A to Z of Flutter app development – the best guide for Entrepreneurs

A to Z of Flutter App Development - the best guide for Entrepreneurs

Cross-platform app development is one of the most promising new technology trends. Earlier, cross-platform app development was not preferred by many development companies as the performance of cross-platform apps was not as good as that of their native counterparts. With the emergence of cross-platform app development frameworks like Flutter and React Native, this scenario has changed rapidly.

Flutter is an SDK developed by Google which allows the best flutter developers to build beautiful applications for mobile, web, and embedded devices using a single codebase. The apps developed using Flutter deliver near-native performance and this is the reason why Flutter framework has gained high popularity amongst the app developer community. As a result, there has been an increasing rise in the requirement for Flutter experts. Hire flutter developers from professional app development service providers to get the best cross-platform app for your business.

Statistics for Flutter app development

Flutter grew even in the adverse conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic – this fact highlights the resilient nature of the SDK. In its Flutter spring 2020 update, Google announced that around 500,000 skilled mobile app developers use Flutter every month.

According to Google Trends, Flutter is the second most preferred language for mobile app development after React Native to develop cross-platform mobile apps. Today, the best mobile app development company has huge teams of expert developers for both these frameworks to take care of all the requirements of the business.

Statistics for Flutter app development

Even a stack overflow survey puts Flutter as the third most loved framework after .NetCore and torch.

Statistics for app development Frameworks

Around 2 million versatile mobile app developers have used Flutter since its release in 2018. Flutter has consistently gained praise from the developers’ community for being one of the best cross-platform app development frameworks to get your apps to build with a near-native experience. In this article, we will learn about the major aspects of Flutter app development. Let us start with some basics of Flutter app development.

An Overview – Flutter as Cross-Platform App Development Framework

Flutter is an open-source software development kit (SDK) that helps build cross-platform apps for mobile and web with near-native performance.

The beauty of Flutter is that it is a tool kit that can cater to all types of screens and devices. Google’s Flutter competes with other cross-platform app development frameworks like Facebook’s react native, the only suitable competitor by far.

Flutter has a massive collection of pre-built widgets, making it easier for the developers to prepare the design and layout of the mobile application.

Flutter app developers need not prepare separate codebases for iOS and Android apps as Flutter has a single code base for all the different platforms. Major organizations like Google, Alibaba, Groupon, and Square have used Flutter for their business app.

Flutter has two parts
The two parts are responsible for making flutter rise to fame in such a short time. The two parts are:

  • Software Development Kit – A Software Development Kit (SDK) is a collection of tools that help the developers in developing the application. It helps to build applications for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices from a single codebase.
  • UI elements or widgets – A framework is the collection of UI elements or widgets that help the flutter developers build the application’s front-end. The widgets or the UI elements make it easier to ensure uniformity in design across platforms.

Flutter is not a programming language, but it is a framework that helps professional flutter developers to build a mobile application. The programming language using which Flutter is built is Dart, which is also created by Google.

Advantages of Flutter app development

Advantages of Flutter

Each technology comes up with its own pros and cons. Google’s Flutter has many benefits. Here are some of the significant ones.

Cross-platform support

Google has created Flutter to help build near-native cross-platform apps for mobile, web, embedded, and desktop from a single codebase.

One of the prime concerns in cross-platform app development is that the look of the app changes on different operating systems. As Flutter uses the Skia rendering engine, the cross-platform apps built using Flutter would look the same on Android, iOS, mac OS, and Windows.

For top flutter developers, the cross-platform ability of Flutter can prove to be a boon as they do not have to build separate applications for Android and iOS.

Native-like performance

Normally the cross-platform mobile apps lack performance as compared to their native counterparts. But the apps built with Flutter are much better as the code allows the professional flutter developers to build apps which are truly native-like and do not require a JavaScript bridge-like in React Native framework to compile the code.

This feature of Flutter allows efficient flutter app developers to compile the code ahead of time and gives a full native-like performance on Android and iOS platforms without any lag or disruption.

Collection of Widgets

UI design in Flutter is straightforward as the framework provides a lot of ready-to-use widgets to the flutter developers.

The widgets are provided in two styles which are designed to conform to Android and iOS design guidelines.

The best UI/UX designers can define various stylistic components of the UI like fonts, menus, forms, colors, and buttons using widgets. They can even modify these results and form complex elements by combining these widgets.

There are two types of widgets in Flutter:

  • Stateful widgets
    Stateful widgets are those widgets whose state can be changed after they are built. The experienced flutter developers can alter the states multiple times using different inputs, data, and variables.
  • Stateless widgets
    Stateless widgets are those widgets whose state cannot be altered once they are built. The flutter app developers cannot change any variable, button, or retrieve data once the widget is built.

Flutter also provides the flexibility of developing custom widgets from scratch to the designers.

Hot reload in Flutter

Hot reloading is one of the best features of Flutter. Hot reload allows expert flutter app developers to inject the source code modifications directly into a running app. This ability of Flutter saves a lot of time as it helps the flutter developers avoid lengthy compilation processes which are more irritating when the developers need to apply small changes. Google says that the hot reloading ability of Flutter has a profound impact on the work of the flutter app development service providers around the world.

