mobile application that will take longer to download and will use more space on a device. Newer mobile devices have ample storage for videos, photos, and games but users often leverage a lot of that capacity for other applications and uses, so there may be issues with the limitations of storage for a larger Flutter. Older devices are of even great concern, as the amount of available storage and performance is more limited.
Because Flutter apps are designed to contain all relevant and necessary code, the size of an application can be much larger than those designed to run by capitalizing on platform elements, so the size of more complex Flutter applications may lead developers to choose a different development option.
Widgets and Plug-Ins
Because developers are always looking for ways to make their job easier, and to make development faster and more cost-effective, they often look to third-party libraries, widgets, and plug-ins to help them complete a project. While it is true that Flutter has an extensive catalog of widgets, as a relatively young development environment, its third-party library resources are still limited. The third-party environment is growing and this issue will definitely disappear over time, but right now it is still of some concern.
iOS vs. Android
One of the advantages of Flutter is that you can run your mobile application on iOS and Android using one codebase, and expect good performance, but the tradeoff for this hybrid capability is that the platform-specific look and feel your users want may be a bit less than what native performance would provide.
In general, developers find that Flutter performs a bit better on Android than in the iOS environment, and Flutter lags a bit behind in providing updates for the iOS environment. Because Google’s primary user base is comprised of Android users, this is not surprising. There are more Android developers using Flutter, than iOS developers, so suggested new features and widgets are likely to make to market faster if they are designed for the Android market.
Smart Watches and More
If your business wishes to design a mobile application that is also suitable for a smart watch environment, for watchOS, tvOS or Apple CarPlay, Flutter has its limitations. You can use Apple Watch extensions for Flutter apps, but the fixes offered at this time are not perfect.
Getting Started with Flutter Development
As with any software development project, you will want to assess your needs, the needs of the market and your customers before you choose a development environment and start working on your mobile application.
Your requirements must include your technology landscape, hardware, network, and support systems, as well as any integration of data sources. The more detailed your requirements for features of the mobile application and how you perceive its functionality, the more likely your mobile application consulting partner can meet your needs, without rework.
If you are struggling to decide how much to add to your mobile app in the way of features and functionality, you may wish to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with basic features that your test audience can leverage to give you feedback on what is mandatory to have, what is missing and how users might want to change navigation or features to meet their needs. If you need detailed information on the MVP process, please refer to our article ‘MVP Software Development: Everything You Need to Know (The What, Why and How).’
The ability to pinpoint your target audience will drive a lot of development decisions. You will need to know what types of devices they use (see the section below for further detail), and the target demographic, languages, what kinds of features they expect, how you will fill the gaps of competitive products to attract these customers, etc. Knowing your target audience will help you develop the product, the roadmap for future upgrades and the marketing and advertising messages.
As you develop your product expectations, you will fold in the information you have from your technology requirements, your target audience, your initial set of features (perhaps culled from an MVP launch), and when and how you will upgrade. You will want to address the expected speed of development and launch, and manage your expectations accordingly. If you are creating a complex mobile application, your schedule and budget must be adjusted accordingly.
Devices, Web, Etc.
Your product plans must incorporate the type of devices, or a list of devices or access points you want for your mobile application. Will you design your Flutter mobile app to run on desktops, via the web, on iOS and/or Android, or on smart watches? All of these devices have different issues, resolution concerns, navigation considerations, screen sizes, and data access and integration concerns.
Budget, Schedule, Resources
Based on all of your requirements and the research you have done, you must now put together a budget, a schedule, and the resources to develop your Flutter application (if Flutter is the environment you choose). Because most businesses (big and small) want a cost-effective method to develop a mobile application, you will want to seriously consider engaging an expert, skilled, IT consulting partner – one with the resources to provide Flutter skills and the extensive knowledge of the mobile application market, development tools, popular frameworks, and platforms, etc. You can even build your software team with dedicated resources to work on your project and guide you to project completion, and through upgrades and maintenance, without the need for your business to hire, train and house a development team.
Hire Flutter Developers
To hire Flutter developers or a Flutter development company, you must understand the services, experience and skills required to complete your project.
Hire Flutter app developers who have experience in the type of mobile application you wish to develop. Mobile application development is a complicated undertaking and you will want an experienced hand to guide you.
Software and Product Development Capabilities
- Flexible, availability of IT resources and support without adding permanent staff
- 24X7 system and support availability and round-the-clock support for all time zones
- Relevant, cutting-edge technology and trained, experienced resources
- Timely, affordable product roll-out to meet business and technical needs
- Affordable, flexible services for swift ROI and low TCO
- Targeted roadmaps, and minimum viable product (MVP) capabilities
- Proven, dependable delivery and business models and processes and methodologies
- Customer and partner satisfaction and improved services levels
- Competitive advantage in local, regional and international market(s)
- Timely, dependable release of upgrades, patches, and bug fixes
- Optimal leverage of internal IT resources
- State-of-the-art software engineering and software re-engineering practices and standards
- Comprehensive support for every phase of the software product development lifecycle
iOS, Android, Hybrid Mobile Application and Flutter Development Services
- iOS Development Expertise
- Android Development Expertise
- Hybrid Mobile Application Development Expertise
- Flutter Development Expertise
- User interface conceptualization and design
- User experience improvement
- Mobile app architecture, design and development
- Mobile app manual and automated testing
- Integration with content management systems and portals and enterprise apps
- Web applications and web services integration
- Smart watch application integration
- Mobile app migration and upgrade
- Configuration of mobile applications on app stores
- Expert developers and mobile application development skills
- White label partnerships for IT providers and agencies
- Dedicated offshore resources for mobile application development
Hire Flutter developers in India and achieve affordable, dependable results with highly skilled resources and cutting-edge technology, available with hybrid, onsite and offsite delivery models, or build your software team with dedicated resources to achieve results without delay or unanticipated issues.
Don’t be daunted by the prospect of developing a Flutter mobile application or a mobile application for other development environs. With the right advice, counsel, resources, and services, you can take your project from concept to product launch and beyond!
Find out how Flutter Mobile Application Development can address your unique business needs. Hire iOS and iPhone Programmers, Hire Mobile Application Programmers, Hire Android Programmers, and Build Your Software Team with dedicated resources. Explore the benefits and components of Mobile Application Development, and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach to product design with these complementary articles: ‘What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? and Why Should My Business Care?’, ‘Mobile App Development is Important to Business, So Are Mobile App Programmers’ and ‘What is Laravel Programming; What Are Its Benefits and Challenges?’ and ‘Hybrid Mobile Application Development: The What, Why and How.’