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Most businesses revolve around mobile devices and applications. And although the mobile application industry is extremely competitive nowadays, this is where startups and developers put their effort, always trying to find faster, cheaper, and better-performing development tools.

Among them is Flutter.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source SDK developed by Google that has already conquered thousands of developers’ hearts. It consists of two important elements:

  • An SDK — a number of tools such as APIs, libraries, documentation, tools to compile the code into native machine code, and more.
  • A framework — a number of reusable UI components which you can customize to your requirements.

Flutter uses Dart programming language which is optimized for fast apps on any platform, easy to learn and allows you to develop high-performing applications.

Another important component of Flutter is a library of pre-made widgets that cover almost all aspects of the development process and can be personalized to your needs.

Flutter SDK
Flutter SDK

What is Flutter Used for?

From just one codebase, Flutter allows developers to build applications for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices.

Besides cross-platform development, many advantages of Flutter make it a popular choice for building MVPs and prototyping.

what is flutter used for

A lot of companies with household names have chosen Flutter for the development of their applications. Among them are eBay, BMW, Alibaba Group, and many others.

However, Flutter SDK not only meets the requirements of large enterprises but also perfectly fits into the startup ecosystem because of its cost-effectiveness, fast and dynamic development pace, and rich set of features. Some startups that have been using the benefits of Flutter are:

  1. Nubank — in 2019, the Nubank team decided to switch to Flutter and wrote an overview of their roadmap. Since then, all the new features were written in Flutter. Gratefully to Flutter, Nubank’s success rate has grown to 30% which is more than it used to be with native platforms.
  2. Dream11 — a service that supports more than 50 million fantasy sports users in India, uses Flutter for multi-platform solutions development.
  3. Crowdsource — a startup with over 3 million users that offers gamification to help in training the AI and ML of Google. The Crowdsource team started from an on-device ML model for a live camera developed with Flutter, and then rebuilt their Android app into Flutter.

Flutter Usage Statistics

Flutter’s popularity among developers has skyrocketed over the past few years due to many Flutter advantages it brings to devs: faster code writing, reduced testing time, rich documentation, and easy learning and usage. Flutter also has a great community that is constantly growing and exchanges experience on Flutter.

Flutter has been already used by more than 2 million developers while 500k use it monthly. According to Google, 35% of those are startup developers, 26% work for enterprises, 19% are self-employed, and 7% work in design.

Statista names Flutter the most popular cross-platform mobile framework with 42% of developers using it.

According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022, Flutter takes sixth place among the most popular technologies.

Flutter popularity
Source: StackOverflow

Pros and Cons of Flutter App Development

Flutter was released by Google to promote a fresh look at cross-platform programming. The Dart language, the widget set, and the robust rendering engine showed a new vision of Google which has been widely supported and loved by thousands of developers, among other benefits of Flutter. So, let’s dive deeper into Flutter's pros and cons.

Flutter Advantages

If you want a high-quality cross-platform app, here are several advantages of using Flutter that will convince you that the rumors about poor cross-platform development have nothing to do with Flutter. Why use Flutter?

Flutter advantages

#1 Flutter Makes Users Fall in Love with App’s UI

One of the revolutionary things about Flutter is the way it helps quickly build user interfaces with ready-made widgets. Developers frequently have difficulty when trying to create the same look for Android and iOS apps, as they are completely different by design. Flutter eliminates this problem. It allows building beautiful UI with the help of built-in design-centric widgets(you can also customize them or create your own), Cupertino widgets (for Apple’s app look), Material Design widgets (for Android’s app look), various mobile app development tools, easy scrolling, innovative APIs and navigation features.

Flutter’s widgets have a natural look, are extensible, and fast. Users also can create complex custom widgets that are used for screens and apps. Flutter framework doesn’t separate layouts, views, or other properties, it has a unified object model, called the widget. For instance, stylistic or structural elements can be defined as widgets.

flutter widget tree

#2 Fast and Dynamic Code Writing

With the famous hot-reload feature, developers can see the alterations made in the code straight away in the application. Imagine, you found a bug while using an app. With Flutter, you can fix it immediately without restarting everything. It won’t take you even a second to see what has changed, which makes mobile app development fast and allows experimenting with new features. Create, test, improve! Just within several minutes, you can check out how your app looks. Additionally, it fosters better collaboration between team members (designers and developers), helping them to be on the same page and react to the alterations accordingly.

#3 Flutter Apps Work at a Dazzling Speed

Superfast Flutter apps amaze with their smooth scrolling experience because of the direct code compilation that doesn’t have any bridges to halt performance. There’s also no cutting or hanging. We’ve run several tests to check out the performance of the Native, React Native, and Flutter apps. Even heavy animations with rotations, scaling, and fading weren’t difficult to handle for Flutter. In one of the use cases we used vector animations animated with Lottie on Android, iOS, React Native, and adopted the same animations to use with Flare on Flutter. Flutter showcased surprising results and high performance!

#4 Lower Code Development Time

Kill two birds with one stone. Flutter’s widgets and designs allow having the same app on Android and iOS platforms. Hot reload and hot restart features also significantly decrease the development time as the developers can instantly see all the changes. Dart language allows compiling the code faster.

#5 No More Long Testing Processes

If there’s one code for two platforms, testers will only run one set of tests. Cross-platform development saves time for testers. In the case of app differences, testers will have to do a bit more work and run automated tests on both platforms.

#6 Perfect for MVP Development

Developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for two platforms simultaneously is a dream come true. It’s fast and affordable — everything entrepreneurs look for in a product that they will later show investors. One developer is all you need to build your MVP that has no difference from native apps.

#7 Flutter Development Gives Access to Native Features

One more of the prominent Flutter advantages is access to native features. Functions like geolocation and camera must be implemented with the help of native languages and using Flutter developers can use Objective-C, Swift, or Java to access native features.

The performance of Flutter apps is indistinguishable from native applications. Contrary to most cross-platform frameworks, Flutter doesn’t depend on any intermediate code representations, the apps are built directly into the machine code.

Some of the Downsides

Flutter disadvantages

Like any other framework, Flutter has both advantages and disadvantages.

#1 Scarcity of Third-party Libraries

Using Flutter means limitations in libraries’ access. If there’s no needed functionality, developers must develop it by themselves. It also requires continuous support via script maintenance, because Flutter is not supported by Jenkins on a large scale. Flutter isn’t supported by web browsers and is solely for mobile development.

#2 Application Size

There are two dimensions to application size: the download and the installation size and both of them are very important. When the user goes to download a new app, they see its size, and the larger it is, the bigger the chances of canceling the download are, not to mention the longer download time.

Flutter app size even for a very basic application is rather big. The minimum app size is around 4MB which is much more compared to Java or Kotlin.

What can you do to reduce the size of the Flutter application?

- Compress JPGs and PNGs;
- Use Google fonts;
- Use specific libraries;
- Use Proguard;
- Use the .svg format icon.

#3 Low Adoption of Dart

Undoubtedly, Dart programming language is a great and very fast programming language. However, its popularity still remains far behind such behemoths as JavaScript, Java, C#, etc. As a result, not many newly-coined developers choose Dart as their programming language so finding professionals for your project might be challenging.

Wrap Up

So, is Flutter good for app development? Our answer is definitely yes. Altogether advantages of Flutter outweigh its downsides. Framework’s high performance, dynamic code writing, easy MVP development, and beautiful designs make mobile app development for different platforms less problematic and time-consuming. What’s more, with Flutter development you are not compromising on app quality.

Give it a try. It’s definitely a revolution in cross-platform development.

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