Google support

Flutter has the strong backing of the tech giant, Google, and this fact helps a lot in making Flutter the best choice for app development. Flutter not only helps versatile app developers build Android apps faster, but it also opens the door for the development of cross-platform applications. Google’s new OS, Fuchsia gains access to the library of Flutter-based apps and this is one of the major reasons why Google will keep investing in Flutter.

Fast time to market

Writing code for an Android app and then writing code for an iOS app all over again is a big-time eater in native app development. This way, the native app developers have to build a single app two times. While Flutter experts can considerably reduce the app’s delivery time as Flutter reuses the same code across different platforms.

Flutter’s ability to develop cross-platform apps helps the dedicated flutter developers reduce the time required for the app to reach the market. Businesses love it when their waiting time for their business app to reach the market is reduced by some days or months.

Higher quality in less testing

Using the Hot reloading feature of Flutter, helps the experienced flutter developers to spot code anomalies and bugs in real-time and fix it timely.

The hot reloading feature of Flutter helps in saving crucial time spent on testing the mobile app, expediting the time-to-market (TTM). As the flutter developers are able to fix bugs in real-time, it helps them to deliver a high-quality app that loads faster and performs better across various devices.

As with Flutter, the same app can be used for multiple platforms, the time and effort taken in testing multiple apps for different platforms gets reduced. As there is a single codebase, the skilled flutter app developers need to write code only once, and hence any major bugs sorted works for both the platforms making app development and testing more efficient.

Exquisite user experience by Flutter app

According to Google, the Flutter framework helps to develop apps with flexible and expressive UI. Remote Flutter app developers can build stunning user interfaces using a wide selection of reusable and customizable widgets that come with Flutter. The native capabilities of Flutter help deliver a seamless user experience to the user.

Development cost savings

Flutter is an open-source framework and this fact helps the flutter developers save licensing fees. Flutter helps the app developers build two or more apps using the same codebase which makes the project economical. The app owners can unlock significant return on investment (ROI) by choosing Flutter for their app development project requirement, as it simplifies the development process and reduces the app delivery time.

Our expert’s guide to estimating the cost of Flutter app development might be helpful to estimate the cost of developing an app using Flutter Framework more accurately.

Apps built with Flutter are faster

It is a well-known fact in the mobile app market that users uninstall apps that load slow. As a thumb rule, mobile app loading should not take more than 2 seconds else the users would lose interest in the app.

Mobile Apps built with Flutter are much faster to load, which means that the user will quickly engage with the app. One of the reasons why apps developed with Flutter load faster is that Flutter uses the Skia graphics library, a high-speed and mature open-source graphics library with a robust back-end. Skia redraws the UI every time the view changes, which results in quick loading of flutter apps. The Skia graphics library delivers up to 60fps, resulting in a fast and smooth experience for the users.

Same UI across devices, even old ones

It often happens that an app loses out on users who are using an old phone that is incompatible with the latest update. As technology progresses, old technology becomes obsolete and it is challenging to develop an app that caters to phones using the old operating systems before Android Jellybean and iOS 8. The beauty of Flutter is that it looks the same even on older devices which is a significant achievement as it opens the app to more users.

Good for startup MVP

MVP (minimum viable product) is the most basic version of an app that does not contain unnecessary features. MVP is an excellent way to test and assess the mobile app idea before investing more money and time into developing a full-featured app.

Flutter is the platform of choice for building an MVP and using Flutter allows flutter developers to build an efficient MVP in the most cost-effective way, Therefore, Flutter is the favorite SDK of startups for building MVPs.

International reach

Google has ensured that apps built with flutter have an international reach. In the era of globalization, it is very important for an app to have a global appeal. The developers need to build code to enable the app to run in different languages and regions. With Flutter this hassle is eliminated as the SDK provides widgets that simplify the process of internationalization.

Flutter supports more than 78 languages and a wide range of currencies, date formats, layout options(like for Arabic languages that are written from right to left), and units of measures.

High performance

Flutter Apps perform fast because of the fact that there is direct code compilation in Flutter as there are no JavaScript bridges involved. The speed of the app plays an important role in customer engagement and users would promptly uninstall an app that takes time to respond.

The dedicated app developer team of Flutter promises a constant performance of 60-120 fps which is the rate at which the modern screens can display a smooth picture. According to research, Flutter fared better on performance parameters as compared to React Native and Xamarin. Another research suggests that Flutter almost matches native app CPU usage.

Disadvantages of Flutter

Flutter has many pros but it also contains some cons as well. Here are a few of the shortcomings of using flutter.

Comparatively new technology

Flutter is a relatively new technology and hence it needs some time to catch up with the established frameworks. The range of libraries is still limited and the flutter app developers might require custom scripts to implement a few functions.

Heavy app size

The mobile apps built with Flutter tend to be quite bulky which might prove to be an issue for devices that cannot handle bulky applications.

