Today, the number of active iOS and Android devices reaches the point of billions of units.
That promotes significant market opportunities and allows businesses to attract a broad and
diverse customer base. With modern cross-platform solutions, organizations can build both
Android and iOS apps simultaneously. They will also provide faster delivery, and the
development costs will be lower.
Flutter is among the most popular and widely used cross-platform frameworks. It allows creating apps that perform on Android and iOS, along with web and desktop. Below, we will analyze the key pros and cons of Flutter, determine what makes the Flutter app development unique, and compare it to React Native and Xamarin.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a software development kit (SDK) used to build cross-platform app development
solutions that are incredibly fast-moving and engaging. This relatively new technology was
developed by Google in 2015. Flutter apps are built using an object-oriented programming
language called Dart. The particular software development solution supports compiling code
on different platforms using a single code base.
But in 2020, Flutter app development received improved functionality. Now, a million developers implement Flutter SDK for building web and desktop applications. That makes Flutter apps unique in terms of the cross-platform development process. Also, Flutter apps need no intermediate components for connecting to device features like Bluetooth. That promotes better performance and provides an outstanding user experience (UX).
What can you build with Flutter?
Nowadays, Flutter app development is a popular tool for creating applications in different large companies, including Alibaba, Airbnb, and Uber. Flutter developers can build apps for the retail industry, banking institutions, fintech companies, or large enterprises.
Modern retail apps built with Flutter provide a suite of fundamental functions. For example, such software development solutions allow customers to search through the catalog and existing promotions, compare the available products, or check the current balance of their loyalty cards. Thus, writing separate code for both platform channels is incredibly wasteful. But since the Flutter development team deals with this task efficiently, you should consider building a Flutter app for your retail company.
Bank and fintech apps
When it comes to the banking industry, there are many new app development technologies. But
Flutter app development may be safer compared to developing native apps. That is because the
Flutter app builder does not require reversing engineers. After all, the sources compile
into native code, and humans cannot read them.
At the same time, apps made with Flutter often implement different security technologies, including Touch ID, Face ID, and a fingerprint scanner. Therefore, Flutter app development is not different from native development because of using native APIs.
Unfortunately, the budget for different internal mobile development solutions is several or
even many times lower compared to client mobile app products. Meanwhile, the ROI of such app
development solutions is also often lower. That makes investing in these apps not advisable.
Besides, an internal mobile app is unpretentious to the user interface. It means that
employees must work with mobile development products offered by their employees since they
have no alternatives.
However, if your organization intends to conduct mobile business and create its information system, things become more complicated. In this case, you have to support multiple platforms and numerous smartphone models. That is where Flutter app development comes in handy.
What makes Flutter unique?
If your organization has ever developed mobile apps using relevant cross-platform
technologies like React Native or Xamarin, the code will pass through a bridge or switch. In
turn, such a bridge or switch allows compiling the code into a certain webview using
However, Flutter makes it possible to render cross-platform apps natively rather than forcing a platform to do that. Besides, the only thing the Flutter app development needs is a canvas. That allows rendering widgets on the screen and accessing events like a tap or services like the camera on the user’s device.
Flutter compiles the code into the relevant ARM code using Dart’s support to ensure just-in-time (JIT) and ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation. In this case, Flutter can target the device’s ARM. Such an approach promotes greater consistency. Also, it makes Flutter applications incredibly fast and responsive.
Pros of Flutter development
Of course, there are numerous Flutter pros and cons, but the first ones allow this technology to stay ahead of its competitors. These Flutter pros make it possible to solve issues and drawbacks that native development technologies cannot address.
The Dart programming language serves as an efficient tool that a Flutter team implements to optimize and tailor app UI development. This language provides a clean and powerful syntax, which allows building a clear architecture and designing Android and iOS apps. Also, Dart ensures coherence of engineers, easy maintenance, following common standards, etc.
Hot reload function
Flutter’s architecture includes the hot reload feature that requires no additional plugins to perform. Hot reload enables your developers to see updates in real-time. Besides, hot reload allows increasing engineers’ productivity, maintaining quick iterations, and experimenting with no long delays. At the same time, other cross-platform frameworks also have similar features. For example, Xamarin contains XAML Hot Reload. But in the case of web apps developed with Flutter – there is no hot reload function yet.
A Flutter team compiles relevant applications into machine code thanks to the specific graphics and visualization engine. Such an engine is built into C/C++. That makes cross-platform applications incredibly fast and well-performed. In addition, Flutter gives companies better productivity due to available platform APIs and integration APIs. It is one of the most prominent Flutter pros that also serves as a decisive factor to transit to Flutter.
Mid learning curve
When considering the pros and cons of Flutter app development outsourcing, there is a need to discuss its learning curve. Therefore, the growing popularity of Flutter among software engineers depends on the available detailed documentation, along with numerous examples. That is important for those who want to learn about developing progressive web apps for multiple platforms using Flutter, its suite of tools, and a programming language. Besides, it is critical for experienced developers since they can find and fix current bugs easily.
