What is Flutter?
Flutter is Google’s open-source user interface (UI) software development kit (SDK). From a signal codebase, it can develop beautiful apps for mobile; Android and iOS, desktop; Linux, Windows and MAC, and the web. This means that with just using one programming language along with this framework, two different apps (for Android and iOS) can be made. Furthermore, these apps are natively compiled, meaning they work with the device’s operating system (OS) to allow them to perform faster and have more flexibly.
How does it work?
The framework includes the Flutter engine, a Foundation library, and widgets. The steps to develop using Flutter differs from others. With Flutter, a developer needs to start at the end, so they need to have some idea of what the end-product would look like. The main idea is that developers can build the UI of the app by using and combining different widgets. The ability to combine different widgets and nesting them allows for custom widgets to be created that can represent any object. Widgets are able to influence each other and use built-in functions to trigger events.
Who is using Flutter?
There is quite a number of recognisable companies that uses Flutter in some way to develop their apps. There are many other apps that have used Flutter, read more about them here. The blog post also includes some videos about the developers and their experience with this framework.
Should you use Flutter?
If you are planning to develop applications, whether it's for mobile, the web or PC, and have stumbled upon Flutter. There are few things that need to be considered before driving into developing with it. Here are some pros and cons to Flutter. Whether the pros outweigh the cons depends on you.
Flutter offers ‘hot-reload’, which allows developers to see changes they have made to the code straight away. The changed code is reloaded almost instantly as the app is always running. Developers do not need to waste time constantly restarting the app. This makes fixing bugs, adding new features, and building widgets much easier. Being able to see the result immediately saves a good amount of time during development.
Flutter provides many beautiful and customisable widgets for a developer to create their UI. These widgets will help make the app look and feel great. This framework also uses the open-source, high-performance graphics engine Skia. It will give developers the means to create apps with amazing designs that are in compliance with best practices and standards.
With Flutter, develops are create apps for both Android and iOS at the same time. The framework will make it work even with the differences between the platforms. So there will be fewer problems when adapting an app to each of the OS. This will lower the time and money needed to develop two separate apps that do the same thing.
Large File Size
The apps developers using Flutter will most likely be bigger than other apps. Even with the storage capacity on current mobile devices being quite large, the file size of an app is still important considering there would be more than one app on the device. For example, a simple hello world app made using Flutter is about 5 to 7 MB. While the same app in their native counterpart is only about 500 KB. Moreover, as the size increases, it will take longer to download and update.
Lacking Third-Party Libraries
Flutter is still pretty new. With that in mind, most of the important libraries are already in place. While new ones are being added slowly. Third-party libraries can help speed up the development drastically. But, if a developer needs to use a specific library not found in Flutter, it will be difficult and time-consuming. They may also need to implement different ones for the different platforms for it to work.
To use Flutter, developers are required to learn Dart first. This adds an extra step of learning on top of learning how to use this framework, which is time-consuming. That being said, Dart being similar to java and C#. Developers familiar with these will find Dart easy to pick up. On the other hand, for non-developers, learning both Dart and how to use Flutter might be a bit harder and will take some time.
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