The Definitive Guide to Flutter App Development

Dileep Gupta March 31, 2022

Flutter has become increasingly popular, establishing itself as the go-to framework for developing cross-platform mobile apps. It can be used to create intuitive and feature-rich apps for different operating systems while achieving native performance and visual consistency on different platforms.

Flutter also includes a hot reload feature, which automatically updates UI content when the code changes, allowing for smoother coding.

According to Statista, Flutter is the second most popular choice of cross-platform mobile framework used by developers worldwide. Another report by Google states that over 100,000 apps have been launched since the framework was first introduced.

These stats indicate the growing popularity of Flutter app development for both small and large-scale businesses.

But what is Flutter exactly and why do companies choose this technology over other cross-platform frameworks? Well, this is what we are going to review in this Flutter guide along with other aspects such as the cost of Flutter app development and its key benefits for businesses.

So, let’s dive in!

What is Flutter?

Released in May 2017, Flutter is a free and open-source mobile UI framework created by Google. It allows Flutter app developers to create a native mobile application with a single codebase.

This means you can use one programming language and one codebase to create two different apps (for Android and iOS).

Flutter consists of two important parts:

  • Software Development Kit (SDK): It is a collection of tools, including libraries, frameworks, and APIs, that helps create fully functioning applications.
  • Framework: It is a collection of reusable UI elements (buttons, sliders, and text inputs) that you can personalize for your own needs.

Flutter app development uses Google’s in-house language, Dart. It focuses on front-end development, increases developers’ productivity, and saves time.

Now that we have understood what Google Flutter is, let’s understand why Flutter app development is a great choice for your business.

Why should Businesses Choose Flutter App Development?

Flutter speeds up the app development process, reduces app development costs, and helps build an app with interactive designs and smooth animations. On that note, let’s check out the key benefits of Flutter and try to establish the reasons why you must use Flutter for cross-platform mobile app development for your business.

 benefits of Flutter

Cross-platform support: The first obvious reason to consider Flutter is its ability to develop natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. In the case of mobile app development, Flutter is used to build applications that work both on Android and iOS. This saves time and reduces the headache typically associated with developing two apps simultaneously.

Quicker time to market: Since Flutter uses a single code across two target platforms, it takes less time to create an application. This means that compared to other programming languages and frameworks, apps developed using Flutter programming language enter the market earlier and attract users on Android and iOS alike.

Cost-efficient: Building one codebase instead of two is an obvious advantage. You can save fortunes due to a shortened mobile app development cycle, fewer developers, as well as reduced complexity. As a result, you will be launching two apps for Android and iOS faster and on a smaller budget.

Top-notch user experience: Flutter enables the creation of flexible and expressive UI. The wide selection of widgets allows developers to create stunning user interfaces. Also, the native capabilities of Flutter facilitate the top-notch performance of the apps and seamless user experience.

Google guaranteed: Apps built with Dart and Flutter get years-long support from Google as they use the technology itself. You can be guaranteed that Google will continue releasing new versions, fix bugs, and contribute to the Flutter technology as much as they can. Google is already using Flutter in several new projects, such as Google Fuschia, which is proof that this technology will be around for a long time.

International reach: Companies planning to launch in international markets will be happy to know that Flutter for enterprise apps offers localization support for over 20 languages. The SDK also simplifies internationalization with built-in units, currencies, dates, and other in-built functions that make it easy to localize your app’s software.

Best suited for MVP: Using Flutter for app development can help display your MVP to the investors. MVPs are basic app versions with essential features that are easy to build and launch. They help test the concept and collect the first feedback to make a better app in the next iteration. Also, due to Flutter’s compatibility with Firebase, developers don’t require separate backends for building simple MVP. Hence, Flutter for MVP development is the ideal choice if you don’t want to spend fortunes.

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Real-world Examples of Flutter

The popularity of Flutter app development is constantly growing. More and more startups and brands have started to realize its potential. Top companies like Alibaba, Hamilton, and Postmuse have already leveraged Flutter to build innovative apps.

Real-world Examples of Flutter

On that note, here are a few popular and interactive apps that are built using Flutter:

Xiyanu By Alibaba

Alibaba leveraged the power of Flutter into its shopping platform Xiyanu. Alibaba chose Flutter because of its excellent design and development features as well as how easy it is to use for developers. Xianyu is now used by more than 50+ million users regularly to buy and sell millions of products.

Google Ads

Google Ads is an essential tool for those looking to manage their ad campaigns on the go. You can market your services better and attract more customers with Google Ads. The app is both intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.

Reflectly

It helps you journal your thoughts in one place in an orderly manner. Reflectly was originally built using React Native. However, they soon shifted to the Flutter UI framework once they realized they could code at once for Android and iOS. This reduced the delivery time and helped overcome the problems faced with its React Native counterpart.

Postmuse

Postmuse is a story editing app providing loads of stunning templates to choose from. Flutter enhanced the design of the app along with superior performance.

Hamilton

Hamilton is the official app for the hit American Broadway musical, showcasing everything related to Hamilton. Flutter app builder helped Hamilton improve the quality and consistency of their app.

