Hackernoon logoThe Pros and Cons of Flutter For App Development by@skeintech

The Pros and Cons of Flutter For App Development

Rajamanickam Rajan Hacker Noon profile picture

@skeintechRajamanickam Rajan

Expertise in Analysis, Design, Development, Testing and Imp. of Hybrid & Native Apps.

With the incredible rise of mobile application development over the last decade, iOS and Android have come ahead as the leading operating systems.

This has naturally led to the rise of an entire industry with several frameworks that enable developers to build for these platforms. Most of these mobile development frameworks are built to support hybrid app development that is compatible with both iOS and Android.

Flutter is the latest addition to this long list of frameworks. Owing to some of its advantages, Flutter is fast becoming a favorite amongst the developer community, and Flutter app development is becoming popular.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of Flutter for mobile development. We will also try to understand how Flutter can be good for your business. 

What is Flutter? 

Before we get into its pros and cons, let us first get to know what Flutter is. Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit by Google that was first unveiled in 2015 and officially launched in 2017. 

Flutter allows development teams to build iOS and Android applications using a single code-base. This code-once build for all approach makes application development faster, efficient, and cost-effective.

A single code-base also reduces the chances of bugs and makes it extremely easy to track them.

Instead of relying heavily on JavaScript or C#, Flutter apps are built using Google’s own programming language called Dart. Dart is an easy to learn, an object-oriented programming language which gives Flutter a strong foundation.

More than half a million developers claim to actively use Flutter every month. Flutter now also supports development for desktop and web apps, along with mobile app development through a single codebase.

With Google consistently investing in the framework, Flutter has the potential of becoming one of the leading mobile app development frameworks in the world. 

Pros of Flutter Framework 

If you are a mobile app developer, you would know how every framework you use has some advantages that make development comfortable and efficient. Let us try to explore some pros that Flutter offers. 

1) Faster Development Time 

Like many other hybrid frameworks, Flutter too helps in faster app development. Using Flutter’s single code base, you can launch your app on multiple platforms.

This means developers need to code only once instead of coding separately for each OS. Thus, Flutter development saves development efforts and is extremely cost-effective.

If you are a business owner, hiring flutter developers can help you save resources like time and funds,  which are crucial for a medium-sized company or a startup. Fixing and tracking bugs in the code also involve less effort, as changes are reflected on every platform at the same time. 

2) Freedom to Customize and Faster Rendering

Flutter’s layered architecture can help you to freely customize UI components to an extent where you feel like you are in control of every pixel on the screen. Unlike most platforms, Flutter does not need platform-specific UI components to render its UI.

All Flutter needs is a canvas to draw on. It is simple and efficient. This approach eliminates the chance of any UI inconsistencies across multiple platforms. 

3) Hot Reload Feature 

Flutter’s hot reload is a revolutionary feature that sets it apart from all its competitors. Using hot reload, developers can now change the code and instantly see them at runtime in the app preview. There is no need to recompile the code every time. This allows developers to freely experiment with different UI elements while building applications. 

4) Equivalent to Native App Performance

A good user experience is the most important factor that contributes to the success of your app. Poor performance can severely affect your app’s UX. Mobile apps developed using Flutter are indistinguishable from applications built using native code. In fact, Flutter apps can perform better in complex UI scenarios.

The primary reason behind this is that Flutter does not rely on any intermediate code or a JavaScript bridge. Instead, it is built directly into the machine code. This eliminates any probable performance bugs that are often encountered in the interpretation process. 

5) Good Documentation and a Strong Community 

Due to its advantages over many other frameworks, Flutter has caught the attention of many developers around the world. This has created an active community of developers who can offer support to anyone trying to use Flutter. Flutter also offers in-depth documentation in the form of blogs and tutorials through their official portal. 

If you are a beginner hoping to build your first app, the Flutter community will always be available to help you through every roadblock you might face. 

Cons of Flutter Framework 

While there are several pros to using Flutter, let us also explore some cons that you might face while building your app with Flutter: 

1) Too Soon to be Stable 

Flutter is amongst the newest app development frameworks and is still evolving. Many of its libraries are still in the pre-alpha stage and need further testing before becoming stable. Flutter, thus, needs more time to truly harness the potential of an operating system. 

2) Large File Sizes 

Another downside of using Flutter is the application file size. Apps built using Flutter are heavy and take longer to start or load. This can ruin a user’s experience and is an indicator of poor performance. 

3) Changes and Updates in the Framework

Since Flutter is a new framework, it regularly goes through changes and updates that might affect development. Maintaining the code can be a challenge in such a rapidly changing environment. 

4) Lack of Standard Development Guidelines 

Stable frameworks have well-drafted guidelines that make development easier and standardized. Flutter being new lacks such guidelines which can become a problem while building complex applications. 

Flutter vs React Native 

React Native developed by Facebook and first launched in 2015 is undoubtedly the most stable open-source mobile application development framework today.

It is also based on JavaScript, which is the most popular programming language. React has thus garnered a massive community of developers around it.

Flutter, on the other hand, isn’t as stable as React Native. This is because Flutter is a new framework that is still in its evolution phase. It however has the potential of growing and becoming React’s toughest competitor soon.

Here are some of the main differences: a) React is based on JavaScript, while Flutter is based on Dart

b) React has a large inclusive library, while Flutter has a smaller, non-inclusive one

c) React is easier to learn while Flutter needs an understanding of Dart

d) React has adaptive components while Flutter needs manual configuration

e) React is based on Flux and Redux architecture, while Flutter is based on BLoC architecture

So, Is Flutter Good For Your Business? 

Now that we have seen its pros and cons, and how it compares to React, let us understand if and how Flutter can benefit your business. The biggest advantage that Flutter offers is a cost-effective development and faster development time.

If you are a startup founder, launching an MVP before the actual product is a safe way to validate your idea.

This is where Flutter can come in. You can build your MVP using Flutter to cut costs, save time, and validate your concept. A single code base and Flutter’s rich UI widget library can help in reducing efforts, allowing you to freely experiment while building your awesome product.

Flutter can thus be a favorable option for your business if you are looking to quickly scale your application across multiple platforms. It can also help you reduce the time-to-market significantly. 

This does not mean that Flutter can only be used by small companies and startups. 

Flutter has managed to impress many of the leading organizations in the world. Google’s Ad engine is primarily built using Flutter. Alibaba.com is another giant that has adopted Flutter as an important part of its tech-stack. Birch Finance, Hookle, and Hamilton Musical are other examples of major companies that have adopted Flutter. 

An Ideal Choice 

While Flutter is a relatively new framework, it has all the right ingredients to become one of the best mobile application development frameworks in the near future. Read this 2020 article to find out how rapidly Flutter has grown since its launch. Just like every new technology,

Flutter too has a few cons and needs more time to evolve. The advantages that it offers are however already significant. Studying some of Flutter’s use cases can give you a better idea of how it is helping in building great applications. 

Flutter can enable your business to quickly launch and scale your product across multiple platforms. It is one of the most ideal choices for startups. If you are passionate about technology and development, we hope this article can inspire you to try out Flutter and become a part of its thriving community. 


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