Moving to Flutter

Mobile and web development technology moves very fast; year after year, many new tools or frameworks emerge. To create a mobile app, you need to hire a native specialist developer such as an android developer, iOS developer, etc. It ideally takes two developers if an application should run in two environments. On the other hand, with cross-platform tools, you only need one development and can deploy it to multi environments; it means one developer is enough instead of two or more. One of these cross-platform tools is Flutter.

Based on its official website, Flutter is a user interface toolkit to create a native application running on mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase, using Dart as its programming language. Flutter itself was founded by Google, releasing its first version in 2018 at the Flutter Live event. The presence of Flutter has led some companies to use it as the solution to their application development. So, why do those companies decide to use flutter? The below-given features are the reasons.

Single Codebase

From single codebase, Flutter can be deployed to multiple platforms such as Android, IOS, Web, and Desktop. This feature has allowed many companies to use cross-platform development toolkits such as React Native, Xamarin, etc. Because of this, a staffing problem can be solved. You don’t need to hire a specialist for each programming language for each platform; where each specialist has to learn Kotlin for Android, Swift for IOS, JavaScript for web, etc.

Besides, there is no need to allocate the cost and time for the existing staff to learn. In contrast, they just need to learn Dart to use Flutter. It is mentioned in their blog that any teams, who can build mobile apps, could also build apps anywhere.

Natively

Flutter uses Dart not only for its programming language but also for its runtime. Quoted from Darts official website, Flutter has a flexible compiler technology which runs Dart codes based on the target platform such as Dart Native, which compiled a dart code to native ARM or X64 machine for mobile, desktop and server. While Dart Web compiles a dart code to JavaScript for the web.

In Flutter, there is no need for a bridge to compile the dart code to the machine, in contrast to other toolkits like React Native, which requires a bridge to compile JavaScript to the mobile. It means flutter can run smoothly on the mobile and the developer can make the debugging process fast.

Stateful Hot Reload

After changing the code, the result can be seen directly without having to restart the application, and Flutter preserves the state. Based on its official website, hot reload updates the widget tree after the Dart VM (Dart Virtual Machine) has updated classes or libraries based on new updated code injected into the Dart VM. It means you do not need to restart the application or re-run the application from the start.

It is very effective for simple updates like updating the color of the widget, changing the size of the widget, etc. This feature is amazing, and it can reduce the development time and make the development cycle three times more productive. Based on the interview  done by The Droids on Droids with companies like Alibaba and KlasterMe which use Flutter, it is said that hot reload makes the development process fast.

Testing

Before publishing an application, you need to test it to ensure the application runs as expected. You can do the testing automatically by using CI/CD tools. With Flutter, it can be completed easily. Based on the official website, there are three testing approaches: unit testing, widget testing, and integration testing. Testing on other tools or frameworks depends on the outside, while flutter doesn’t need dependency from the outside. It makes it one of the reasons why Nubank chose Flutter as their mobile development technology

To Sum Up

Before delivering the application to the user, a company must give its best and consider what the other companies have done. For example, reevaluating the tools required and parts needed to accelerate the application development process, and reassessing the needs of the development team. Flutter has been chosen as a preferred development tool because Flutter fulfils these requirements. You can find other features offered by Flutter, by visiting their official website.

Author:
Tommy Toban – Analyst Programmer

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