Flutter is a free and open-source UI software development kit created by Google. This was released in May 2017. Flutter can be used to develop cross platform applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Google from a single codebase. In simple words it allows you create a mobile application with only one codebase. The first version of Flutter was known as codename “Sky” and ran on the Android operating system. Flutter is now the top 11 software repos based on GitHub stars. There are thousands of Flutter apps that has been published on the app stores now.
This means that you can use one programming language and one codebase to create two different apps for iOS and Android both.
Flutter consists of two important parts:
- An SDK (Software Development Kit):
A software development kit (SDK) is a set of tools that provides a developer with the ability to build a custom app which can be added on, or connected to another program. SDKs allow programmers to develop apps for a specific platform.
- A Framework: A collection of reusable UI elements (buttons, text inputs, sliders, and so on) that can be personalized on our requirements.
To develop with Flutter, a programming language called Dart should be used. Dart is a client-optimized language to develop fast apps on any platforms. Its goal is to offer the most productive programming language for multi-platform development. This language was created on 2011 by Google and upgraded during the past years. Dart focuses on front-end development and this can be used to create mobile and web applications.
Flutter is different than any other mobile app development options, because it doesn’t rely on any web browser technology or the set of widgets. Instead, Flutter uses its own high-performance rendering engine to draw widgets.
How Flutter works?
The main idea behind Flutter is the use of widgets. The widgets combine with each other and helps the developer to build the entire UI. Each of these widgets defines a structural element (a button or menu), a stylistic element (a font or color scheme), a layout aspect (like padding), and many others.
Flutter is very different from its competitors in some key aspects. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Flutter app development better than other frameworks.
- Helps to save time and money
Flutter is a cross-platform development tool from which the same code base can be used to build both Android and iOS Apps. This can help the developer to save time and resources throughout the development process.
- Excellent performance
Flutter has its own widgets and uses Dart as its programming language. Dart compiles into native codes and flutter’s own widgets avoids the use of OEM. As a result, there’s less communication between the app and the platform. These two features ensure fast app startup times and fewer performance issues in general.
Since Flutter has its own widgets, the compatibility issues are relatively less. Developers will see fewer problems on different OS versions and can spend less time on testing the app on older OS versions. Also, you can be confident that your app will work on future OS versions.
Flutter is an open-source technology used by developers who provide support and contribute to the tool’s extensive documentation, and develop helpful resources. Both Dart and Flutter are free to use.
Flutter makes it possible for the designer to customize anything you see on the screen regardless of how complex it may be. Even though it’s possible to do a very custom UI on the native platforms, the amount of effort required is relatively high. However, Flutter makes the process more flexible and versatile without adding to the workload. Shared element transitions, shape/color/shadow manipulations, clipping, transformations anything can be done with the use of Flutter effortlessly.
- The Potential Ability to Go Beyond Mobile
Flutter helps us to go far beyond mobile app developments. There’s also Flutter for Web and Flutter Desktop Embeddings now
- Increased Time-to-Market Speed
Flutter is the most quickest compared to its alternatives. Flutter only takes fewer man hours compared to the same app developed separately for Android and iOS. The main reason is you just don’t have to write any platform-specific code to achieve the desired visuals in your application. Any 2D-based UI can be implemented in Flutter without interacting with a native application counterpart.
Why companies choose Flutter?
Building native apps is generally more expensive and time-consuming. Native apps is where a separate app for iOS and Android needs to be built separately. The performance of Flutter is excellent and it’s very simple to design a user experience that people love. Flutter has lots of great features that make it the perfect choice for Android and iOS apps like widgets and Hot Reload. That’s why it’s such a popular choice among developers and companies alike.
The Best Apps Built With Flutter
Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others are part of everyone’s day to day life. Even if we haven’t used this app personally, we should have surely received a recommendation while scrolling down the feed. Google Ads mobile app is a perfect example of an app built using Flutter. As the technology’s owner, Google leveraged a lot of Flutter’s potential and created a very useful tool for marketers. With the use of Google Ads real time alerts, tracking paid campaigns, ads manager and so many other benefits are possible.
Alibaba, one of the world’s biggest eCommerce website built their mobile app using Flutter. Alibaba chose Flutter as their technology because of its excellent design and development features as well as how easy it is to use for developers. This App is used by thousands of users every day. They need to handle big transactions across multiple different platforms in real-time, so the Flutter framework was a great choice.
Reflectly is a lifestyle app, driven by Artificial Intelligence. This custom built app made using Flutter allows its users to create stories in a personal journal, asks a new set of questions every day to reflect their day, able to unlock advanced statistics and more others
These are just few examples of Apps that were developed using Flutter. There are thousands of Apps made with Flutter on day to day use.