Flutter has emerged as the wonder solution for cross-platform mobile app developers in many ways. From ensuring faster development to facilitating simultaneous updates to easier maintenance and code reusability, Flutter offers a wide variety of benefits for the developers. (Image source: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)
But irrespective of these wide-ranging benefits, Flutter has some disadvantages as well. Though Flutter is highly useful for all kinds of mobile app development needs, it should not be considered a magic solution for development issues and troubles.
Here we are going to explain the key features, pros, and cons of the Flutter framework.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework that uses a single code base to build multiple versions of the same app. Flutter framework uses Dart as the programming language, which is developed by Google.
The best thing that differentiates Flutter from other cross platforms mobile application development frameworks is its capability to deliver native user experience despite using the same code base. The benefits of the framework are dual. On the one hand, by using a single code base for two platforms, Flutter allows faster development saving time and money for the cross-platform developers and the clients and, on the other hand, by offering native user experience through integrated platform-specific, Flutter offers a truly user-friendly experience.
Why Flutter for Mobile App Development?
Mobile apps are increasingly tending to go for native user experience more than anything else. This is happening simply because people are already habituated with the effortless and easy user experience of native apps. At the same time, the cost and time advantages of building cross-platform apps remain vital. Some frameworks like Flutter came as the great technology alternative to deliver the best of both worlds, respectively native app and cross-platform development.
Flutter is widely known for its capability to deliver native user experience befitting to both iOS and Android mobile platforms. Simultaneously, it is a cross-platform development framework that allows reusing the same code for apps on both platforms. This is why app projects that want to bring together both the native user experience and the cost advantage of cross-platform app development should choose Flutter.
Key Features of Flutter
Let’s have a quick look at the key features of the Flutter framework.
● Hot Reload: This feature will allow developers to see the changes made by them in real-time through the app. This will help to fix bugs and app errors faster than ever before.
● Native Feature: Flutter comes with native code, allows easy third-party integration, and incorporates platform-specific APIs. All these things ultimately help allow the app to give native user experience to the users.
● Minimal Code: The Dart language of Flutter that uses JIT and AOT compilation to improve the function and accelerate the app performance uses a very minimum amount of code.
● Widgets: Flutter allowing access to a wide variety of traditional widgets also allows easily creating custom widgets.
Pros and Cons of Flutter
Now that we have explained the key features and the way the Flutter framework works for diverse applications across the platforms, it is necessary to understand the framework with a balanced approach. Flutter framework has an equal range of pros and cons upon its sleeve.
Let’s explain the pros of Flutter.
● Hot Reload: The hot reload feature allows developers to see the changes they make in the app in real-time. Hot reloading features help to add new features quickly. Thanks to this feature, the developers can see the effect of the latest changes in real-time and accordingly can put better efforts.
● Robust Support: Flutter developers enjoy huge support ranging from support from the material design team to all the community support from more than a thousand developers. Flutter, being maintained by Google, enjoys unparalleled support from developers all over the globe.
● Flutter offers dual benefits of building native apps with the same code. Flutter allows building native iOS and Android apps while they need to use the single code base for both app versions on the intended platforms. This obviously helps development companies to reach out to more customers and create a solution that works for all.
● Easy usability: The most notable thing about Flutter is that it is highly flexible and allows easy usability. Flutter is very easy to set up and involves a very low learning curve. If you want to build a great cross-platform app and don’t want to pay a huge budget on the app project, Flutter can be the right solution.
● Flutter is versatile: Flutter can also be used for a diverse array of app projects ranging from low-cost app projects to powerful and feature-rich solutions for large enterprises. Flutter doesn’t require very powerful machines with complex computing capabilities. Flutter can be utilized for a variety of app rejects across different sizes and niches.
● No coding knowledge: Any company can utilize Flutter for their app projects even if they don’t have Flutter experts onboard. As the learning curve is very low, and one can use the framework without any prior coding knowledge and experience, it just fits into any app project.
● Low footprint: Flutter is a very low footprint language with a small APK file size. Thanks to this Flutter apps are extremely lightweight and precision-driven.
Let’s now explain the cons of Flutter.
Very Limited Choice of Libraries
Flutter, in spite of having support from Google and various quality libraries, it lacks many features that developers need frequently. This is true because Flutter is a relatively new framework and is still going through development and value additions from its core team and the community. When it comes to features and respective libraries, Flutter is still in its budding stage.
As for the file size, Flutter has a large footprint. The file sizes of apps built with Flutter are relatively bigger in size than apps built with other frameworks. The bigger file size has been a crucial deterrent for many developers to choose Flutter for their app projects. Since device storage is constantly a problem for users, large footprint files are detested by developers and users alike.
Skills and Expertise
Though Flutter is exceptionally easy to use, it is built upon Dart language, which is a bit uncommon in the development world. Since Dart is not that popular, to try your programming skills with Flutter you need to deal with a greater learning curve than usual. Learning Dart for a project can also contribute to development time and budget as well.
Flutter, as a framework, is here to stay. The framework is popular for several reasons, and shortcomings are quite a few compared to these positive aspects. Expectedly, over time Flutter will get better and reduce the lacking mentioned above.