Pros and Cons – Is Flutter Actually Good For Cross-Platform Development?

Are you into app development or planning to build one for your business? If yes, you must have heard about Flutter. Since it is a cross-platform framework and top competitor of React Native, it certainly is a hot topic amongst both developers and entrepreneurs.

It’s not just about cross-platform ability, but also the interface and performance. And Flutter excels in all of these attributes. According to StackOverflow Developer Survey, 2019 Flutter is among one of the most loved frameworks.

Coming back to the digital world, there are a lot of businesses that haven’t paid much heed to their transformation in the past. But now, looking at the current market scenario, entrepreneurs that don’t have much experience with app development, are planning to launch their mobile apps.

So, to address all types of entrepreneurs (with prior experience of app development or not) let’s get into details and understand everything about the Flutter app development.

What is Flutter?

What is Flutter? (Everything You Need to Know)

Flutter is Google’s mobile app SDK that lets mobile app developers write apps for iOS and Android with the help of the same language and source code. The user interface is quite amazing and lets you do a lot with built-in widgets.

Key Features of Flutter

  1. Plenty of built-in widgets
  2. Hot reloading
  3. Cross-platform development
  4. Look, feel and performance like Native apps

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Flutter Succeeds at Cross-Platform Development

Google development kit is creating 2D mobile applications. This can be used to create full-featured apps inclusive of support for cameras, geolocation, network, storage, and more. Even if you want to build an app with impressive aesthetic and design, the Flutter app development is the right platform.

In fact, Google developers have rigorously worked on Flutter to make it better. Here is the list of things they worked on:

  • Bug fixes
  • Support Firebase APIs
  • Tools
  • Enhanced documentation
  • Better engine performance
  • Android Studio and Visual Studio Code tools
  • Windows development
  • Multiple language support
  • Add-on features huge inline videos, charts, and ads.

The Comprehensive Ecosystem

Dart package manager lists approximately 2000 Flutter compatible packages coded in the current Dart version. The packages implement SDK for common APIs, although the offering isn’t as complete as for native apps. This clearly and unquestionably depicts that multiple third-party services can be integrated with Flutter without extra code.

Flutter vs. Different Cross-platform Framework

Xamarin and React Native are the biggest competitors of Flutter for cross-platform mobile app development. Flutter resembles React Native and Xamarin in terms of concepts, but there is a lot of difference in the technical architecture.

Want to check out the difference between the top two cross-platform frameworks? Check out this React Native vs Flutter comparison.

Where Flutter App Development Gains a Hand?

  • 2D mobile app support
  • Stock platform app development
  • Splendid and creative designs
  • Support for storage, camera, location, network, and more.

Pros and Cons of Flutter App Development

Pros and Cons of Flutter App Development (A Promising Cross-Platform Framework)

Pros of Flutter

1. Compatibility with Different Operating Systems

First and foremost is the compatibility with multiple operating systems. The app having flutter experience has no issues related to the compatibility with different types of operating systems. This saves a lot of precious time of the Flutter developer that they spend on debugging.

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2. Same Code, Different Platform

Coding once and employing it on both the platforms i.e., iOS and Android platform. Most importantly, special widgets and unique design on the platform make it capable of developing one single app to cater to a different platform.     

3. Detailed Documentation

Flutter’s documentation has made it a favorite platform among developers. The clutter-free and simple details make the platform developer’s favorite. They don’t have to make an extra effort to learn the language. Furthermore, the document encompasses exclusive information and tools for cross-platform development.

4. Extensive Catalog for Open Source Packages

The large set of open source packages creates app faster with ease and there are plenty of packages available, making the complicated tasks easier. The package library continues to grow by leaps and bounds every day, and the credit goes to the growing popularity and interest of developers.

5. Supports a Variety of Widgets

Dedicated Flutter developers can choose from a number of Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) Android Studio and Visual Studio, to name a few. VS Code is lightweight, quick, having most of the features available in Android Studio and IntelliJ. There is no need to switch to start working on Flutter.

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6. Receptive Frameworks

Having advanced receptive features, Flutter builds complex APIs of UI in a simple way. Moreover, the establishment of widgets and rich formats allows the developer to create 2D and UI animation. In addition, this futuristic cross-platform development tool is built to make high-end mobile apps for iOS and Android tailored to suit the business needs.

7. Perfect for MVP

Flutter is an Ideal Choice for Building Prototype or Minimum Viable Product

Do you have investors for your project? Want to showcase them a working prototype before launching the complete app? Of course, building a native mobile app means you need to hire two teams separately. Whereas, you can hire just one or two developers in case of Flutter app development and build a working app within a budget.

This way, you can showcase your idea to the investors with ease.

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8. Less Code

Flutter programming language is Dart. Dart is a strongly typed object-oriented language that resembles React Native maybe because the programming style is declarative. Flutter doesn’t use JavaScript bridge, and this is the reason why it improves app start-up time and overall performance.

Apart from this, Dart uses Ahead-of-Time and Just-in-Time compilation that improves the workflow allowing the hot reload capacity. This refreshes the user interface during the development phase without developing a new build completely.

9. Access to Native Features

Camera & geo-location require native features access and Flutter gives the feel of developing on the native platform. It also allows reusing the existing Java, Swift, and Object-C code to access native features and SDKs on iOS and Android.

10. Flutter Excels in Faster App Development

Design and development go hand-in-hand. Sometimes, the designer makes an amazing design for a page, but when the development process starts the output is not the same. This may happen because of the framework inability.

But it is certainly not the case with Flutter app development.

Flutter developers are able to see all the changes in the code immediately with the help of a hot reload option. Changes can be seen within a second, so the development team has a good chance to add features, fix bugs, and experiment.

Hot reload enables better collaboration between designers and developers as they can improve the aesthetic appeal and check the effects immediately. So, if you are planning for cross-platform development, Flutter app development is the right choice.

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Cons of Flutter App Development

Flutter also holds a few limitations because the framework is still young and in its developing phase. Here are a few shortcomings of the toolkit:

1. Mobile-Friendly Only

Flutter only caters the mobile applications. Desktop web browsers don’t support them, so when you choose mechanism, it is likely you have an impact on your decision. If you are looking for optimal device flexibility, Flutter is not a good choice.

2. Libraries Limitations

Flutter has various important libraries but because the framework is new, there won’t be all the required functionalities. On the other hand, the native app has all the functionalities in the SDK. This includes Twilio, Stripe, and services like Ustream and Wowza. Flutter developers have to develop these libraries and this is a time-consuming affair.

3. Continuous Integration

Native Android and iOS apps have ready-made solutions, and this allows them to work with CI platforms like Travis and Jenkins. However, setting up a toolkit for these platforms is important.

4. Limited TV support

Apps build with Flutter are unable to run on Android TV and Apple TV. Well, Flutter offers no support for both the TVs.

Wrapping up

Google is paving the way for Flutter’s future as developers don’t have to compromise between productivity and quality. Although there are a few concerns, giants like Alibaba and Tencent are already using it. If you want to build apps on a budget, investing in the cross-platform mobile platform- Flutter app development is the best choice without a doubt.

Since the launch of the stable release of Flutter from Google and adoption by major companies, this framework is gaining popularity because of some of its killer features. The platform guarantees unified experience, reduced time, and effort required to spend while mitigating the risk of errors.

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