Weak support for iOS features

There is a lack of quality support for iOS applications. While most of the SDK functions work well with Android, there are many problems with iOS. One problem is that of the deletion of EXIF data of photographs on Apple devices. Due to this bug, the photo is displayed in the wrong direction, and data like location and date is missing. Due to the limitations of Flutter, it is difficult to implement iOS special features like Captioning, Audio description, and VoiceOver.

No password manager support

There are issues with auto-complete input fields with Flutter apps. This issue creates problems when the app needs to implement password extraction from built-in third-party password managers.

Not so easy to find talent

Flutter developers need to learn a new skill set to develop apps using the Flutter framework as Flutter is a proprietary purpose-built language based on Dart. Many new programmers find Dart a difficult language to learn. This is the reason that the number of expert Flutter app developers is relatively small.

When to use and when not to use Flutter for app development?

Flutter offers a lot of benefits to flutter app developers and can prove to be an excellent tool for mobile app development and web app development. Right from small startups to big corporations like Google and Alibaba are using Flutter, a testament to the SDK’s versatility. This does not mean that Flutter is ok for all kinds of apps. Like everything, Flutter is helpful for some kinds of mobile apps and not beneficial for others, let us see it in detail.

When to Use Flutter

The creators of Flutter recommend using the SDK for developing 2D cross-platform mobile apps. According to them, Flutter works best with brand-first designs. Flutter lets the UI / UX designers build elegant and expressive user interfaces, hence wherever the aesthetic design is a priority Flutter can prove helpful.

  • Flutter helps finishing projects fast, and it can prove to be beneficial where the projects are bound by a tight deadline.
  • Flutter can prove to be the perfect platform for developing impressive MVPs.
  • Flutter can prove to be an excellent match for developing apps that focus on lifestyle products, health care, banking, and e-commerce.

When not to Use Flutter

  • Flutter won’t be the most appropriate platform to use when the app size is of concern as Flutter apps tend to be of large size. In many businesses that require apps for their backend purposes or for users who have limited storage space availability, it is required that the app size must be such that it requires less storage space.
  • Flutter is not useful for developing highly sophisticated apps that demand rear libraries and require extensive custom coding from app developers. Although Google has developed Flutter’s widget system in such a manner that it can be easily customized, it is not easy to add an entirely new set of features and modules in Flutter.

Flutter app development process

The process for flutter app development is the same as the process for developing any mobile app. To make it easier for you to track we have outlined the process below.

  • Discussing the project requirements
  • Wireframe development
  • Developing the app
  • Testing the app
  • Launching the app
  • Maintenance and updates

The flutter developers can build an efficient Flutter app by properly following the process.

Apps Developed using Flutter

Well-known Apps Developed using Flutter

There are a lot of large businesses that are using Flutter for developing their apps. Let us have a look at some of the most prominent apps developed using Flutter.

AlibabaOne of the world’s largest ECommerce companies, Alibaba has trusted Flutter, by choosing as the platform for developing the group’s second-largest online retail platform “Xianyu”.

The retail platform has more than 50 million downloads and Alibaba’s app developers have praised Flutter’s impressive UI/UX capabilities. Flutter’s speed and maintenance also made the app developers tilt in favor of Flutter.

HamiltonWhen Hamilton, the hit Broadway musical, wanted to develop an app with a rich feature set which was both elegant and fast, they chose to go with Flutter.

At first, the think-tanks at Hamilton thought about going with two native apps, but they dropped the idea because it was going to take too long to develop two separate mobile apps.

Flutter was the solution they wanted as it helped them build a rich app that was accessible by anyone on any device. A major advantage with Flutter was that the expert flutter development team was able to build the app in record time.

GrouponWhen Groupon wanted to revamp its merchant-facing app by extending payment data visualization functions, providing better campaign management from the app, and improving the voucher redemption experience, the company chose to go with Flutter.

The widgets that the company incorporated into its existing app helped Groupon bring all the features that they wanted to bring within record time.

The New York TimesThe New York Times had developed a popular puzzle game using Flutter known as “KenKen” which grew into a full-fledged app used by thousands of users.

ReflectlyReflectly is an award-winning mindfulness app that was switched to Flutter after their app development experts did not find react-native to be an apt platform for their app. The react native version was good enough for iOS, while it gave trouble to its Android users.

While the professional flutter developers hired made sure that the app developed using flutter was loved for the cross-platform consistency and high performance.

Conclusion

There are multiple reasons to build an app using Flutter. The continued growth of Flutter demonstrates the belief of the developer community. Top Mobile app development companies are building both enterprises as well as consumer apps using Flutter.

The continuous support of Google provides the necessary confidence to flutter developers to build their top apps using Flutter.

As discussed earlier, finding dedicated app developers who are well-versed in Flutter is a tedious task and hence it would be a good idea to hire Flutter experts that can help entrepreneurs develop mobile apps for their business using Flutter technology.

At Prismetric, we have more than a decade of experience in building state-of-the-art IT solutions for our clients worldwide. We would love to be a part of your journey of developing a world-class Flutter app.

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