Saving time and money
Your dedicated development team can build Flutter’s MVP applications just in 2-3 months. That makes the development cycle about 30% cheaper than building two native apps. Therefore, more and more organizations consider Flutter as the opportunity for going online fast and expanding their impact. At the same time, saving time and money also means improving the existing project management processes. That is because the right project management allows reducing the time-to-market and delivering new features faster.
Cons of Flutter development
You cannot find any uncompromising app development solution, and Flutter mobile app products are not an exception. Below, we will briefly describe the most critical cons of Flutter app development.
Flutter developers flaw
Although everything can work correctly in the Flutter mobile development process, it may be significantly hard to create a Flutter team. Probably each business project will struggle with the following risks related to Flutter app development:
- The relevant labor market is just forming, although there are numerous Android app and iOS apps developers. Such a situation is among the worst cons of Flutter.
- The majority of job seekers are relatively new to this mobile app development technology. Despite the existing pros and cons of Flutter, engineers find it hard to get the appropriate experience.
Ultimately, building a strong Flutter team that consists of 5 developers may become a challenging task.
A limited suite of tools
The Flutter framework is considered a new app development framework used to build cross-platform mobile app solutions, but there are already many Flutter pros and cons. Among the main cons of Flutter is that lots of its functions are in A/B testing. Thus, they may sometimes work incorrectly. Although the current pros and cons, Flutter has to provide the required tools, extend functionality, and continue growing its community.
Massive file size
Now, users of mobile app solutions have no desire to sacrifice different songs, games, or photos in favor of new apps. Thus, the mobile development team should aim to build the smallest application size. Software engineers can use various tricks for minimizing code size. That includes avoiding animations, reducing images, and implementing minimal packages or libraries. Therefore, poor results are among the key cons of Flutter. For example, a 4MB Flutter app can weigh about 500KB on other development platforms.
Weak support for iOS features
Since Flutter is one of Google’s products, it does not provide the appropriate support for iOS features. Although most of Flutter’s functions perform efficiently on Android, there are many issues with iOS. For instance, when users take photos on Apple devices, a relevant app development solution deletes all the EXIF information. Such a situation is among the most critical cons of Flutter because photos have the wrong orientation. Also, there is no location, date, and correct gamma.
Inappropriate password management support
Implementing not native components also has its disadvantages. In this case, there can be issues using the particular Android and iOS features. Besides, Flutter mobile development solutions have significant problems related to autocompleting input fields, which is also one of the most widespread cons of Flutter. That is incredibly noticeable when implementing password extraction from various password managers.
Will Flutter replace React Native and Xamarin?
Analyzing the tremendous increase in Flutter apps in the last few years and considering
Google’s constant support, it is clear that Flutter app development will stay popular. Also,
the Flutter community will continue to grow since more and more engineers appreciate Flutter
pros and become its loyal fans.
Why and when should you use Flutter?
All projects are individual in their needs and budgets. However, there can be several critical cases when Flutter cross-platform app development is the right option.
When you need the application fast, or you are building an MVP
FFlutter helps develop mobile apps significantly fast. Apart from being a cross-platform
SDK, Flutter provides the specific builder tool and numerous UI elements that your company
may implement. Flutter enables you to write code, fix issues, and perform testing quickly.
Thus, if time is the most critical point for your software development, building a Flutter
app is crucial.
When developing a minimal viable product (MVP), Flutter app development is the most suitable option. Your company may need it for the presentation or release an MVP to the users for testing. After all, Flutter SDK helps develop incredibly smooth and easy-to-use minimal viable products.
When your organization needs a complex UI
Flutter mobile app development traditionally allows controlling all pixels on the screen. Besides, your cross-platform mobile apps will have the same look on both new and old devices. Thanks to the Flutter app builder, you can create a complex and impressive user interface (UI) that will not affect app performance.
When you want to obtain an excellent app performance
When you struggle with serious time pressure
Thanks to the very fast code-writing, Flutter SDK can speed up the whole development process. That makes Flutter preferable by the development team. Besides, the hot reload feature allows fixing bugs, making changes, and experimenting incredibly easy. Finally, you have to use Flutter to reduce the time required for testing activities.
Of course, there are some critical drawbacks of the Flutter app development, and you should
know them. If your company is significantly concerned about the application’s look and feel
and believes that you can code different features in native languages and then integrate
these features to Dart, you may think about developing native apps.
On the other hand, using Flutter provides excellent benefits, including faster development and cost savings. The relevant pros of Flutter may serve as a game-changer when you need to spend your budget cautiously and get your solution to market faster. It means that Flutter lets your organization validate a minimal viable product idea quicker, start user testing at the early stages, and save money. Ultimately, if such benefits seem good for your company, you can consider Flutter development the right option.