What is Flutter?

The tech designed to “build apps for any screen”, Flutter is the brainchild of Google that has been picked up by developers and brands across the globe. And, as mobile applications continue to soar in popularity, having a more streamlined way to code them makes perfect sense.

I’m new here…tell me about Flutter for beginners

Flutter is a free, complete SDK (software development kit) launched by Google in May 2017. Its primary purpose is to build native mobile apps using just one codebase. In other words, developers can create mobile applications for both iOS and Android without having to use multiple programming languages or platforms.

Flutter uses its own programming language, Dart, which was originally intended to act as a JavaScript replacement. Dart is optimised for the build of fast apps on any platform – that means going beyond mobile, to web, desktop and embedded devices, too.

Flutter is Google’s portable UI toolkit for crafting beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.

– FLUTTER.DEV

Did you know…

Flutter was used to create the Xianyu app, created by Alibaba, the world’s largest eCommerce company. The app has been downloaded by more than 50 million people!

What are the benefits of Flutter?

One stand-out advantage of Flutter is that it doesn’t restrict developers to a single platform. But it doesn’t stop there. Flutter proves itself to be a smart tech decision in more than one way.

  • Unlike most other cross-platform frameworks, Flutter actually enables the sharing of both the UI code and the UI itself. It doesn’t require platform-specific UI components to render the interface, so you can count on consistency across platforms.
  • Since Dart compiles into native code and Flutter has its own widgets, there’s minimal need for mediated communication between the app and platform. This improves both startup speed and performance.
  • Flutter provides a platform for fast, simple development. This is partly thanks to its “hot reload” feature, which enables the instant view of any changes made on emulators, simulators and hardware. Code quickly reloads during runtime, with no need to restart.
  • Widgets are a part of the app and so compatibility is good across different OS versions.
  • Since Flutter doesn’t call for platform-specific code to create visuals in an app, development is much faster than you’d expect for the same app developed twice – once for Android, and once for iOS.

What do we use Flutter for?

Flutter has been used to build apps for major companies, from Airbnb to Alibaba. It’s proved itself a good fit for the development of applications such as:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Travel apps
  • eCommerce
  • Internal process management in organisations
  • Finance & investment

The main Flutter components

FLUTTER SDK

The biggest part of flutter is its SDK (Software Development Kit). This encompasses the tools developers use to create their applications, such as libraries and documentation.

FLUTTER FRAMEWORK

The Flutter Framework is its UI library, which is based on widgets. This is a collection of elements that developers can use and personalise – such as buttons and sliders – that are already made and stored in the library.

Flutter vs React Native

Both Flutter and React Native get developers all excited for their own reasons. But as more companies adopt Flutter and the job market for the framework grows, is there room for both? Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between Flutter Vs. React Native. Assess the advantages and drawbacks of each before deciding on the best route for your app.

  • Created by Google in 2018.
  • Uses Dart as its programming language.
  • Apps look and behave naturally on each individual platform, and are able to imitate their native components.
  • Development is usually faster compared to native development.
  • May be more difficult to learn, since developers need to know Dart.
  • Suitable for apps that might go beyond mobile, such as embedded devices and PCs.
  • Created by Facebook, in 2015.
  • Uses JavaScript as its programming language.
  • A third-party library may be needed to create an app that looks the same across platforms.
  • Development is also fast, but may require optimisation for each platform, which can slow things down.
  • Uses JavaScript, a widely-used language, so it’s probably easier to learn React Native.
  • Ideal for simple and lightweight apps – a handy benefit in the era of small wearable devices.

Can anyone learn Flutter?

There’s no doubt that Flutter is a good skill to learn, as the tech gains legs in industries across the world. In order to use it, it makes sense to first learn Dart, the official programming language. If you already have some experience with another OOP (object-oriented programming) language, learning Dart should be relatively simple.

Now, Flutter is unlike the tech you’re used to, since everything is a widget. Even the app itself. For that reason, it’s not as user-intuitive as you might hope. However, once you get your head around this model (and Dart) you’ll be well on your way to building modern, native apps.

The best thing of all? Learning how to write a single codebase in Flutter lets you build applications for Android, iOS and the web.

Some of the major companies said to have Flutter firmly in their tech stack:

  • ALIBABA
  • GOOGLE
  • BMW
  • PHILIPS
  • AIRBNB
  • UBER
  • TOYOTA
  • EBAY
  • ETSY
  • AMAZON

Our Yolkers have this covered

Adding Flutter to your tech stack means equipping your organisation with the capabilities organisations such as Google and eBay rely on. Building cost-effective apps quickly is where Flutter excels, and our Yolkers have a specialist-level understanding of the kit. If you’re considering building an app with Flutter, partner with Double Yolk to bring a skilled offshore team to your business.