The Good and the Bad of Flutter App Development

Krunal Shah

May 12, 2021 | 8 min read

Flutter App Development

Don’t you just love it when it’s a bright sunny day outside, the winds are the perfect temperature with the laden aroma of waffles wafting in it, and you have just the right kind of app development tools handy to set you up with the perfect app of your dreams? Well, not to be that guy, but I have got to say that in the software development world, there is no such thing as the perfect tool. Perfect would be having Jarvis by your side to build the entire app for you with careful attention, right down to the most basic details. Unfortunately, no one yet has come up with that kind of technology (at least not for mass use). There are, however, close second and third favorite options. And, would you believe it, we’re about to discuss one of them right away. Flutter app development.

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Flutter App Development

Apart from how cool the name sounds, Flutter is almost like an omnipresent app development framework in the market today. If you have used the internet for your business lately, chances are, you have engaged in using an app built on the Flutter Framework. Google Pay, check, Google Ads, check, Alibaba, check, NuBank, Tencent, BMW, and so on and so forth. Flutter has surely given wings to some of the top brands around the world.

hummingbird wings

So, what is Flutter?

Flutter is Google’s mobile app SDK, complete with a framework, widgets, and tools, that gives developers an easy way to build and deploy visually attractive, fast mobile apps on both Android and iOS platforms.

The entire web and app development community seems pretty charmed with this winged development framework. Regardless of whether you opt to work with it or not, if you belong in the app development sphere it is important to know all the pros and cons of Flutter Development. Every tool has its own risks and unless you are completely aware of them all, it is futile to begin an assignment using its majesty. So, without any further ado, let us take flight by outlining the pros of Flutter development and then analyzing the cons of Flutter development.

The Basics

There are some basic characteristics of Flutter Framework that has most developers drooling over it, but we would not necessarily categorize them as Pros. They are:

Flutter App Development

1.      The Flutter App Development Framework is Open Source. This means it is entirely free to work with.

2.      Flutter has been developed using the same building blocks of React, which essentially means that its architecture stems from the Reactive Programming that is extremely popular today.

3.      Flutter Development comes with its own bundle of Widgets. These widgets are fast, they’re very good to look at, and, as if on cue that developers are hungry for something more, they’re customizable.

4.      Judging by the number of stars on GitHub (119k for Flutter as opposed to just 95k for React Native) Flutter has quickly become the apple of the eyes of savvy developers.

5.      Flutter offers readily available UI elements that are created to suit the most specific platform guidelines which go a long way in helping developers build their apps a lot faster and seamlessly.

So, now that we’ve covered the basic elements, let’s get to the bottom of the pot, where the best bits of meat lie.

Flutter App Development

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Top Pros of Flutter app development

1.   Flutter isn’t just your average Library

So, in the universe of app development, most people rely on a good library to facilitate their coding requirements. A library helps developers pick up a piece of code that is pre determined to complete a particular functionality. While that assists in a large way to ensure that the most basic features of the app are dealt with, it leaves a lot of room for construction of the app. For instance, even if you had access to the right library, you’d need a framework to help create the entire app structure on.

The biggest advantage of working with Flutter, in my opinion, is the fact that it is not just a library or even a basic framework. It is a holistic SDK, which stands for Software development Kit. It will help you create amazing apps all by itself. Whatever you need to build your dream app or that for your client, Flutter has got it. It has got tools, APIs, Frameworks and libraries to play with.

2.   Omni-usable and Portable

So, basically, Flutter was initially created to help create mobile apps. Everything that it was made of was originally mobile centric alone. With Flutter 2, Google came through on its promise of continuous evolution and made sure that this app development framework could work on ANY platform.

This means that Flutter would allow you to create apps for:

a.      iOS

b.      Android

c.      Linux

d.      Mac OS

e.      Windows

What else can you ask for!

3.   Superior Performance

When it comes to app performance, there are many fine aspects that contribute to a seamless user experience. Whether it is the visibility of the screen on the click of a button or the actions entailed, high performance can be an oversimplification of everything that goes on in making sure that the app works perfectly.

