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Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or have run a business for several years, it will be equally helpful to learn more about Flutter app development and how it can improve your experience. Although it is a relatively young technology with less coverage than other cross-platform solutions, it has already proved to be a promising option.
In this post, OpenGeeksLab gathered all ins and outs of Flutter app development. Keep reading to reveal why you should switch to app development with Flutter.
First things first. It would help if you learned more about the technology you’re going to move to. So, Flutter is a user interface (UI) software development kit (SDK) and a framework designed by Google. It is an open-source cross-platform project, so it suits desktop (Windows, Linux, macOS), mobile (Android, iOS, Google Fuchsia), and even web application development based on a single codebase.
Flutter was officially launched in 2017, though there were rumors around it since Dart Developer Summit in 2015. It was the first significant effort of a large corporation to switch from a traditional platform-specific solution to the other way, allowing Flutter app developers to create appealing software solutions running on several mobile OSs with the perspective of further scaling to desktop versions. In 2021, Google presented Flutter 2.0, which, now officially, supports desktop application development, broadening the opportunities for Flutter mobile developers.
Its SDK contains all the necessary tools for productive time-efficient application development. It includes rendering engine, platform-specific widgets, command line, API integration, testing opportunities. It demonstrates higher performance if used together with Dart virtual machine, as its applications are compiled with just-in-time (JIT) compilation. However, mobile Android and iOS-powered devices still support ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation.
Notable Flutter-built market players include, in particular, Google Ads, Alibaba, Abbey Road Studios, Birch Finance, and you always may join the list.
Now that we’ve uncovered some basics, it’s high time to decide on an app development approach.
Before jumping into Flutter app development, you should solve the leading dilemma startups face. Well, there always has been a struggle between native and cross-platform application development.
Native mobile programming tech stack covers Objective-C, Swift, Apple Xcode, iOS SDK (for iOS apps), Java, Kotlin, Android Studio, and SDK tools (for Android-based mobile apps development), offering a high compatibility advantage. The point is that applications built peculiarly for a platform show better performance, offer wider opportunities, look and feel more natural. Their problem then lies in creating an application (if we talk about one business product that targets diverse platforms) for every other OS separately. It requires more working hours spent, more people engaged; thus, more time and money should be invested. However, if your target audience covers only one OS, native development is just fine.
On the other hand, cross-platform frameworks like React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin allow creating a single application compatible with different platforms. With a cross-platform approach, time-to-market period and expenses significantly reduce as you develop one project instead of two or more, so it appears highly cost-effective for broad target audience coverage. Still, its compatibility would be lower than native solutions, and it will require more performance optimization.
The problem is that despite the abundance of mobile software development solutions, none can be treated as a universal option. For the last few years, React Native dominated the market due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. In the meanwhile, Flutter raises as a new ambitious cross-platform framework, challenging the supremacy of React Native and offering an alternative to developers. However, like any other technology, Flutter development has its perks and challenges.
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Flutter brings undeniable business value. Let’s reveal some major benefits your business will get after hiring Android/iOS and Flutter developers and switching to Flutter app development.
Unlike other frameworks, Flutter allows using the same logic and UI for mobile software running on different platforms. It works directly with a canvas and does not require any additional platform-specific UI elements.
Flutter spares the programmer’s time on each stage of the software engineering process: from building UI to testing. It bets on ready-made widgets as a tool for workflow optimization, so engineers can skip several time-consuming steps while making applications look and feel like native ones. Its SDK also has a ‘hot reload’ that eliminates time loss during shipping a ready-made solution to a test device.
App development with Flutter guarantees twice a shorter time-to-market period. Using Flutter, programmers create a single codebase for different platforms. Besides, this framework provides a declarative API for creating an interface that increases performance during visual adjustment procedures.
A positive user experience highly depends on performance. Developers claim Flutter-built applications showcasing the numbers extremely close to those of native solutions. Unlike other popular cross-platform frameworks, Flutter does not require any additional mediator code representatives interacting directly with the machine code thus getting rid of interpretation bugs and boosting performance.
Flutter provides a wide range of platform-specific widgets, so engineers can easily follow Material Design or Cupertino design guidelines. Besides, all widgets can be customized in color, shape, element transitions, shadow manipulations, clipping, or other transformations with no bother.
To ensure the majority of its features, Flutter has its peculiar rendering engine. Instead of adjusting UI anytime, it should be transferred onto a platform, this framework uses Skia that performs rendering directly on a platform-provided canvas. This method significantly simplifies and accelerates mobile development processes.
Being a cross-platform framework, Flutter provides opportunities identical to those of native SDKs. Many of them are implemented as platform-specific plugins, allowing Flutter app developers to build them into their solutions. These plugins cover advanced features like geolocation, Bluetooth access, permission handling, gathering/processing sensor data.
