The debate of hybrid vs native applications has been around for a really long time- dating even before Android and iOS achieved a virtual duopoly and Symbian, Blackberry, among others were considered an essential mobile platform. But now that all those platforms are lost in oblivion and there are only two platforms to bridge (Android and iOS), hybrid apps are finally starting to take lead and is widely considered to be the future of mobile apps.
For that reason, a wide range of sophisticated hybrid app development tools like Xamarin, React Native, among which Flutter are available. A product of Google, Flutter is a lot like those other tools in terms of functionality but is quite different in terms of procedure. Now before we get further into specifics, there are two key concepts of Flutter that must be introduced:
Using Flutter, developers can directly create UI on canvas of both iOS and Android- the Dart code of which is then compiled to machine code. This ensures a smooth UI and transition- a feature most of the hybrid frameworks lack.
While it can work independently, it can also source and export components to the native platforms of both iOS and Android SDKs. This makes the code highly reusable and enables it to use features beyond its core SDK.
What’s special about Flutter
When a developer actually gets down to building an app, there are three broad considerations:
The Initial Barrier
This includes the aspects like familiarity with the language and corresponding process, creating packages, managing states and all the boilerplate code before the actual production phase begins. Flutter simply excels in this regard except for one problem. When building Android apps or even iOS apps for that matter with Flutter, there are no packages or layouts to be created, no states to be managed, and no boilerplate code to insert. The developers can start real productive work right from the start by creating stateless widgets- to which, parameters can be later added as the application takes shape.
The one problem is that it uses a new language- Dart, which nobody is familiar with! But given that it loosely resembles C, that gap is expected to disappear soon.
Ease Of Development
Once actual development begins, the next consideration is the simplicity and includes factors like modularity, available components, and more. Flutter is reasonably good in this regard as well- particularly owing to its Bridge that helps it source components from native SDKs and gives a major boost to code reusability and by extension, the speed of development.
Cost Of Development
This includes not only the financial costs involved in hiring Android app developers but also the cost of the application itself including factors like the size and speed of app, the time of development, and even the cost of components. As Flutter is an open source tool, there are no additional financial costs involved while in terms of app costs; applications developed in Flutter are known to have fewer lines of codes- translating into better performance and maintenance.
Now given all these benefits, Flutter is definitely a feasible option but to count it among the best, you would need to evaluate it not in a vacuum but keeping competition in mind. And if you look at the current market trends, React Native is considered the best hybrid app development platform. The point being, when we pitch Flutter vs React Native, the one that comes out on the top will eventually rule the hybrid app development space. In that aspect,
- Flutter is simple to set up and applications are relatively faster.
- It has built-in navigator and data management solutions
- It also offers better animation- a detrimental factor for many app projects.
- Flutter uses a relatively unknown language Dart.
- It misses out on key features of JSX- that a wide community of developers relies upon.
Overall when you have to build an app, Flutter is by all regards, a reasonably good option. And if you are building your project from scratch with no strict preferences in terms of language, it can be easily counted among the best.