Flutter assures developers that for apps developed using it, it will ensure that there is a stable 60 fps or even as high as 120 fps for devices that can handle 120 Hz updates. This is considered superior performance aimed at displaying a smooth picture on modern devices.

For a more in depth analysis of how Flutter fares against its competitors, you might want to take a look at this research.

4.   Wealth of documentation and probably the easiest to learn

What does a developer want? He or she wants to be able to access the prowess of continuously evolving technology without having to labor through excessive training each time there’s a new kid on the block, which in technology’s case is almost equivalent to a continuum.

This is where Flutter seems to garner the most loyalty as compared to its competitors. Flutter possibly showcases the easiest learning curve. It is extremely intuitive, meaning, it allows developers to work their way through it without having to spend hours on learning it as a new ‘something’.

The wealth of documentation that backs Flutter makes it extremely easy for people to simply get what they need when they need it. I mean, really, Google knows exactly how to create detailed but not exhaustive documentation. As if that’s not enough to keep the development gods happy, there are tons of videos that explain every functionality of Flutter and help the developer turn into a gorgeous swan. And if all of this isn’t doing the trick for you, there’s a study group on Slack as well!

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Cons of Flutter Development

I did not want to sound like a broken record going ‘yay’ before each and every pro, so for the benefit of appearing all too impartial, I have outlined a few cons that you might want to know more about before taking the proverbial flight with Flutter.

So, with a heavy heart, here it goes.

1. Requires a little extra hard work for apps that use Bluetooth to communicate with hardware

In order to create an app that uses Bluetooth to communicate with hardware, the developer has to create the features separately for Android as well as iOS. After doing this, they can use the pre existing Bluetooth plug-in of Flutter to integrate it into the final app. While this doesn’t sound like much of a con, I’m not entirely sure if it is in fact better to simply create two separate apps for iOS and Android that are totally native rather than isolating just the features and making that work. You can be the judge of that, but for me, it is a bit of a letdown.

2. Libraries aren’t as conducive for native development

Okay, fair disclaimer, the jury on this one is still out. While some developers swear by Flutter’s extensive libraries, others are of the opinion that while the library itself is quite impressive, it isn’t too conducive for native app development.

Now, in my experience, a lot of this preference depends on the developer and his or her comfort or affinity towards building each functionality. My team has never really complained to do so, but I have known some really great developers who find the lack of availability of each functionality in the library a little distasteful. Once again, it depends a lot on what your app is going to be like and how proficient your team is with building it.

In all honestly, when Flutter SDK was still in Beta, I would have found a couple of other points as cons but the development gods and Google have been kind to us and since it is no longer in Beta, many new changes such as a new CI/ CD system specifically for Flutter (Codemagic), Bitrise’s Flutter CI launched in 2019, and a few more.

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That’s it!

At the risk of sounding highly partial, my recommendation is to definitely give Flutter app development a shot. If nothing else you will be able to get a feel of how the system works and gauge for yourself whether it is most suited for your business needs. Now, become aware, if you are to develop using Flutter SDK, you must give yourself a chance to go through some of the top apps mentioned above that have been built using Flutter app development. Knowing how the final app feels will ensure that you know what to expect from your own application at the end of the day.

Also, we like to think of ourselves as a community of the undefeated, but if it is the first time for you with Flutter Framework, don’t shy away from taking notes from the Slack study group. Believe me, it works.

Think of Flutter mobile development as the Superman of this horizon. While it is pretty much invincible, it does have its kryptonite. We’ll probably take up a different blog post altogether to discuss everything that you should avoid doing while working with Flutter development to ensure that your final result isn’t too far away from the one that you conceived in your head.

But, having said that, the most important thing to consider before getting into any kind of app development is to take a long and hard look at the final purpose of the app. Is it a business app? Are you hoping to facilitate any kind of payment using it? What kinds of payment gateways or APIs will you need and so on and so forth. Once that is sorted, Flutter will take care of the rest. Mic drop.

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Krunal Shah

Krunal Shah is the CTO and Co-founder at Third Rock Techkno. With extensive experience gained over a decade, Krunal helps his clients build software solutions that stand out in the industry and are lighter on the pocket.

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