Created by Google, Flutter is a popular mobile application development tool. In 2021, it outpaced React Native as the most used mobile software development framework, with 42% of app builders opting for Flutter over React and other options such as Cordova, Ionic and Xamarin.
In part, this popularity comes from Flutter’s ability to create cross-platform apps that offer both consistent form and function for users, allowing companies to ensure that no matter the device and no matter the OS, the user experience remains the same. This is especially critical for organizations such as those in the healthcare and utility industries, which depend on user confidence to drive application success. Consider a healthcare provider rolling out a new mobile application to augment its web-based app. If mobile applications look and function differently than their mobile counterparts, and the mobile app experience across device types is also inconsistent, the overall user experience suffers.
But what exactly is Flutter, and how does it work? More importantly, what are some of the biggest benefits companies can capture when working with this development platform? Here’s what businesses need to know.
What Is Flutter?
At its core, Flutter is a software development kit (SDK) specifically designed to help develop mobile applications. Flutter is also cross-platform, which means that it can create mobile applications for iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems using a single code base, while retaining the native look and feel of the original OS.
The Flutter SDK consists of three distinct components: a framework, an engine and an embedder. Its framework uses the Dart programming language to handle materials, widgets, rendering and animation. The engine uses C/C++ for rendering, frame scheduling, text layouts and asset resolution. Finally, the embedder is platform-specific and handles native plugins, application packaging and thread setups.
When it comes to what you can do with Flutter, widgets are one of the most compelling use cases. With Flutter, object-oriented programming can be integrated with any element, making it possible to quickly integrate widgets from existing libraries or design your own. In addition, the Flutter community is continually creating and sharing new widgets for use.
Six Advantages of Using Flutter for Mobile App Development
Flutter offers a host of advantages to help companies deliver on the potential of mobile application development. Here’s a look at six significant benefits of Flutter.
Designed By (and Used By) Google
Flutter was designed by Google and is also used by the search giant to create and maintain applications. As a result, Flutter for mobile app development aligns with both current development best practices and is capable of scaling to meet future requirements.
No Device Left Behind
Creating multiple sets of code for different mobile operating systems can lead to devices left behind — older smartphones or tablets that don’t provide the same application experience as their newer counterparts. With Flutter, companies can create a single set of code for use across all devices to ensure branding, UI/UX and the overall user experience remain the same.
Cost Savings on Single Code
By creating a single set of code rather than multiple frameworks for different devices, organizations can save money on design, development, testing and deployment. Using Flutter also saves time, since teams can work to develop a single-source app rather than building multiple frameworks and then comparing them to ensure similar functionality.
Faster Code Development
Flutter is fast and easy to use, and also makes it possible to check code functions on the fly. This is accomplished using what’s known as a “hot reload” — instead of having to wait for code to compile, developers can immediately see the impact of any code changes.
Extensive Community Support
As noted above, Flutter is now the most used mobile development framework in the world. It’s also open source, which means that development teams and citizen developers can explore and modify Flutter’s source code to suit their specific needs, then share what they’ve created online. The result is a vibrant and growing Flutter community that provides access to a host of Flutter widgets and scripts that can improve its functionality.
In addition, extensive Flutter forums make it easy for developers to find answers if they encounter challenges during the app-building process.
Almost Native App Performance
Because Flutter doesn’t rely on intermediate code interpretations or representations, it delivers near-native application performance. Flutter is also integrated directly into machine code, in turn reducing the risk of bugs or errors during the implementation process and allowing companies to get cross-platform apps up and running ASAP.
Facilitating Flutter App Development With Ntiva
With Flutter, it’s possible to create applications that deliver both near-native performance and a consistent user experience. And with a growing development community backed by Google-created code, it’s no surprise that Flutter has outpaced other options as the go-to choice for mobile app development.
The challenge? For many organizations, building better apps isn’t simply a matter of tapping best-of-breed tools such as Flutter — it’s about finding the available time and skilled development talent to turn app ideas into reality.
This is where Ntiva can help. Our teams of experienced Flutter developers can help your team navigate the path from app ideation to testing and deployment — and ensure there are no devices left behind.
Ready to build better apps with Flutter? Ntiva can help. Let’s talk.