Since March 3, 2021, when Google presented its Flutter 2.0, the framework officially supports desktop application programming. This event revolutionized the software programming niche, as Flutter developers are capable now of creating universal solutions not only for Android-/iOS-powered devices but also for Windows, Linux, and macOS desktops using a single code base.
Flutter seems future-proof also because of Google’s plans of Fuchsia OS becoming a new market giant together with Android and iOS. Fuchsia OS was made an open-source project whose applications should be Flutter-built, so it has optimistic forecasts.
For now, Flutter stands as the most attractive cross-platform option. It has an easy-to-learn framework and offers quick time-to-market becoming extremely beneficial for entrepreneurs who plan to hit the niche with a bold idea and a modest budget.
This technology looks extremely attractive to adopt, though there are several issues you should be aware of as well.
Flutter app development drawbacks are minor compared to its advantages. However, they may cause some mess if not considered on time. Let’s uncover some major points you may experience while app development using Flutter:
As with other cross-platform solutions, Flutter-built applications differ in their look and feel from native ones. However, Flutter provides tools for adjusting projects to native UI trends, which turns out a time-consuming procedure. If you aim at a one-platform target audience, better stick to native frameworks.
Flutter only paves its way on the current market, so many companies treat it with caution. Entrepreneurs fear it will not follow the forecasted evolving scenario or will be stuck, though Google’s support soothes the apprehensions.
Similar to other technologies, the Flutter app development platform has its limitations in the feature scope available. Developers should recreate the features absent in Flutter SDK themselves to make the product look more natural and familiar for end-users.
Flutter carefully follows all feature updates introduced to Android or iOS, though they appear later than in native SDKs. Flutter developers should wait until new features become available in this framework to roll out application updates.
Despite Flutter is a cross-platform framework, native SDK knowledge often comes into use when talking about platform-specific details. Make sure you have an expert to consult with in case of emergency.
Wrapping up all benefits and challenges of app development with Flutter, let us have a general overview of the opportunities it opens to your business.
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A framework should correspond to several criteria, including platform stability, high performance granted, further improvement prospects, and a vast talent pool from a business perspective. In case even one of these criteria is neglected, using a framework turns into a risky undertaking. The reward is not guaranteed in most cases, as these risks typically include direct or vicarious overspending.
Flutter minimizes these risks covering all demanded aspects. Although Flutter only grows as a framework, it has already gained credibility granted by Google’s authority. Besides, the platform showcases solid support from other market giants (like Alibaba, eBay, MGM Resorts) and seems to have expanded prospects when Fuchsia OS is released.
Even more, developers take an interest in Flutter programming (especially among cross-platform or Android engineers), so hiring a Flutter app developer is not a problem today. This technology also offers better performance compared to other cross-platform frameworks because it works directly with canvas and requires no bridges to access services.
Hence, Flutter pretends to be a promising option for your business strategy that will not only bring instant results but become a guarantor of further success as well.
Flutter app development is a complex heterogeneous process influenced by several factors at once. Despite the optimistic forecasts for the adoption of this technology to startups or enterprises, calculating a precise estimate fitting every case appears challenging.
The project budget depends primarily on the product’s functionality (its complexity level) and the number of native-like features implemented (the more ‘native’ your application should be, the more time it will require during the developing process). Additional expenses also include release costs, after-release support, and maintenance, server rental costs, the complexity of design. Besides, you should choose a proper development company to partner with, as prices may significantly vary from agency to agency.
Judging upon common rates, the cheapest solutions are provided by Indian companies (from $10 per hour), American (the USA- or Canada-based) agencies charge the highest hourly rates (up to $200 per hour). European agencies are not homogeneous as well: West European companies charge an average rate of $125-150 per hour, while Eastern European programmers are more reasonable, charging $25-50 per hour.
However, looking for Flutter app developers, you must remember that prices may become even lower, as it is an open-source technology. The resources are free-to-use, so you spare a lot of operational expenses usually spent on buying licensed tools access. This makes Flutter look even more advantageous.
Using Flutter for app development gives a range of advantages over native or other cross-platform software development solutions. It claims to be more cost-effective, requires less development time, and has better performance. Its ecosystem is relatively small and the community is not as expanded compared to other platforms, like React Native, but it continuously grows. On the other hand, this makes Flutter app development favorable for startups who can partner with Flutter development companies on mutually beneficial terms.
Flutter mobile app development looks nice from a long-term perspective as well. Fuchsia OS, built and promoted by Google, operates applications in Flutter. When it is spread all over the globe, businesses having expertise in working with this framework will definitely have an advantage over those who ignored it earlier.
Interested in new expertise and look for a Flutter app development company? Well, then, let us know. We at OpenGeeksLab have proficient Flutter developers, providing advanced software development services. Our team possesses all the tools to build a Flutter app and customize it up to your liking. If you’re having second thoughts about why you should bother trying Flutter on your next project, book a free online consultation with our lead experts to reveal why switching to Flutter app development is a cogent argument for your business.
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