One of the common attributes that bind leading companies across all industries is their love for bleeding-edge technology. They adopt the latest and greatest technology solutions to push the envelope on innovation, be ahead of the curve, and stay invincible.
The New York Times, Alibaba.com, BMW, and Tencent are all heavy hitters in their own domain. And if there’s one thing that’s common across all these companies, it’s the fact that they use Flutter as their weapon of choice to develop seamless mobile, web, and desktop applications.
In this post, we will deconstruct what Flutter is, the benefits of using Flutter application development, and its shortcomings that you should be aware of. Let’s get right into it.
Flutter is one of the many programming language frameworks available in today’s app development marketplace. It’s an alternative programming framework to other solutions such as React Native, Xamarin, or Kotlin.
Google launched Flutter in 2017 for the first time as an open-source UI development software kit to help developers build cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, or Windows. Google introduced Flutter to counter Facebook—the company behind React JS and React Native open-source software that offers similar capabilities.
Unlike other programming frameworks, Flutter is not a library of UI templates—it’s a software development kit (SDK) that helps dev teams build beautiful UIs and scale them across all platforms from a single codebase.
Flutter is a preferred choice of programming framework because it offers two great benefits right out of the gates—its ability to build cross-platform applications and scaling several apps across several platforms from a single codebase.
Dev teams love Flutter because it lets them build visually appealing, robust apps in record time. In a 2021 Developer Survey that Stack Overflow carried out, 13.55% of the total respondents said that they prefer the Flutter framework over other options.
There are plenty of other benefits that Flutter offers to brands that want to create world-class apps.
Hot Reload is functionality in React Native as well as in Flutter that allows developers to change certain things in a code editor, save the changes, and apply them in real-time without having to restart that application.
In a development environment, speed of execution is a huge competitive advantage. Hot Reload helps dev teams get back hours and hours of their precious time, run quick and easy experiments, add features, or apply bug fixes in a matter of seconds.
Flutter comes with Google’s seal of trust—which means reliable tech support, timely bug fixes, regular updates and versioning, and other promises. Flutter’s parent company Alphabet Inc., uses the language framework in many of its own projects such as in Google Fuchsia—which means it takes Flutter’s performance and sustainability to heart.
If you are considering developing iOS or Android mobile apps with Flutter, you are guaranteed to have products that can withstand the fast-changing market trend and evolve with the changes in the technological landscape.
There’s a reason why Flutter is giving old incumbents like Xamarin and React Native a run for the money—it offers superior performance and speed of deployment.
In the 2017 iOS Summit, Flutter outperformed the two rival programming language frameworks in terms of performance and speed. For instance, here’s how Flutter stacked up against React Native and Xamarin:
Of late, Flutter has enhanced its performance and speed metrics even more—which offers a competitive edge for Flutter app developers who want to build high-performing apps in a short time.
Flutter’s open-source, high-performance, high-speed development capabilities make it an ideal tool for startup teams that want to launch minimal viable products (MVPs) without wasting a lot of resources.
Flutter uses Dart programming language to offer simplified app development functionalities and easy compatibility with Firebase—another Google product that supports documentation and SDKs to help dev teams build interactive apps on Android, iOS, and the web.
MVP developers want a fast pace of development and deployment—two core capabilities that Flutter is born with. This works in advantage of MVP teams to quickly build hybrid mobile apps, validate their new ideas, and get an initial buy-in for their product.
Unlike React Native or Xamarin, Flutter draws its own UI from the ground up rather than being a wrapper around the UI components of iOS or Android platforms. Depending on the UI components of these platforms means that React and Xamarin only support the UI components on one platform at a time.
You either have to write platform-specific codes to make the UI compatible across all platforms or make peace with the fact that the UI properties will look broken if you apply one platform’s UI components to another.
This ties back to the earlier point of performance and reliability because having a compatible UI component ensures platform-wide support. Apps developed with Flutter are safe because they don’t have the risk of having a fragmented UI.
Nothing in this world is perfect—and Flutter is not an exception to the norm. While Flutter is emerging as a better alternative to its counterparts like React and Xamarin—it does have a few potential downsides that every development team should be aware of.
1. The fact that Flutter draws its own UI also has its downside. For the most part, this doesn’t have any implication for Android app development. In the context of iOS, however, Flutter’s drawing its own UI raises problems such as not playing well as a native component under the hood.
2. According to Marco Bellinaso, software architect at ASOS.com, “if you plan to use Flutter for just a section of an existing app), you might see a difference between the native part and Flutter part.”
3. A few things in the Flutter framework are buggy and don’t manifest as expected. If you were to embed a video player in Flutter—for instance—it appears differently than how you expected before the deployment. Issues like these force developers to think creatively and improvise a solution.
Flutter is widely adopted by globally renowned companies like BMW, Toyota, The New York Times, ebay.com, Alibaba.com, and Tencent to develop seamless mobile and web applications.
Let’s look at a few examples of the apps made with Flutter to see how global brands are leveraging it to their advantage.
Toyota uses Flutter to improve the infotainment systems inside its automobiles. Flutter’s performance and charming UI capabilities perfectly complement Toyota’s reputation as a high-performing, reliable, and aesthetically-pleasing automobile maker.
By using Flutter to design and support their infotainment system (built on Linux), Toyota has developed a premium infotainment system that has enhanced the in-vehicle experience and created an automatic feedback loop with the vehicle drivers.
In 2018, when the team at eBay Motors (eBay’s subsidiary marketplace for buying and selling vehicles and auto parts) wanted to develop new iOS and Android apps to mimic its main app experience (i.e., eBay.com)—its dev team chose Flutter because of all the buzz around it.
As a result of using Flutter, the dev team at eBay Motors were able to build an amazing app and share 98.3% of their codebase for a wide variety of use cases such as business logic, domain models, analytics, UI, and network stack. Their internal survey also found that 70% of developers in the company found Flutter’s deployment speed 2X faster than the native solutions.
Over the years, Google has dogfooded Flutter frequently to develop and enhance several of its own products. Google Pay—one of Flutter’s siblings from the Alphabet family—reduced their engineering effort by up to 70% and line of codes by 35% respectively.
Google Pay is an Android native product. But as it grew in popularity in many geographies, it had to extend its offerings to iOS users scattered across the globe. They ended up having 1.7 million lines of code distributed between Android and iOS apps—a staggering amount of code that didn’t play well with Google Pay’s scaling and expansion.
Instead of hiring more iOS engineers or building every feature twice—for Android and iOS respectively—Google Pay chose to use Flutter to build a platform-compatible app that enabled them to eliminate millions of lines of code and ease up their engineering workload.
There is no doubt that Flutter offers a high return on investment for dev teams that want to fast-track their deployment processes. However, it can be overwhelming to start using Flutter for your app development requirements if you don’t yet have in-house Flutter experts. There’s a smart way to get around this challenge—hire a Flutter app development company to speed up your development cycles and shorten your time to market.
Talk to us to know more about how NYL Technology can help you custom-design Flutter apps that will accelerate your business growth.
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