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Flutter Top 7 Pros & Cons for Mobile Users

  • April 26, 2021

What are Flutter’s pros & cons in mobile app development? Is Flutter a good idea for every app? In this article, you will find essential information about Flutter for App Owners, Product Owners and everyone who wants to develop a mobile app.

 

What is Flutter?

 

Flutter is Google’s mobile app SDK, complete with a framework, widgets, and tools, that gives developers an easy way to build and deploy visually attractive, fast mobile apps on both Android and iOS platforms (official Flutter website).

 

Flutter enables a smooth and easy cross-platform mobile app development. You don’t need to develop an iOS and Android app separately. All you need is one codebase for both platforms.

 

What’s more, Flutter:

  1. Is free and open source,
  2. Is based on Dart – a fast, object-oriented programming language which is in itself easy to learn,
  3. Provide its own widgets, drawn with its own high-performance rendering engine. They are fast, pretty, and customizable,
  4. Thanks to the rich widgets, Flutter apps look and feel great (you can create your own custom app design, but also use readily available UI elements following specific platforms’ guidelines). Check out the article about Top Apps Made with Flutter
  5. The architecture of Flutter is based on the very popular reactive programming of today (the same that React has been made from)
  6. It’s becoming a serious competitor to React Native, but also to native app development. Read the articles: Flutter vs React Native – what to choose in 2021? and React Native Pros and Cons.

 

Why Flutter? 7 top advantages for mobile app owners

 

From the perspective of an app owner, the crucial advantages are as follows: Flutter speeds up the mobile app development processreduces the app development cost, and helps your team to build a beautiful app UI with smooth animations. Let’s take a look at it more deeply. We have prepared the below lists for you with Paulina Szklarska and Karol Wrótniak – our Android Developers who work with Flutter.

 

1. Faster code writing

 

For developers, Flutter means faster & more dynamic mobile app development. We can make changes in the code and see them straight away in the app! This is the so-called Hot reload, which usually only takes (milli)seconds and helps teams add features, fix bugs, and experiment faster. It is one of the things about Flutter loved by every top Flutter app development team.

 

Hot reload is also very comfortable in developer-designer cooperation when we want to improve or experiment with an app’s look and check the effects on the spot. In other words, with Flutter, your designer or tester can work together with a developer on the UI, making changes – for example, “Put it 2 pixels right” or “Make the animation faster” – and see them immediately.

 

Most types of code changes can be hot reloaded. But there is a list of changes that require a full restart: Hot reload Limitations.

 

Whereas, in the case of native app development the project needs to be rebuilt and that takes much more time. You have to wait for every single change – sometimes, even up to several minutes.

 

2. One code for 2 platforms

 

Developers write just one codebase for your 2 apps – covering both Android and iOS platforms. Flutter doesn’t depend on the platform, because it has its own widgets and designs. This means that you have the same app on two platforms. Yet what’s important is that, if you want to differentiate your apps – it’s possible.

 

3. Less testing

 

If you have the same app for 2 platforms, it means less testing! The Quality Assurance process can be faster. Because of one codebase, the developers write automatic tests only once. What’s more, Quality Assurance specialists have less work to do, because they have only one app to check. Of course, if your apps have some differences, they need to be tested on both platforms.

 

4. Faster apps

 

Flutter apps work in a smooth and fast way, without hanging and cutting while scrolling. If you want to understand why and how it works from a technical point of view, read this article. Also, check out this amazing page in the Flutter documentation that talks about best practices for app performance.

 

5.  Designs which your users will love

 

Flutter is designed to make it easy to create your own widgets or customize the existing widgets. Here you can browse a catalog of Flutter’s widgets and view, for example, Material Design widgets and Cupertino widgets.

 

6. The same app UI on older devices

 

Your new app will look the same, even on old versions of Android and iOS systems. There are no additional costs for supporting older devices. Flutter runs on Android Jelly Bean or newer, as well as iOS 8 or newer.

 

7. Perfect for MVP

 

Do you need an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for your app to show it to your investors? Flutter will be perfect, especially if you have little time.

 

 

 

 

Does Flutter have any cons? 2 risks for mobile App Owners

 

 

1. Libraries & support – impressive, but still not so rich as for the native development

 

Google support for Flutter is impressive, and there are many helpful libraries with functionalities ready to be implemented. But Flutter is still new and not every functionality which you need can be found in these libraries. This means that your developers would need to build them by themselves, which can be very time-consuming.

 

However, we can expect to see that the support for Flutter is improving at a rapid pace. What’s more, the Flutter team is actively involved in supporting Flutter users by frequent solving and answering requested issues.

 

2. Continuous Integration support

 

Since flutter is in beta, For now, Flutter is not widely supported by CI platforms like Travis or Jenkins. So, to achieve automatic building, testing, and deployment, your development team needs to use and maintain custom scripts like this one.

 

Edited:

 

  1. There is a new CI/CD system for Flutter applications called Codemagic that was announced at Flutter Live 2018.
  2. In January 2019, Bitrise announced the full-featured Flutter CI.
  3. Worth to mention: one of our team members, Karol, is continuously working on Flutters build step for Bitrise. The last release added the possibility to build appbundle for Android releases (read more about it here).

 

Is Flutter a good idea for every kind of mobile app?

 

There are a few cases when it’ s worth to consider if Flutter will be a proper solution:

 

  1. Progressive Web Apps & Instant Apps
    They need to be small and Flutter apps – even optimized – are bigger than native ones. The overhead varies from just a few to 20 megabytes, depending on whether it is a release or development build. Note that Google allows apps of max. 10MB.
  2. Apps which communicate with any hardware via Bluetooth
    If you want to develop an app with this kind of features and use Flutter, you can:

      1. Develop these features separately for iOS and for Android and then add them to the main Flutter app using platform channels. In this case, it’s hard to say if it will save you time more than if you would develop two 100% native applications.
      2. Develop these features for both platforms at the same time, using an existing Bluetooth plugin for Flutter – e.g.– FlutterBlue.

 

Wrap up & our recommendation

 

In our opinion, Flutter has many more advantages for business and development teams than risks. It’s a great chance to build beautiful, high-performance, and outstanding mobile apps that fit your custom needs and requirements. It’s worth considering Flutter, especially if you want an app both for iOS and Android.

 

-Metacoder