Flutter has been growing quickly in popularity within the mobile app development community, and for good reason. At Omnisource, we’ve embraced Flutter as an ideal solution for some cross platform app development scenarios, and Flutter development is a service we’re proud to offer.
Wondering why Flutter has become so popular, so quickly? Good question! Here’s what you need to know.
Flutter is a cross platform framework for developing apps across multiple operating systems and platforms, including mobile, web, Windows, Linux and macOS — all from a single codebase. It was developed by Google and has been released as an open-source technology that anyone can access for free.
But what exactly does it mean to be a cross-platform development framework? In short, it’s a way of developing apps that behave consistently across platforms (like Android and iOS) — without building separate apps from scratch.
If your business needs to develop a mobile app and wants to offer that app via both Android and iOS, you have essentially two options.
One is to build your app twice, once natively for Apple and once natively for Android. This approach (called native app development) works, but it is literally double the work (if not more).
Worse, it requires either one team that can develop natively in two ecosystems, or it requires separate specialists, whom you somehow have to get to work together to create similar outcomes.
Another approach is to use a cross-platform framework that uses a single codebase. This approach is often much more attractive, especially to smaller teams, startups, freelancers, and so forth. In theory, this approach allows you to build your app once, and then the framework does the additional work to turn that code into workable apps with usable UIs across devices and operating systems.
Often there are some trade-offs when you build cross-platform: native app development is harder, but it’s also more robust and feature-rich.
At least, that was true until Flutter. Flutter changes the game completely, giving you near-native level quality in a framework that’s extremely intuitive and friendly to use.
Flutter is a newer innovation: it’s been around since 2017. It’s two years newer than Facebook’s React Native, another well-known cross-platform framework. As a result, the community of developers (and available documentation) for Flutter is smaller than for React Native. Still, Flutter is growing quickly in terms of popularity and adoption.
Simply stated, Flutter has become a top choice because it just works so well. Sure, it may be a little harder to learn. But for teams like ours who have already learned it, Flutter is deeply powerful.
Its UI SDK is powerful, allowing developers to render gorgeous user interfaces that conform to either Material Design or Cupertino, the design guidelines of Google and Apple, respectively.
In Flutter, your codebase is consistent across platforms. The only part that changes is the UI, which developers build using widgets within Flutter.
Another reason Flutter software outperforms the competition is the way it manages pixel rendering. Unlike lesser cross-platform solutions, Flutter manages the entire screen, down to the last pixel, generating beautiful and consistent looks no matter the age or size of the device.
Like any development technology, Flutter has its own unique set of strengths or advantages. These are some of the main advantages to Flutter app development.
By not having to design custom native apps for every platform you want a presence on, you’ll save time, energy and headaches. (Oh, and money!)
If you know what you’re looking for, it’s often easy to spot a cross-platform app. Some elements just won’t look or act quite right. But not with Flutter. Flutter software gives you cross platform app development with beautiful interfaces that look nearly indistinguishable from native.
Similar to the previous point, cross-platform apps have a reputation for being slow and clunky, since they aren’t actually optimized for each platform. But Flutter handles code differently. It’s actually using a single codebase, which essentially gets “skinned” into whichever OS or platform it’s running on.
The result? Near-native performance that far outpaces other leading cross-platform solutions like React Native.
The Flutter software allows for much faster development times, for multiple reasons. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s just way faster to build a single codebase as opposed to two (or more).
Flutter also has a Hot Reload function, where developers can load in new changes and see them implemented in near real-time, without lengthy reloads or recompiles.
These are just two of the ways that Flutter leads to faster development. And what does faster development do for you? It lowers your time to market and gets you to your goals sooner.
To recap the advantages of Flutter: for the right project, Flutter lets you do more, faster, easier—without sacrificing performance, UI, or aesthetics.
Flutter isn’t right for every project. 3D games and advanced apps relying on 3D objects aren’t well suited for Flutter. Also, some apps that rely on deep (or the latest) OS integrations might be better suited for native development. Flutter adds these integrations, but rarely on day 1 of a new OS release.
That said, Flutter is good for quite a lot of projects, including projects of increasing complexity as the platform matures. Flutter is the best option in the market for MVP (minimum viable product) and POC (proof of concept) workflows, and it’s also one of the best for “needy” UIs with high user interactivity.
Google has built several of its own apps in Flutter, including Google Pay and Google Ads. Alibaba and eBay Motors are other Flutter-based apps, and even WeChat is using Flutter to develop many of its sub-apps.
Flutter is our go-to for many types of apps, but we still make the case-by-case decision based on our clients’ needs and objectives. Sometimes native is better, and rarely another cross-platform framework might make sense.
If your business is looking to develop a new app, you need the right partner. If cross-platform in general (or Flutter specifically) sounds like the right approach for you, our team of developers is ready to help you create a top-shelf app experience that helps you meet your goals and objectives.Ready to learn more? Let’s start a conversation.