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What is Flutter, and How Can You Benefit From it

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Try to imagine a situation where you have developed an iOS app that constantly grows in popularity. The American market is yours, and the app starts conquering Europe and other parts of the world. Now, you need the same app for Android. Moreover, you also see the demand on the web version of your app. However, since you developed a native iOS application, it will take a lot of time, effort, and money to create the same piece of software for Android. The solution to this problem is cross-platform app development. In particular, one of the best options is to make use of Flutter application development services.

What is cross-platform development?

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While native app development is all about creating separate applications for each platform, namely Android, iOS, and others, cross-platform development presumes a single codebase. This means that your development team will only code one application that will work on each of the platforms and may only require minimal adaptation.

The benefits of cross-platform development make it one of the most profitable options for your business. First of all, it is cheaper because of the fact that you will not need separate teams of developers for each of the platforms. Secondly, it is much quicker to develop an app in such a way. Finally, the performance of a cross-platform app will be almost indistinguishable from a native one.

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You should know about the three most important frameworks for cross-platform app development: Xamarin, React Native, and Flutter. Despite the fact that Xamarin was one of the pioneers in cross-platform development, now it has lost in popularity and will soon be replaced by React Native and Flutter. React Native is the most popular framework now. It is useful, reliable, and convenient due to the use of JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages. However, this article is focused on Flutter, the newest framework among these three and the most promising one.

What is Flutter?

It is a sort of mistake to call Flutter a framework because it is a Software Development Kit (SDK), which is kind of a box with ready-made solutions and tools. Because of the fact that it is open-source, you can reuse the parts of software, which were created by someone else who willingly shared the results of their work.

Flutter
Flutter Brand Logo | Image credit: Flutter

In fact, Flutter is even much more than that. Another way it can impress is its widgets, which make up everything in this SDK. Widgets can be the elements of the user interface, for instance. This is extremely useful for the creation of applications that have to look native on different platforms. By the way, since the update in March 2021, Flutter has supported Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, and the web. In such a way, when creating an application, you will have all the standard widgets with the UI elements for these six platforms. In plain English, you will not have to pay for the work of designers to create the UI because you will have it in Flutterby by default.

Why should you use Flutter?

There is a popular misconception that Flutter is only good for startups. Indeed, Flutter is useful for startups, MVPs, and other types of projects that presume the development from scratch. However, it is also a powerful tool for established projects, and here is why:

Quick development

Besides the single codebase, which was mentioned above, Flutter is packed with a lot of features that accelerate and simplify the work of developers. One of the most important features is Hot Reload. This one enables the execution of changes into an application without compilation. Without this feature, a developer has to compile the code after even the minimal change. Hot Reload, on the other hand, enables instant changes in the process of writing the code. Despite the fact that it sounds like something unimportant, such features save a lot of time and nerve cells.

Dart language

Dart language, which is used to write the UI in Flutter, has many benefits. Firstly, it is easy to learn, especially for those who are familiar with JavaScript. Secondly, it is declarative; therefore, you will need fewer lines of code to describe the look of your application. Besides, there is another consequence of less code, and it is fewer bugs.

Widgets

The development speed is further accelerated with Flutter’s widgets. They are out-of-box solutions to popular problems as well as pre-developed elements of the UI.

Widget Spaces
Modern web design concept | Image credit: freepik

This means that you have the design of all the standard elements of the UI of the supported platforms. Furthermore, if you feel you need something extraordinary, you can easily create and customize your widget.

Community

When you work with a certain programming language or a framework, one of the important things is community support. You cannot know everything about your tool, but you can ask questions on the Internet, and here is where those like-minded people come in handy. Flutter has a very warm and friendly community, and you can always ask for help on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or other sources.

When you should not use Flutter?

There are no flawless tools, and Flutter is not an exception. Certain situations require the use of other tools or frameworks than Flutter. For example, despite the web support, Flutter is not yet ready to be used for the development of websites with static content.

Another situation when you should reconsider the use of this SDK is when you need an app for a smartwatch or TV application for Android or iOS.

Summary

All in all, Flutter is a relatively new software development kit, but its novelty does not scare. Instead, it is encouraging. This SDK certainly has a bright future because of support by Google, its owner, and creator, as well as because of the possibility to use it in different fields. Besides, Flutter is a convenient tool that helps to develop applications for different platforms quickly and effortlessly. Despite the fact that it has minimal drawbacks, the benefits of Flutter definitely outweigh the disadvantages.

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