Why Use Flutter?January 18, 2023
This is where Flutter comes in. Developed by Google in 2018, Flutter is a framework for building Android and iOS apps with a single codebase. Instead of using multiple languages and managing multiple vendors, Flutter uses Dart, an object-oriented language that is resistant to errors and easy to maintain.
Our team at Michigan Software Labs recently built a Flutter app for a healthcare client. The purpose of the mobile application was to be on both the Android and iOS platforms. The client wanted to have the app launch on a quick timeline and the app was mostly content based. The team chose Flutter because it allowed for a quick time to market to add value to users. While our preference is typically native, the overall launch of the app was successful and it was helpful to have Flutter as an option.
4 Advantages of Flutter
- One of the biggest advantages of using Flutter is that it allows for faster app development. With a single codebase, developers can easily make changes and updates to the app without having to worry about inconsistencies or compatibility issues across different platforms. Additionally, Flutter's hot reload feature allows developers to see the changes they've made to the code in real-time, making the development process much more efficient.
- Another benefit of using Flutter is that it allows for healthy app performance. Unlike other frameworks that rely on native components, Flutter uses its own widgets and engine, which means that the app is not dependent on the underlying platform. This results in faster and smoother app performance, which is especially important for apps that require high-performance graphics or animations.
- Flutter also offers a wide range of customization options for app design. The framework comes with a comprehensive set of customizable widgets and a flexible layout system, which allows developers to create unique and visually appealing apps. Additionally, Flutter's rich set of animation and motion libraries make it easy to add engaging and interactive elements to the app.
- Another important advantage of Flutter is that it is an open-source framework, which means that it is constantly being updated and improved by a large community of developers. This allows developers to stay up to date with the latest advancements in app development and to access a wealth of resources and tutorials to help them build better apps.
5 Disadvantages of Flutter
While Flutter has many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to use the framework for software development. Some of these include:
- Smaller developer community: While the Flutter developer community is growing, it is still relatively small compared to other frameworks such as React Native. This means that there may be fewer resources and tutorials available to developers who are new to the framework.
- Limited third-party library support: While Flutter has a rich set of built-in widgets and libraries, the number of third-party libraries available is still limited compared to other frameworks. This may make it more difficult to find pre-built components for specific features or functionality.
- Larger app size: Because Flutter apps include the framework's own widgets and engine, the resulting app size may be larger than apps built with other frameworks. This may be a concern for developers who need to minimize the app size for slower internet connections or for users with limited storage on their devices.
- Learning curve: While Flutter's use of a single language and consistent widgets across platform can make it easy to learn, it is still a new framework and may have a bit of a learning curve for developers new to it.
- Limited Access to Native APIs: Flutter is not a native app, so it doesn’t have direct access to the underlying platform’s APIs. This may make it more difficult to implement certain features that rely on these APIs, such as integration with device-specific hardware.
It's worth noting that these are just some of the potential disadvantages of Flutter, and they may not necessarily be a dealbreaker for every app development project. It's important to carefully consider the specific needs and requirements of your project before deciding whether or not to use Flutter.
What does the data show?
- In the Stack Overflow survey for 2022, 68% of developers picked Flutter as their favorite framework. React Native and Xamarin, two other main frameworks for developing cross-platform applications, are far lower in the ranking, with 55% and 38%, respectively.
- Based on a Statista survey of cross-platform mobile frameworks, 42% of software developers use Flutter, compared to 38% for React Native and 11% for Xamarin.
- Flutter also ranks highly as one of the least disliked languages, with only 31% of developers saying they don’t like Flutter. Meanwhile, 44% of developers say they don’t like using React Native, and 61% picked Xamarin as their “dreaded” language.
In conclusion, if you are looking to expand your user base and build apps for multiple platforms, Flutter is an excellent choice. Its single codebase, efficient development process, high-performance capabilities, and wide range of customization options make it an ideal framework for building high-quality apps that are both cost-effective and quick to bring to market.
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