Being a software developer or an application developer, it is quite challenging when you have to work with a task that is required to run on various platforms such as different types of mobile OS (Android or iOS) while at the same time it has to be compatible with the web, desktop environment (Windows, macOS, Linux) or even embedded devices. It will take up a lot of time if you do it sequentially by writing different programs for different development tools. Luckily, there is a framework that is capable of handling the deployment of multiple-platform targeted apps such as Flutter. With Flutter, you will easily deploy all the programming in a single codebase.
Flutter is basically a UI SDK which is a free and open-source framework. It was created by Google and built on top of Dart code. Dart is a programming language based on Object Oriented Programming (OOP) which is similar to Java.
It will be easier for you to start with Flutter if you already deal with Dart or other OOP-based programming languages before you use Flutter.
Flutter project was initiated by Google as an open source project with several companies and individuals in 2015 with the code "Sky" for Android OS. Flutter version 1.0 was released at the end of 2018 for the first time and version 2 was launched in 2021. From there, Flutter continued to be developed for various platforms and the latest stable version is currently 3.0.5.
As has been described in our previous article about the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App Development in 2021, Flutter is one of the widely used stacks in app development, especially under cross-platform environments. Compared to other native apps that have been around and used among developers, here are a few reasons why you can choose Flutter to build your apps:
It is undeniable that Google's big name has greatly influenced the development of Flutter. Google's commitment can be seen in the development of Flutter which was initially only intended for the Android OS, in its journey it was also developed for Apple iOS, further to desktop environments such as Windows, Linux, and even macOS.
With the support and trust of Google, big names in the world like eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, Toyota, BMW, etc. use Flutter to build their app. Google keeps updating Flutter and it's become important for developers to ensure that there will be better versions to come and always updated features for this framework. Completeness and up-to-date documentation from Google also ensures that all developers can optimize the functionality of Flutter.
One codebase for multiple platforms allows you to work faster and more efficiently in getting the job done. Without the need to rewrite for different formats/structures, you can utilize the single codebase for multiple platforms, both mobile and desktop environments. Developers will also be assisted by the Flutter 2D rendering engine in controlling each pixel in a better way. Flutter is also able to improve its application performance on hardware that has a graphic accelerator and simplify workflows for the various platforms you use.
Enriched by Material Design created by UX designers at Google and bringing iOS style (Cupertino) by implementing the widget concept, it is remarkably easy to deploy a UI for the application for a better user experience. Like a building block, this widget will help you to construct all of your UI components to get easily placed and integrated. With this widget, you can define various components such as layout, interaction model, motion-rich, animation, assets, images, icons, painting, scrolling, etc.
Another feature that really helps developers in doing coding is the hot reload function. With this function, we can see the results of compiling the program directly without refreshing your full app to see the changes. This function is also useful when you need to perform various experiments on structural modifications and make additional features or bug fixes so that testing and programming development can be done faster.
Bringing the open-source spirit and the growth trend of communities that adopted Flutter as their tool for application development, it becomes beneficial and easier when you need troubleshooting during your development. As more and more developers use Flutter, various experiments and eventually more developers will become experts. With this spirit of open source concept and community vision, this model is expected to become sustainable in the realm of application development.
Flutter comes with API for unit and integration tests to help better interoperability both to the system and 3rd party SDK. If you are familiar with Android API then using Flutter API will be easy for you. With this API support, you can easily build an application that is able to handle data transactions (integrate, fetching, showing) from various data sources such as from a file, database, or public APIs.
If you are a startup company and you need to launch your website or your application quickly to the market, Flutter here comes to the rescue. Reaching an MVP (minimum viable product) stage is an important milestone in a product development or software development phase. Flutter with its cross-platform ability and various functions built on top of it will help you to get to the MVP stage in a faster way.
The following 3 points are among the key benefits of using Flutter for start-up companies:
When we talk about business, profit is one of the most important things. With Flutter, which is free and open source, it means that you cut a part of production resources with the lowest possible cost, in this case, the development app. By pressing these components you can divert them to other areas such as manpower, marketing, bug fixing, etc. let's say by recruiting reliable and experienced developers. This is expected to be a cost-saving aspect that can increase your company's profit margin.
Having an idea and being the first executor in the business is one of the most important things. When you or your client needs a web landing page and a mobile app simultaneously to launch a new product or service to be marketed, compared to a native app, Flutter will help you build and deliver it in a relatively fast time.
Although Flutter is relatively new, its users are increasing day by day. According to various reports, as issued by independent parties and Flutter itself, since its launch, more than 400,000 applications have used Flutter and it is used on many devices around the world.
Flutter is also one of the platforms whose trend shows that it is increasingly being favored by many developers. By switching to Flutter, your startup will be able to compete with other major companies and not be left behind with new development tools that continue to grow.
Flutter with various advantages offered can be an attractive option for you in developing cross-platform applications. If you are a newbie in the developer's world, Flutter is not something to be afraid of because it is easy to learn and work with. If you are a professional developer or a tech-savvy business leader and already understand the rules of OOP, then Flutter will also be a perfect match for you.
With various features such as hot reload, widget concept, the single codebase for all platforms, and other interesting features, Flutter is something you should give a try. Of course, in some ways, Flutter is not as mature as the native app and still has shortcomings, but with its open-source nature and support from Google, it is one of the application development platforms you should consider either as a start-up, developer, designer, engineering manager, or business.