With the ongoing push for more digitally enabled systems across businesses in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for mobile app development is surging. But, when it comes to cross-platform app development, one framework is always a discussion point among developers- Flutter. The reason for such popularity is simple- ease of development, higher performance, and bug-free apps.
According to Statista, a 2020 developers survey shows that Flutter is the second most popular framework after React Native with 39%. Flutter is also one of the most popular open-source frameworks in the developer community.
Github data also suggests that Flutter has a collection of one of the most trending repositories among other open-source frameworks. The best thing about Flutter is that Google develops it on Dart programming language.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a cross-platform framework for mobile and web applications development that is open-sourced and works on Dart. It is known for its widget-based frontend development that offers unique tools.
With the latest version, 1.22.0, there are many new tweaks to this framework like,
- Viewport Prevention for scrolling
- Automatic scaling down of Dialog padding
- Autofill for dynamic content
- Text scaling for material designs
Top benefits of choosing Flutter for mobile app development
#1. Delivery On the Fly
With Flutter, you can deliver the changes and tweak in your source code on the fly with a hot reloading feature. You can also invoke hot reload, which allows the host machine to check for edited or tweaked source code since last compilations, and recompile,
- Libraries with code changes
- The main library of the app
- Main libraries affected due to changes in the associated libraries.
The new recompiled source code is then sent to the Dart Virtual Machine for loading the tweaked libraries. Flutter enables hot reloading to update classes for more recent versions of fields and functions. It also rebuilds and re-layouts the entire widget tree for an app for developers to quickly visualize the changes in the interface.
#2. Open Source Bliss
Flutter is an open-source framework from Google, and that is why using this for mobile app development becomes fruitful. Google has been active in updating the framework with tools and features that make mobile app development more advanced. For example, with the 1.17 version, Flutter got material design support in the iOS environment, making it an excellent framework for developing iPhone apps.
#3. One Codebase
Flutter offers a single codebase for you to use across platforms and operating systems. It helps you reduce the time of development and even the cost by reducing the number of resources you need to deploy apps for different platforms.
The virtualization feature with the widget tree in Flutter helps you create a fantastic user interface that works well with native environments. For example, you are developing a mobile application for iOS and create a source code; the same can work with Android. So, you don’t need to code for two different platforms.
#4. Faster MVP
Minimum Viable Product is one of the essential parts of any business looking to benefit from an iterative cycle. Flutter enables faster iteration developments for the MVP approach by leveraging the reusability of code. As there is only one codebase for different platforms, creating newer versions and deploying them becomes faster.
#5. Collaborative Framework
With the code-sharing feature, Flutter helps the collaboration of developers and designers across the platforms. This makes it easier for you to work in close grip with your native development teams. It also enables MVP development in collaboration and creates cross-platform iterations at the same time.
What are popular apps made with Flutter?
Google Stadia is a game streaming platform built on Flutter SDK. However, Flutter technology was used only for the mobile app prototype of the Stadia platform.
Another Google product that used Flutter technology is the Google Ads app. The app has some fantastic features like campaign management alerts and editing current campaigns powered by the Flutter framework.
Tencent & Alibaba
Tencent created a shared device experience between users with multi-platform support by using the Flutter framework. Similarly, Alibaba introduced a single tap feature for their apps with the Flutter.
BMW & eBay
BMW used Flutter to develop its auto interfaces and create a better user experience. Another significant usage of Flutter technologies can be seen by eBay that made an Artificial Intelligence(AI) based autoML for their eBay motors.
Now that you know what flutter is and why it is so popular among business giants, let’s see some unique tools to use with Flutter.
Top tools to use for Flutter app development
Image Source: https://www.supernova.io/
Supernova is a design-to-code tool that you can use with the Flutter framework. It allows you to convert your designs on AdobeXD or Sketch into native code of mobile OS platforms like iOS or Android. Supernova enables you to change code on the fly and help with asset creation.
Image source: https://rxlabz.github.io/panache
Panache is a browser-based editor that allows you to customize themes in Flutter. It helps developers to tweak colors and different components of widgets. You can simply export all your custom themes through the theme.dart file.
Image Source: https://codemagic.io/
When you are developing a mobile app, one of the biggest challenges is integrating new features while keeping the delivery intact. Here, Codemagic helps you with CI/CD (Constant Integration/Constant Delivery) in Flutter. It helps with the automation of development activities on Flutter like build, test, and release.
Instabug can help you with all the necessary insights for your app. For example, it provides real-time data on bugs, feature requests, crash reports, and other surveys. You can install Instabug’s Flutter SDK in your app and allow users to report the bugs without leaving the application.
Image Source: https://appetize.io/
Flutter is the future of mobile app development, as it is an open-source community backed by Google. The developers’ community is snowballing the framework’s progress, and the new features by Flutter are making it an extremely attractive option for mobile app development.
From the hot reloading to greater virtualization and better CI/CD, Flutter offers many options to develop advanced mobile apps.
Author Bio – Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform – a dedicated team of a mobile development company in Atlanta. He leads large scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him to discuss the best practices of software methodologies @hsshah_.