Flutter: A Game Changer for Mobile App Development

The faster time to market and lower development costs are the reasons why many businesses choose cross platform app development as an attractive alternative to native app development. However, The distinct UIs of Android and iOS poses challenges for app developers to create high quality apps with the same experience that function seamlessly on both platforms.

Fortunately, Google has come up with an exciting framework—Flutter that eases the work of app developers and enhance cross-platform app development.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a Google new mobile UI framework which aims to help developers in building native mobile apps for Android as well as iOS platform from a single codebase. The major components of Flutter include:

  • Flutter engine: Flutter’s engine, written primarily in C++, provides low-level rendering support using Google’s Skia graphics library.

  • Foundation library: The Foundation library, written in Dart, provides a base layer of functionality for apps and APIs to communicate with the engine.

  • Widgets: Widgets are the basic building blocks for UI in Flutter. Designing UI for an app involves composing and tweaking various simple widgets like text, shapes, and animations to create more complex ones.

## What makes Flutter unique? You may now not very convinced about another cross-platform solution and wonder what makes Flutter different. After all, there are many of them— Ionic, React Native, Xamarin and so more. That's a fair question, and before we get into that, however, let's first look at the many different approaches to develop mobile apps:
  • Native SDKs: Apps developed using native SDKs are platform specific. Developers build different apps for different platforms, e.g. one written in Java/Kotlin for Android and the other in Swift/Objective-C for iOS, which is pretty time consuming and expensive because the same code must be re-written multiple times.

Native Development Architecture

  • Cross-platform frameworks: Cross platform aims to go one step ahead by using special frameworks to develop platform independent apps. Such apps are often created using HTML and CSS for UI elements and Javascript for app functionality, then wrapped in native container. An app need to access native feature must do such through a “bridge” which slows down app responsiveness.

Cross-platform Framework Architecture

Read More about: Different approaches to develop mobile apps

What makes Flutter exciting is that unlike other frameworks which use OEM Widgets or web design elements, Flutter uses its own rich, customizable widget sets. These widgets are created according to Cupertino (iOS) and Material Design (Android) style guidelines to match the look and feel of native widgets but with less work.

Flutter Architecture

Why you should try it?

There are some pretty compelling reasons to give Flutter a try:

  • Hot reload: Gone are the days when you have to relaunch your app and wait several minutes to see your code changes. With hot reload, you can see the results of your code changes as you make them which dramatically speeds up development process.

  • Tooling: You can use just about any editor like VS Code, Android Studio, or IntelliJ along with command line to develop and debug your app.

  • Built-in widgets: Flutter provides several built-in widgets that can be used to make the apps look beautiful both on Android and iOS devices. You can choose to create your own custom widget as well.

  • Better performance: Flutter uses Dart as its programming language that compiles down directly to the native ARM code on mobile devices, which has been the key to achieve high performance on both iOS and Android.

  • Access to native features: Flutter gives you a complete direct access to the native features of the device without the need of a bridge

Learning Resources

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