Advantages and Disadvantages of Flutter
There are plenty of cross-platform app development frameworks today, and you have a number of reasons to choose one or the other. In a previous article, we talked about another cross-platform framework, React Native that’s been widely used, and a number of reasons on why it would or would not be a good choice for you.
In this article, the discussion is about Flutter, another top-in-the-market cross platform app for developing mobile apps, web and desktop. Let’s explore the benefits of this great platform, and look at some of the pros and cons of using it.
What is Flutter?
Flutter has an impressive parent because it was built by Google. The biggest highlight of the framework is that it helps developers create mobile, web and desktop apps using a single codebase. That’s the main appeal of the framework. Now developers can just use Flutter to create both iOS and Android apps. With the framework, developers found it easier to streamline their processes for greater efficiency and accuracy.
Flutter’s SDK makes it possible to build native applications on both iOS and Android. SDK is short for Software Development Kit and these tools form an important component in the framework.
Areas where Flutter can make an impact
In this section we will be talking about different industries that adopt Flutter successfully. Let’s check out the common ones:
The one main feature of banking applications is its security. Flutter is a good choice for the banking sector because it doesn’t require any intermediary apps. Powered by Dart, you don’t need to have any intermediary apps with Flutter because it is secure, and there is no need to worry about hackers stealing their way in. Since this is a very important feature for banking apps, most banks rely on the security features and compliance with regulations to help keep sensitive data safe. Dart developers work with biometric authentication to include Face and Touch ID to ensure security to users.
Retail apps need to have a lot of features integrated into them – product catalogue, comparison, recommendations, out of stock, promotions, offers and endless others. Not to speak of the security in the multiple payment gateways. This was why developers had to develop separately for different platforms, because cross-platform availability wasn’t so accurate or functional then.
Additionally, many companies relied on Flutter to develop internal apps to help communicate with their suppliers and franchisees. Normally, the budget for internal apps is low when compared to client apps, and Flutter is the most economical and feasible option around.
However, Flutter is not suitable for developing video apps because they have certain limitations when it comes to UI rendering.
Flutter might not be a good choice when you are building an AR app. AR or Augmented Reality apps might not work well with cross-platform apps because they need correct integration with native platforms. For example, a furniture store displaying 3D animated views of their products, or an auto business that showcases their products in animated style; these all require in-depth integration with the platforms.
However, there could be a library that’s come in recently so the framework can access the device’s AR capabilities.
What makes Flutter different from the rest of the tribe
Flutter is indeed a unique framework for building mobile apps because it doesn’t rely on web browser technologies or use the widgets that come with each device. Flutter is capable of utilising its own rendering engine to draw widgets. Of course, there are some excellent features to Flutter that makes it really appealing to the developers.
Features of Flutter
Below is a list of the biggest advantages of Flutter, and how it can make great apps look super awesome. Check out the features of Flutter:
Uses widgets as its core element
One of the features that attract developers to Flutter is that it uses widgets as its crucial element. Because of this, developers will be able to see the changes they are making in real time, and this is a huge time-saver, especially while developing basic UI elements.
Easy for developers to work with native functionalities
Flutter is noted for its special communication method known as Platform Channels that helps connect data to native languages. Flutter’s libraries let you connect with the device hardware (microphone, camera, GPS chips, etc).
The Hot Reload feature
One of the biggest advantages, and obviously one of the best features of Flutter is the Hot Reload feature. As the name suggests, developers can see right away the changes they made to the codes. They no longer have to wait and see the changes they have made, and how it actually looks. This is a great feature because it doesn’t need any plugins. When you catch errors when the program is running, you can correct it in real-time.
High performance rendering engine
Flutter features a top performing rendering engine to do the rendering of apps cross-platform without making changes to the UI, irrespective of the platform. It uses skin to do the rendering across multiple platforms.
The performance is almost native
Many users claim that the performance of Flutter apps and native apps cannot be distinguished.
Low costs for the company
Companies no longer need to hire different developers for developing different apps for native platforms. Flutter developers can make certain changes to the coding (the coding time is cut by half), and you can basically get two apps for the price of one.
An incredible community
Flutter is known for its incredible communities, like Flutter Awesome and Flutter Community, so the developers are always communicating and exchanging ideas. The robust documentation of the framework ensures that the developers never get stuck along the way.
Problems with Flutter
Dart is an advantage, and a disadvantage too
Not to easy to find free packages and libraries
Lack of third-party libraries is a challenge for Flutter, because the platform is fairly new and it might not be possible to find a feature when you need it.
Large file sizes
Sadly, Flutter developer apps have large size, and often users might find it difficult to find sufficient storage space for the apps, especially with older devices.
The iOS support is not so great
Flutter still has to go a long way when it comes to iOS support, because some of the SDK functions that work well on Android might not work on iOS
Conclusion – Should you go for Flutter?
Flutter is indeed an incredible platform that would help develop desktop, mobile and web applications. With a little bit of tweaking, you can basically use the same code base and develop native applications. Since it is an open suite, it comes with certain interesting out-of-the-box solutions that your developers can explore. Flutter’s Dart written in plain English makes all the difference as it can easily compile to native code.
The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.