CROSS-PLATFORM MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT
All you have to know about Flutter.
Starting a new business? Want an app for both iOS and android? But want the development to be smoother and faster. FLUTTER got you. Probably, this article can help you find a clue as to why Flutter is the most effective cross platform development framework.
INTRODUCTION TO FLUTTER:
As I started my developer journey back in 2020, I thought App development is not worth it because, if you can’t build apps for both iOS and Android, then development is not worth it and native development would require a lot of time to set yourself as an AppDev. After, I came across Flutter and according to me,
Flutter is a free, and open-source Software Development Kit (SDK) used to develop high performing Android and iOS applications with the single code base. It is a dynamic, cross-platform framework, launched by Google in 2018 with all the integrated widgets and tools that result in faster app development.
Flutter is empowered with a layered structure, which enables the developer to build attractive and min-blowing UIs without compromising with the performance of the app. Considered as one of the best features of flutter i.e. it supports hot reload feature that allows the developer to view the changes in their development in milliseconds.
Flutter also enables the access of the Material Design kit and also the Cupertino UI kit that can be used via Flutter Widgets in order to build beautiful User interfaces in-comparison to iOS and Android native development.
Being a dynamic & cross-platform development framework, it can add multiple accessibilities and characteristics to your app without disturbing the performance or the User Interface. Its tagline “Build Beautiful Native Apps in Record Time” is the highlight of its capabilities to develop cross-platform apps using a Single Codebase.
Briefly discussing its advantages:
1. FLEXIBILITY AND DIVERSITY OF THE UI AND BLoC
You can build very attractive and good-looking User Interfaces in flutter & the end-user experience is similar to native apps. Flutter has a layered structured design tree that lets you control every pixel on the screen. Thus, customization is very simple in Flutter. With Flutter Widgets, you can overlay and animate graphics, text, video, and other controls without any limitations.
Flutter’s idea is based on the reactive programming that supposes streams. This architecture pattern is called BLoC (Business Logic Components). Such architecture allows separation of the app’s user interface from the business logic by using streams. The core value of BLoC architecture pattern is its reactivity, and independence of UI from data and Flutter provides it all.
2. FASTER DEVELOPMENT
Flutter supports a hot reload feature, in turn, allows seeing the applied changes almost instantly, without even losing the current state of the app. The Hot Reload feature works on an emulator, and then Flutter compiles the Dart code into a Native one. Since all the widgets are immutable, the reloading process is undertaken only for those screens you are currently working on and the whole app is not reloaded. This makes the development rate faster by about 30% and this “exclusive” feature is not present in native development.
3. DART LANGUAGE OR DARTPUB
Dart programming language is developed by Google and is meant for mobile, desktop, backend and web applications. It is a client-optimized language for fast processing apps on cross-platforms. Dart is compiled to fast, predictable, native code, allowing writing almost all of Flutter code in Dart. This makes Flutter very fast and easily customizable.
DartPub, the package manager for flutter which contains many reusable packages, plugins and libraries that can enhance the functionality of your app. While choosing any plugin, you can see not only its popularity but also the code’s health and maintenance. It is important to see that the code is being regularly updated and checked rather than just checking the popularity of the code when developing custom features.
4. DEFAULT FLUTTER TOOLS AND MULTIPLE IDE SUPPORT:
The reason being, Flutter provides excellent support for several IDEs and offers more comfort to the developers while developing a cross-platform application. Flutter framework supports both Android studio and VS code as IDE for development.
Flutter Framework also comes with default tools to make the development experience even better
- Dart DevTools, which is a new debugging tool, is more flexible and allows runtime inspection. You can also view logs, debug apps and inspect widgets for Flutter App Development.
- Widget inspector helps to visualize and explore the tree hierarchy. Flutter uses this for UI rendering.
- Timeline view helps you to monitor your application at a frame-by-frame level. You can also identify rendering and computational work in timeline view.
- Source-level Debugger: It lets you step through code, set breakpoints and investigate the call stack.
- Logging View displays events from the Dart runtime, application frameworks and app-level logging events.
5. FLUTTER USES FIREBASE AS BACKEND:
The real motive of using Flutter is its Google Firebase backend stack that offers you a complete package of application management. Right from cloud storage to real-time database, hosting to authentication services. Thus, Flutter provides every other need of a full-fledged app developer.
FLUTTER VS OTHER CROSS PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT:
1. On the basis of Language Stack:
- While on the other hand, since Flutter got launched in 2018, Dart although being an amazing Programming language still has a growing user community.
- Xamarin uses C# and .NET for iOS and Android development, However developers can’t utilize native open-source libraries accessible for iOS and Android with Xamarin.
2. On the basis of performance:
- The performance React Native provides is very similar to native applications as it renders code elements specifically to the native APIs but they can’t be reused for multiple platforms since their main purpose is to provide higher performance on a single platform.
- Xamarin performance is also considered as being closed to native.
3. On the basis of User interface:
- React Native modules associate with native UI modules, which gives amazing user experience that is very close to native apps. It additionally utilizes the ReactJS library with extensive UI elements.
- Flutter provides the best User Interfaces. It provides both the Material UI as well as the Cupertino widgets for fast and easy development of an attractive user interface.(WINNER!)
Thus both React native and flutter can be used to develop beautiful UI but since React native is restricted to only native development and thus fltter holds an advantage.
4. Code Reusability
- React Native uses native components written in Objective-C, Swift or Java to enhance the app performance. But these native components can’t be reused over other platforms.
- For flutter in order to use a certain code we have to add certain files every time which kills the major part of the code reusability factor.
- Xamarin doesn’t require switching between the development environments since all Xamarin applications are developed in VS code. Almost 95% of the code can be reused.(WINNER!)
For an extensive analytic comparison:
Flutter is the open-source, Google-initiative, which is undoubtedly growing in the future business scenario and bridging the gap between the tech world and businesses. The language it uses is also a fast and optimized for cross platform development.
With the strong Google-backed Firebase, wide customizable widgets, pre-designed UI materials, Flutter outshines over others and proves to be an efficient, robust and effective method for the mobile app development for startups and small businesses.