What Makes Flutter Ideal For Cross-Platform App Development?
Originally published October 26th, 2018, updated August 22th, 2019.
For mobile app development iOS and Android are the two main platforms. Each of these platforms needs different types of coding for application development. This situation has come as a problem for mobile app development companies which has given rise to the use of cross-platform development.
Gone are the days when developers had to sweat double in order to create an app for app development platforms. Now, creating an app with one-time coding is possible, thanks to cross-platform mobile development,
Cross platform app development is the development of mobile applications in such a way that they can be run on various platforms. In this type of development, programming is done only once and in such a way that the app is supported by Android, iOS or Windows. Cross-platform development has become quite popular because of its features and tools which are loved by developers.
Some popular tools that cross-platform development provides are Xamarin by Microsoft, React Native by Facebook and PhoneGap from Adobe. Each of these cross-platform development tools has different features along with pros and cons. Developers are always looking for something new and improved to make cross-platform app development time saving and efficient processes.
This constant improvement in technology gave birth to Flutter. Flutter was launched by Google in February 2018 at an event. Ever since Flutter was introduced to the public it has been praised by developers for its proficiency and efficaciousness in cross-platform app development . However, a debate of Flutter vs React Native is always going on among developers since the time it launched. Now let’s dive deeper to understand Flutter, its pros , and cons and what is in the future, along with establishing it as one of the astounding cross-platform mobile development tools.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a software development kit and an astounding cross-platform app development tool, introduced by Google. It uses Dart language for programming. Flutter was launched in 2018 with the features that were missing in the previous cross-platform development tools. Apps built with Flutter can be run on Android, iOS and Google Fuchsia which is another app development platform developed by Google.
Flutter is being used by developers which proves that there is something unique in it that hasn’t been around before. The developers at Google had been working rigorously on this before general use. Here are the things they worked on:
- Ability to support more Firebase APIs
- Has its own tools
- Bug fixes
- Improved documentation
- Support windows development
- Enhanced engine performance
- Tools for Android Studio and Visual Studio Code
- Support different languages i.e internationalizing
- Accessibility for all types of developers
- Additional features like inline videos, charts and ads
What is Flutter Good for?
Ever since Flutter has become famous, this question has been making rounds. Before deciding to build a Flutter mobile application, people want to know which type of development it supports and does not support. Flutter is not the choice for you if you are developing:
- Instant or Progressive Web Apps – These type of apps need to be small and apps built with Flutter, on the other hand, are larger than native apps.
- Apps that need uncommon native libraries – Flutter is new and it does not have all the native libraries in its repository so if any uncommon native library is demanded by an app, it can complicate the process. In that case, developers will have to add custom-made platform channels which is definitely going to take time.
- Applications communicating to hardware via bluetooth – This feature can be built separately for both Android and iOS and then added to the Flutter app. However, this might be time-consuming.
Developing an app with Flutter
We did reveal the real Google strategy behind Flutter in our previous blog. Moreover, Flutter has been around long enough to provide the impeccable user experience. The exponential popularity of cross-platform development encouraged developers to build apps with this framework. Now, there is a sea of flutter-based apps out there, served with proficient flutter development services. Some use cases of flutter include app developed by Google is Adwords app which tracks the advertising reach and buys Alibaba app by Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce company. Another examples are Watermaniac, Hookle, Coach Yourself, Reflectly, and many more.
From an app owner’s view, developing an app with Flutter is fast and less costly. There are other advantages of using Flutter for app development.
- Hot reload – Whatever changes are made on the application is immediately visible to the developers and that makes the process easy and less time-consuming. Hot reload allows developers to quickly change anything that doesn’t look or fit perfectly in the app. This also allows developers and designers to collaborate better. However, the changes may take several minutes to reload.
- Perfect for MVP – Flutter is the best option if you are looking to build quickly to show it to your prospective investors. It takes less time and built native looking application for both iOS and Android. This will let your investors see what your MVP looks like and you will not waste time developing apps for two different platforms.
- Less coding – Flutter uses Dart programming language which is an object-oriented programming language. It does not need to code an entirely new programme if any changes are made because it allows hot reload. Flutter is slightly similar to react native so it is reactive and declarative.