Types of Applications Built Using Flutter

Since its launch, Flutter has been used to develop several types of intuitive mobile applications for both Android and iOS, without the additional cost of building separate codebases. So, if you’re a startup, without significant resources to pour into app development, Flutter is something you should consider.

Applications Built Using Flutter

Here are some of the most fitting kinds of applications that you can build with Flutter.

Gaming apps: High performance is vital for the success of an app, especially for the gaming industry. Games need to run smoothly, otherwise, users will become frustrated and leave your app. Flutter mobile app development is a great choice for building a high-performance gaming app as it performs faster than other frameworks. It also helps to apply innovative AR features to the app.

For instance, PI Ultimate is a popular game built using Flutter. It is a great game for those who love mathematics and solving puzzles.

On-demand apps: On-demand applications are undoubtedly one of the popular markets for the creation of apps. These apps connect customers with different service providers and vice-versa. Just like Uber does for cabs and Zomato for food delivery. Flutter framework can be used to build on-demand apps as it provides native-like performance, exceptional design, and a great user interface.

For instance, Xianyu by Alibaba is a popular name in the e-commerce market. It is one of the best apps built with Flutter that connects buyers and sellers.

[Also Read: On-Demand Services Mobile App: Beneficial for Both Buyers and Sellers]

Photo editing apps: The Flutter UI framework allows you to create photo editing apps with an intuitive interface. With more and more people signing up on Instagram and other social media platforms, getting a tool to make your photos more beautiful is a must-have. And Flutter is exactly the tool to use to build a photo-editing app with innovative features.

Now that we have seen the types of apps built using Flutter, we will do a thorough comparison between Flutter and React Native – the two most popular frameworks – to understand which one is better for your business.

Flutter vs React Native – Which is Better?

Both Flutter and React Native are powerful choices for cross-platform app development frameworks. Each has its unique functionalities and features. Keep reading to find out about the two app development frameworks and their most distinct features.

Programming language

React Native utilizes JavaScript for building cross-platform apps. This makes it extremely easy for web developers to get started with their mobile app development journey.

With Flutter, you have to use Dart, the language introduced by Google in 2011. Dart uses a number of object-oriented concepts that developers might not be familiar with. However, they are fairly easy to learn and get started with.

Configuration and setup

The setup process of Flutter is much easier and more straightforward in comparison to React Native. Flutter comes with the provision of automated checkup of system problems, something which React Native misses to a great extent.

Performance

The Flutter application is more performant as compared to React Native. Flutter is written in Dart language, which allows compiling a code quicker than JavaScript. Moreover, it displays animations at 60 fps as a standard. As a rule, all Flutter apps have a high performance by default.

Architecture

React Native enables communication between JavaScript and the native language via the JavaScript bridge. Flutter, on the other hand, uses the Dart framework that does not necessarily require a bridge for communicating with native modules. It has everything packed within itself, including frameworks like Cupertino and Material Design. So, Flutter apps are more stable and predictable on different platforms than React Native apps.

User interface

React Native taps into native Android and iOS components with the help of custom components. The prominent advantage is that React Native has lots of ready-made components to use as building blocks. However, React Native components can behave differently on different platforms.

Flutter has UI widgets packaged within itself, which means creating native-like applications is easy. There’s no need to search for third-party libraries. Besides, Flutter apps are consistent across all platforms.

[Also Read: How much does React Native app development cost?]

When to Choose Flutter for App Development?

While both Flutter and React Native are popular frameworks, let us  discuss a few cases when using Flutter will be the best choice for app development.

When you want a complex user interface: With Flutter, you can build complex and impressive UIs with ease, and it won’t impact the app performance. So, if what you’re working on needs some impressive work when it comes to the interface, Flutter should be the way to go.

When you need to create your app fast: With the Flutter UI framework, you can build the application extremely fast. Not only is it a cross-platform SDK but also has the builder tool and lots of UI widgets that can be used. This results in fast code writing, fast testing, and fast issue-fixing.

When you need excellent app performance: Unlike React Native, Flutter doesn’t use a JavaScript bridge, therefore, it is much faster and performs better. Apps developed with Flutter are proven to perform better without any lags. If speed and performance are your priority, then build your application with Flutter.

How to Get Started with Flutter?

Flutter framework is a great choice for projects impacted by a tight budget and time constraints. You can also use the Flutter app builder when aesthetic design and seamless UX are your top priority. But in case, you’re still unsure of where and how to get started with Flutter, below are some key points to consider that will help you in your Flutter mobile app development journey:

Get Started with Flutter

Conduct market research: Before you start building your Flutter app, it’s crucial to do in-depth market research to obtain valuable insights into the current market scenario and competitors. It helps you understand the various strategies used and mistakes made by your competitors. You can learn from those mistakes and come up with a better strategy.

Know your target audience: When building a Flutter app, it’s important to know your target audience. It will help you decide on the feature list for your minimum viable product (MVP). If you know exactly what users need in the first place, it will be easier to put unnecessary features to the backlog and focus on what matters.

You can also take feedback and opinions from users to know what they are looking for. Align your objectives with your users’ demands, and there would be nothing that would stop your app. In this way, you can get more app installations.

