Flutter – Google’s recent innovation for mobile, web, and desktop apps

July 18, 2019

Flutter is Google's SDK for building high quality native experiences for Android and iOS. It is also the chosen SDK that Refresh uses in our mobile app development projects.

Flutter is a SDK (Software Development Kit) developed by Google that assists in quickly developing mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Flutter will also serve as a SDK for the development of apps on top of Google Fuchsia which is an operating system currently in development by Google which has the potential to run on desktops, mobile devices, info-tainment systems for cars, and embedded devices like traffic lights, and digital watches.

Flutter has been adopted quickly by the app development community, and the distribution rate of Flutter on the Google Play store and Apple App store is expanding rapidly. BMW has recently announced it’s Flutter app and Reflectly  – a mindfulness app – has described their success with Flutter.

Some of the Advantages of Flutter

  • Rapid app development – Flutter has a feature called “Hot re-load” which means while coding your app, the changes are seen in real-time without the need to recompile each time you make a change. This makes development fun again with immediate feedback provided to a developer and no time wasted waiting for software to compile. This means faster bug fixes, and more experimentation! It also makes Flutter an ideal tool for developing a minimum viable product.
  • Faster App responses – As Flutter compiles to native code, apps are much faster and responsive without any hanging or stuttering. Scrolling and animations are smooth and seamless.
  • Cross-platform – This means that Flutter uses the same code-base for both Android and iOS apps, which means you develop once for both platforms. Flutter also recently announced support for web apps, so your mobile app can be easily converted to a desktop browser based app.
  • Free & Open source – Being open source, Flutter will have contributions from the app community which can rapidly speed up app development, and assist with wide ranged support.
  • Flutter has it’s own widgets – These are interface elements (Such as drop-downs, popups, buttons) that are pre-designed and ready for use for both Android and iOS. These look and feel great in any app. Flutter supports Google Material design and Cupertino for iOS.
  • Flutter uses Dart – All widgets are written in the Dart language so for a hybrid app you only need to know Dart to modify or write your own widgets.
  • Flutter is supported by Google – This means more integration with Google services such as Google Firebase. (You could use Firebase as the backend for example) and hopefully a decent number of staff at Google supporting the projects.
  • Flutter is the SDK for Fuchsia – When the Google operating system Fuchsia is finally officially released, Flutter will be used as the SDK. This is massively exciting as the Fuchsia OS can be used on desktops, mobile devices, info-tainment systems for cars, and embedded devices like traffic lights and digital watches.

Flutter disadvantages

  • Libraries and support – As Flutter is fairly recent (Released in 2018) there are not always libraries available for all the functionalities required, leading to more development time for apps with a very specific function. This will improve as the platform is more widely adopted.
  • App Bundle size – The app bundle size is slightly bigger than a Native app when downloaded from the App stores. Hopefully this is something that will be resolved.

In conclusion, we feel at Refresh that Flutter has many advantages to creating beautiful, high performance mobile apps in record time. Feel free to contact us about how we can assist in creating your app in Flutter. To get an idea of the cost range of your app, please have a look at our app costing structure here.

 

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