Flutter is currently one of the leading mobile cross-platform technologies. In many cases, it is also the best solution for business. Whether Flutter technology will be suitable for your next project depends on many factors, but for a reason, it has been chosen many times by the creators of the most popular mobile applications.
Read this article if you are thinking about creating a mobile application. It is quite likely that Flutter app development services will meet your business needs. However, Flutter technology will not always be the best choice. From the content below, you will know what Flutter is, how it works, and what the most popular applications are based on this cross-platform framework. You will learn more about the benefits for business offered by Flutter and about alternative mobile technologies.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source mobile application development framework created by Google. This technology has grown in popularity over the past few years and is now as popular as Facebook’s React Native.
Flutter uses the Dart programming language, which is compiled into native code, allowing developers to create high-performance apps that feel natural on the platform they are running on.
One of the key features of Flutter is hot reload, which allows developers to make changes to the code and see the results in real-time without having to manually stop and restart the app. This makes it easier to iterate and debug during development.
Flutter also has a highly expressive and customizable design system, which allows developers to create visually stunning apps with minimal code. It also provides access to native code through a set of platform-specific APIs, making it possible to integrate with the underlying platform and reuse existing native code.
In addition, Flutter has a growing community of developers and a rich ecosystem of plugins and packages that can be leveraged to add functionality to an app.
Overall, Flutter is a powerful and efficient framework for building cross-platform apps, with a range of features that make it easy for developers to create high-quality apps with a minimal amount of code.
How Did It Start?
Google first announced Flutter, an open-source mobile application development framework, in 2017 at the Flutter Live event. The first stable version, Flutter 1.0, was released in December 2018. Since then, Flutter has continued to evolve and improve, with regular updates and new features being added. Flutter 2.0 was released in March 2021 and includes a number of significant improvements, including support for building web and desktop apps, improved performance, and new design-specific widgets. The latest stable version, Flutter 3.3.10, was released in December 2022 and makes the framework even more efficient and popular among mobile developers across the globe.
Cross-Platform Vs. Native Apps
In recent years, the IT world has been convinced that cross-platform technologies are not able to compete with native ones primarily in terms of performance but also functionality and UI design. Today, these views are starting to change because Flutter, as a cross-platform technology has made huge progress. Working on a Flutter single source code, you can create a mobile application that will work not only on iOS and Android but also on web browsers, smart watches, or smart TVs. However, it is still difficult to say unequivocally that one of these technologies is better. It depends primarily on the type and complexity of the application, the required functionalities, and the industry to which the application is dedicated. To help you decide, let’s look at the pros and cons of each technology.
Cross-Platform Development Pros and Cons
As it has already been said, cross-platform technologies such as Flutter or React Native offer everything to create a great mobile application. Their biggest advantage, however, is the fact that a single source code allows you to create an application that works on multiple platforms.
This can be a significant simplification of the software development process, reduction of the size and unification of the structure of the software development team, and cost savings during development and maintenance. This may be the case, but it depends on the complexity of the project. The more platforms you plan for your app, the more development and maintenance will require work and testing. The conclusion is that Flutter can be a great solution, but not necessarily for the largest projects.
Going cross-platform, you can reach a wider audience and acquire more traffic to your app. That will result in higher income and visibility on the market, and that is why cross-platform development is so interesting for many businesses. Thanks to the Flutter hot reload feature; you can act fast and build scalable, secure, and high-performance solutions almost in a blink of an eye. Development work is easier with the help of a wide range of customizable widgets and natively compiled User Interfaces for multiple platforms.
To make it not too easy, Flutter also has disadvantages when compared to native technologies. Read on to find out more.
Native Development Pros and Cons
Despite all the advantages of cross-platform applications, native iOS and Android apps continue to be more popular and have the status of proven and reliable. Their advantage lies in the technologies they use to create, as Swift and Kotlin allow you to create dedicated solutions for devices with iOS and Android systems. The latest features available in subsequent versions of these systems are available first in native technologies, and cross-platform ones usually adapt them after some time or, in some cases, not at all.
In addition, working on iOS and Android applications usually requires the involvement of two developers with different skills and writing and maintaining two separate source codes. These are often too high start costs for small projects such as startups, but for complex projects, it is a guarantee of performance, security, and stability.
On the other hand, native applications are usually better optimized, and the overall file size is smaller. This ensures excellent application performance.
Flutter also has a smaller ecosystem of third-party libraries compared to native apps.
Top Apps Made With Flutter
I could write about the advantages of Flutter for a long time. However, it is better to refer to examples of its use in business. Thousands of mobile applications have already been created using Flutter, and many of them are used by millions of users around the world. Probably you too. See the most famous examples.
Alibaba Flutter App
Alibaba is a major player in the e-commerce industry, both in China and internationally. The company has existed since 1999, and today, apart from the online marketplace, it has several brands such as online stores (Taobao & Tmall), a payment platform (AliPay), and a cloud computing company (Alibaba Cloud). In 2020, Alibaba’s revenue was over $73.5 trillion, and the company itself was worth over $700 trillion.
Alibaba published an extensive article about how Flutter helped them technologically develop their businesses and presented a number of benefits that come from using this technology.
Google has used Flutter in one of its key tools, which is Google Pay. Mobile payments are used by most users of Android devices. According to the source, the use of Flutter allowed to reduce the engineering effort by as much as 70% and to reduce the code length by 35%.
Another great example of how Flutter responds to the needs of even the largest businesses is the BMW mobile application. The brand initially focused only on the iOS app, which had to be adapted to the regulations of 48 different countries. Maintaining such a project was a challenge. What’s more, the Android market has grown so much that focusing only on iOS would be a mistake.
Then the BMW team decided to focus on Flutter cross-platform development. Today, they work on a single source code and have the ability to regularly update and make changes in every location and device on iOS and Android.
Are You Ready to Decide?
As you can see, Flutter can be a serious candidate for your mobile app creation. Like any technology, it has its advantages and disadvantages, but whether it will bring you benefits depends on your needs. Think about what your goals are and whether Flutter development will help you achieve them.