- Cross-platform development – Flutter is a cross-platform development tool. In this, coding is done only once and then the same code can be used in another platform as well. Also, Flutter is the only access to development in Google’s Fuchsia platform. With Fuchsia developer portal now live, developers are trying their hands on it. Looking at its reception so far, it is said to replace Android in the future, which is precisely the strategy of Google behind Flutter.
- Widgets – Flutter app development has the advantage of having many widgets that are natural looking, fast and customization. Widgets are necessary for an app because that’s what makes the apps interesting. Flutter has a wide range of amazing widgets that perform well and can be customized as per the need. The widgets are unified for all platforms and layouts.
- Different themes – Most of the time, the themes of the same app are different for iOS and Android. The difference is not in the theme color and design but more than that. Flutter allows to put in different themes while coding for both the platforms. Take a look at the image below and see how the theme data is set for target platform iOS.
- Limited to mobile only – To build an app with Flutter means to build an app only for mobile. Flutter is still not available for web browsers. This can majorly impact your decision on the development platform. If you are looking for maximum flexibility then maybe Flutter is not the right choice.
- Few libraries – Flutter does have libraries but not a wide range of it. The most common ones that Google decided to include are available but many useful libraries are still unavailable. If a developer wants to use any of the unavailable libraries, he will have to build it on his own which is a time taking process.
- No TV support – Even though Flutter development is supported in both iOS and Android mobiles yet it is not available for Apple TV or Android TV.
- No CI support yet – Other platforms sure do allow continuous integration support like Jenkins and Travis to the iOS and Android apps but Flutter does not. There are other ready-made solutions instead of these CI platforms but to use that developers will have to set up toolkits.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Flutter Mobile Application?
It takes 50% less time to build an app with Flutter as compared to building apps separately for Android and iOS. According to the mobile app development guide on how much does an app development cost that we wrote recently, the cost of an app depends on the hours it takes to build it. To build an app with Flutter that works both on iOS and Android, it takes about 250 hours. On the other hand, it takes 400 hours to build the same app for iOS and 250 hours for Android.
To determine the flutter mobile app development cost, just multiply the hours taken to build the app with the hourly charge of an app developer. A Flutter app development company, however, has its own price range for its flutter application development services. It usually ranges between $15,000 to $40,000.
It is seen that the hours taken for Flutter app development is low hence it will save money. So if you want to save money and built an app in less time then Flutter is a great choice.
What is the Future of Flutter?
Often a compromise is made between quality and productivity while developing separate apps for iOS and Android. But Google decided to remove this issue and introduced Flutter as a cross-platform development tool.
Flutter has just entered the app development industry and has already seen a lot of fame. The future seems to be bright for Flutter. Google also launched Flutter 1.7 with added new features and functions such as Rangeslider, 64-bit support, typography features, game controller support and so on. There is no denying that it is certainly more powerful than the previous Flutter 1.5 and 1.6 versions. Flutter has a lot of potential in the industry and if it is able to bridge the gap between quality and productivity then it sure is going to take over the app development world.
Flutter app development platform is still in the development phase which can be a risk but it shouldn’t take Google long to launch a stable version of the framework. Flutter has an official website where you can find all about Flutter.
This was our take, as a Flutter app development company, on the newly launched Flutter for cross-platform development. If you wish to know about our development process for android and ios cross-platform development within this framework or want to gain insight into our cross-platform app development services, get in touch with us today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do you make a flutter app?
The very first step in the process of making a flutter app for your business model is to hire the best flutter app development company, which has the experience in this field and is trustworthy. Moreover, you need to make sure to calculate flutter Mobile app development cost before taking any solid decision.
2. How do you make cross-platform apps?
With the growing technology, many cross-platform mobile app development tools have also emerged to facilitate the whole development process. Software and mobile application development kit, such as Flutter, is the most effective way to develop a remarkable mobile app.
3. What programming language does flutter use?
Flutter uses the Dart programming language to create rudimentary codes and essentially the base for any cross-platform app.
4. Which framework can be used to develop cross-platform applications?
From the myriad of frameworks, the best ones to use for cross-platform development are Xamarin, React Native, and Phonegap.
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