Choose the right flutter development company: A mobile app development company plays a significant role in making your app user-friendly, aesthetic and intuitive. It is important that the company you choose has a sound knowledge of delivering excellent app designs to provide the best customer experience. The mobile app developers must build the Flutter app in such a way that the user can perform its designated functions without any assistance.

Build MVP: It is essential to test your Flutter application on target devices before it is out in the market. MVP is a version of your app which only consists of the most crucial features. It will allow you to understand if the app will be successful or not. For a successful MVP development, hire a product development agency that can guide you through the entire process.

So, these were a few points that will help you get started with Flutter and make your app development journey seamless.

Challenges with Flutter App Development

While Flutter technology has a lot of benefits to offer to businesses, there are some areas in which it still needs work.

Lack of third-party libraries: As Flutter is a relatively new technology, the availability of third-party libraries is currently limited. Third-party libraries help speed up the development process, so this is definitely a downside of developing apps with Flutter.

Large file size: Flutter apps are quite large and heavy to start with. They take longer to download or update and occupy a large amount of space.

For example: The creation of a hello world app in Flutter occupies space of 4.7MB to 6.7MB. The same app created in native Java requires 500KB.

New skills required: While Flutter is easy to learn and use, it does require Flutter developers to learn Dart first. This requires an additional phase of learning, which can increase the time and money for any project. That being said, if a developer knows Java/C#, they can easily learn Dart.

What is the Cost of Flutter App Development?

The app development cost using Flutter depends on several factors – complexity of features, supported platforms, location of Flutter developers, and more. We will single out all the factors one by one and analyze their impact on the price.

Complexity of features

Features are the main factor that influences the Flutter app development cost. Simple features such as log in take minimal effort and require minimal development cost. In contrast, the integration of video calls may take up to 2-3 weeks of the development time, and the costs will go up radically. The more complex the feature, the more time and cost are required for the development.

Location of developers

The location of the development team and flutter app development company also influences the cost of Flutter app development a lot. In different regions, Flutter app developers have different rates. For instance, North American developers typically charge the highest rates per hour, followed by Australia and Western Europe.

Asian countries such as India usually offer Flutter app development services at cheaper rates. This is one of the crucial reasons why entrepreneurs choose the outsourcing approach for their Flutter app projects.

Here’s a map showing per hour development cost in different regions –

Map-showcasing-geography-wise-per-hour-development-cost

App Design

Users love apps that have an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing user interface. The more intuitive and user-friendly the design is, the more users would connect with the app at a personal level. However, this connection comes at a higher development cost. For instance, if you create a gaming app, adding high-definition graphics and animations will increase the cost of designing the application.

App Maintenance

The cost to develop a Flutter app also factors in the costs of updates and maintenance of the application. Once you create an app, you will have to constantly update it to meet the changing demands of users. Also, it’s important to make changes in design once in a while to ensure that your app continues to look impressive to the customers. As a general principle, companies keep 15-20% as the cost of Flutter app maintenance in their pricing list.

Platforms

Once the Flutter app is created, the next step is to publish on suitable platforms. App Store and Play Store are arguably the two most preferred platforms for uploading apps. These platforms, however, charge a fee.

  • Google Play – $25 one time fee
  • App Store – $99 annually

In addition to this, both the stores charge 30% of the share for every in-app purchase your application makes.

So, all these factors come together to answer the cost of Flutter app development services that you would have to incur for your app project.

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Final Thoughts!

The current app development market is extremely competitive! In order to make a new app stand out within a limited budget, the product should be extraordinary enough to drive the attention of the customers.

If you are launching your startup app, Flutter is the platform to choose as it allows you to develop user-friendly apps across multiple platforms in a cost-effective way. Unlike other platforms, Flutter app developers create apps with a smooth UI for their users.

Flutter is bound to transform the cross-platform app development industry with its capabilities to emboss customization and expedite the app development process. In case you need help with Flutter app development, contact us and turn your idea into a successful project.

Flutter App Development FAQs

Q. Is Flutter good for app development?

A. Yes, Google UI framework Flutter is definitely a good choice for app development as it offers high-performance apps with a native feel and speed.

Q. How much does it cost to develop a Flutter app?

A. The cost to develop a Flutter app depends on several factors such as the complexity of the app, location of the Flutter mobile app development company, app design, etc. On average, the cost may range from $20,000 to $150 000.

Q. How does Flutter reduce the cost of application development?

A. Flutter app development services come with a number of cost-saving factors like a single codebase, low maintenance timeline, low developmental effort, etc. All these factors come together to get its cost range down to a huge extent.

Q. Is Flutter better than React Native?

A. Talking about Flutter vs React Native, Google UI framework Flutter performs better than React Native with 220 ms vs. 229 ms launch time. React Native is based on JavaScript, the most used and known programming language. Besides that, both of them are effective tools for cross-platform app development.

Q. How much time does it take to build a Flutter app?

A. The average time taken to develop a mobile app using Flutter is 4 to 6 months. It can even extend to a year, depending on the complexity and functionalities of the app.

Dileep Gupta
THE AUTHOR
Dileep Gupta
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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