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What is Google’s Flutter framework for apps?

August 23, 2021 - Fifteen

Since iOS and Android have become the primary platforms for mobile application development, cross-platform applications have piqued the interest of both developers and app owners. As a result, various technologies have arisen to facilitate the development of cross-platform mobile applications.

What exactly is a Flutter?

Interestingly, Google began developing Flutter in 2015, but it remained in beta until late 2018 when it was formally introduced. Since then, its popularity and capabilities have undoubtedly increased. And there are several compelling reasons for this.

It began as an open-source mobile UI framework designed to assist developers in creating native-looking Android and iOS applications. However, Flutter has added capability for developing desktop, embedded, mobile, and web apps using the same codebase. Additionally, less code means fewer bugs.

It’s worth noting that Flutter apps are written in Google’s Dart programming language. In release mode, it is compiled Ahead-of-Time (AOT) into native code for numerous platforms, enabling Flutter to connect with the platform directly, without needing a JavaScript bridge (as in React Native, for example). These speeds up app setup and overall performance.

While the language is undoubtedly quick, object-oriented, and extremely strong, it frequently falls short compared to more mature technologies such as JavaScript or C#, which enable React Native and Xamarin, respectively.

In terms of competitiveness, while React Native and Xamarin continue to be more extensively utilized, Flutter is gaining traction. According to Tim Sneath of Google, approximately half a million developers currently utilize this UI framework monthly. Its integrated rendering engine, testing, integration APIs, and pre-built widgets make it a strong competitor to existing cross-platform mobile development technologies.

The advantages of Flutter development

What makes Flutter original, unique, and just better executed? Let’s look at the qualities that will convince you to forego classic tools in favor of modern ones.

Pre-built and bespoke widgets for rapid UI development

As previously stated, Flutter makes use of pre-built widgets. You might even argue that Flutter is a collection of widgets. One of the unique aspects of the product is how it assists in creating a user interface through the usage of these building pieces. When compared to alternative systems that use disparate objects (layouts, views, and controllers), Flutter’s object model is consistent and cohesive.

In Flutter, any object, from a button to padding or font, is a widget. Widgets can be used to form layouts, and you can customize them at any level – from pre-built building blocks to the most basic level when you develop your widgets using the same tools the Flutter team uses.

Flutter widgets are grouped in trees, convenient for rendering but may result in an overly complicated structure. Because large apps may take up to ten layers of code to generate a simple item, you’ll need to prepare the structure in advance.

Easy Learning and extensive documentation ensure an effortless start.

Given that you are already familiar with Dart mastering the tool itself should be straightforward. The Flutter team claims that they’ve seen individuals with very basic programming expertise prototype and build apps. No prior experience with mobile development is required to get started with Flutter.

Additionally, Google is well-known for its thorough and well-structured documentation, which React Native struggles with. Apart from the standard documentation, Codelabs offers video courses from the Google team and hands-on tasks. And these are only the resources that have been made publicly available. On Udemy and Udacity, you can browse hundreds of courses, join Facebook forums, and even join a Slack study group.

Google as a long-term guarantor of support

Because Google and Google back flutter is a heavy user of this technology, you can rest assured that it will receive ongoing maintenance. All bugs will be addressed immediately, and the product will continue to evolve well into the future.

Additionally, Google has been working on another project for years – Google Fuchsia. It is a free and open-source operating system built on top of the Zircon kernel. Google is creating Fuchsia UI and apps with Flutter to ensure cross-platform compatibility and performance. Thus, given its engagement in such a large-scale endeavor, we expect that Flutter will not be abandoned anytime soon.

Outstanding performance

The performance of an application is determined by a variety of factors, including the amount of CPU time used, the number of requests per second, the average response time, and the number of frames per second. The Flutter team guarantees a consistent 60 frames per second (or 120 frames per second on devices with 120Hz refresh rates), which is the pace at which current screens display a smooth image.

Flutter apps run faster due to direct code compilation, which eliminates the need for performance-degrading bridges.

To understand how well Flutter performs compared to Xamarin and React Native, see this research comparing Flutter, Xamarin, and React Native performance.

  • Flutter won the competition with a frame rate of 58 frames per second and a startup time of 220 milliseconds.
  • Xamarin launched in 345 milliseconds at 53 frames per second, while React Native launched in 229 milliseconds at 57 frames per second.

Additional comparisons were conducted with slightly different outcomes. According to thoughtbot, Flutter nearly equaled native app CPU utilization. Still, it consumed 50% more memory than React Native, whereas a recent performance analysis by inVerita demonstrated Flutter’s close match to native performance and React Native’s worst performance.

Portability

Flutter’s move from a mobile-centric to a portable and platform-agnostic framework was completed with the release of Flutter 2. The portability and compilation features of Dart enable the same codebase to be deployed across five major operating systems: iOS, Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Additionally, Google is expanding Flutter’s embedding capabilities to include automobiles, televisions, smart home appliances, and foldable devices.

Conclusion

As you can see, Flutter is one of the most cutting-edge mobile technologies available today. Flutter is an excellent choice for businesses wishing to develop applications for both iOS and Android. If you’re looking for apps with an amazing user interface and fast performance, Flutter is also the finest solution.

Flutter is not a panacea for all ills, but it is an extremely promising framework, given its breadth of coverage and ease of use.

Learn how you can use Google’s algorithm to your advantage here.

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