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Hackernoon logoShould you use Flutter for mobile app development? by@samaira-sandberg

Should you use Flutter for mobile app development?

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@samaira-sandbergSamaira Sandberg

Independent IT consultant, 15+ yrs exp, blogger, tech geek, Supermom

Flutter is the newest mobile app SDK from the house of Google, intended to make cross-platform app development easier than ever before. Since it’s preview release at the Google I/O 2018 and its stable release recently, Flutter development has generated a lot of hype among developers and businesses alike.

But the question now is- Is this the right time to implement flutter for mobile app development?

By the way, you could also refer to this list of top mobile app development companies if your choice involves choosing a partner for building a mobile app.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a cross-platform mobile app development SDK for building apps for both Android & iOS operating systems. It is a set complete with a framework, widgets and all the tools a developer would require to build an attractive & functional mobile app.

The key features of Flutter development:

1. Flutter development is completely open-source and of course, its free!

2. It is based on the Dart programming language, which is new, but really easy to learn and get started with.

3. Flutter also as auto reload feature similar to that in React Native (called Hot Reload), which allows developers to view real-time changes in output simultaneously while changing the code itself. 

4. The UI components in Flutter facilitate building of visually attractive apps for both Android & iOS operating systems.

5.Flutter comes with material design widgets for android app development, and Cupertino widgets for iOS app development. 

Advantages with Flutter development for mobile apps

1. Faster Coding with Hot Reload

As mentioned above, Hot Reload in flutter development allows developers to see the real-time changes in output of their code whilst they are making changes to it. For developers, it reduces the hassle of reloading. For managers, designers and businesses, this means efficiency in the development process and ability to make on-the-spot changes.

2. A cross-development platform built for design

Flutter is built keeping app design and functionality in mind. So there are a whole lot of widgets available to make an appealing app. There are also options to customize widgets and them built as per your preferences.

3. Flutter development is perfect for quick-paced projects

Want to display an MVP to your business investors with little time at hand? Flutter development is the best option if you’re looking to deliver an appealing MVP. It’s easy to build, and flexible by nature, so anything you plan to do goes well so long as you hire flutter developers good at their job.

4. Same codebase for multiple platforms

Since Flutter is a cross-platform framework, it’s Dart-based codebase would help you build mobile apps for both iOS & Android at once. So with flutter development, you essentially have a single app that can be used successfully on multiple platforms. Yet if you’re looking to make one app different from the other, it’s completely possible to do that as well.

The current stage of Flutter development

Here’s a brief overview of where we are right now with flutter development:

Flutter development is now not just limited to mobile apps, but can be used for the web as well. Google recently released a preview version for the same. As a web platform, flutter compiles existing code written in Dart into HTML, CSS & JavaScript. This creates a program that can be embedded directly into a web browser and deployed on the web browser for mass usage. This Puzzle game from the New York Times is a great example for a web app built using flutter development.

(A Flutter-based web app built by New York Times)

On July this year, Google announced Flutter 1.7, which supports the latest android version, Android Q and works with updated requirements of the Google Play Store.

Developers can now also build Flutter apps on Chrome OS, and businesses can publish new Flutter-based apps for the Chrome OS as well.

Why you should consider Flutter for mobile app development?

Flutter development has a lot of advantages for businesses when compared to another cross-platform framework such as Xamarin. However, it has its set of drawbacks. The first core drawback is its lack of support within the developer community is its a fairly new framework. Other drawbacks include lack of OpenGL, Video, Maps & Accessibility support.

However, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider Flutter development, which are as follows:

1. Integration with upcoming Fuchsia OS

Google will soon launch its hyped Fuchsia OS. The basic idea behind Fuchsia is to have an OS that seamlessly integrates across all types of devices. Fuchsia is a cross-platform OS that is meant to work on all type of devices, from smartphones to desktop, laptops and even wearables.

Google will probably begin to focus more on Fuchsia instead of Android in the longer run. So where does Flutter development come into this equation? Well, Flutter itself was developed keeping the idea of Fuchsia in mind. So it is highly possible that using Flutter development would also keep your business ready for Fuchsia whenever it sets foot into the market.

2. Clearing the confusing mess of native android app development

Most businesses have already admitted this. Native android app development is in a huge mess. There are so many platforms, tools- so many ways to build an android app. On top of that- you have to deal with the ever-so-flexible and fragmented set of android-powered devices, routine updates, bug fixes and what not. 

Google, most developers and even businesses are beginning to see Flutter development as a solution to clear all this mess. The fact that its a cross-platform development framework comes as an icing on the cake.

3. Google is moving away from Java

Android, as an operating system was built out of Java. But Google is currently fighting a lawsuit against its parent firm Oracle over unlicensed usage of Java on Android earlier versions up to Android 7 (Nougat).

In the midst of this legal battle, Google is doing everything possible to move away from the Java ecosystem. This is why it introduced Kotlin as the primary language for android app development at the I/O 2019 developers conference. 

However, Kotlin itself is largely dependent on Java. So Google needs a completely different alternative which helps them get rid of it entirely (That’s one of the reasons for the existence of Fuchsia). The Dart programming language used in the Flutter framework is one of the first steps taken by Google to do the same.

And so, Flutter development is just another tool to help android developers, users and businesses leveraging the platform to migrate to a whole new environment, where Google is free from the boundations and battles with Java and Oracle.

Would you choose Flutter development for your next Mobile App?

Considering the significance of Flutter in terms of the future of Android app development, Flutter is a great choice for android development. Its features of Hot reload and easy writing make it a better framework as compared to most cross-platform frameworks, perhaps even better than React Native. So would you choose Flutter Development for your mobile app? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


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