Flutter App Development Guide: What’s Good And What’s Bad About Flutter?
Along with dominating the search engine market, Google is a company that has developed tons of products. Among them, there are both not that cool apps, environments, and tools (think Goggles, Lively, or Wave) and some really great ones (Android, Gmail, Chrome). The list of the products, technologies, and tools that fall into the latter category is much longer — and here, we'll talk about one of them.
It's called Flutter and it's an almost perfect toolkit for cross-platform development. In simple terms, thanks to this tool, the developers don't need to do the work twice and the clients don't need to spend twice for the same app for iOS and Android. Obviously, Flutter has both strong and weak sides — and here, we'll talk about them. We’ll also compare Flutter to React Native to help you understand which one will work better for you. Basically, we’ll provide you all the most useful info about Flutter without entering into too many technical details.
TL;DR: Flutter works great for mobile development but lacks libraries. If you need a very small app or the app that must be updated through hot pushes, choose React Native. If you want to save time, to build an app prototype as fast as possible, or simply to get a good app for a good price, choose Flutter.
Advantages & Drawbacks
It's cheaper. First of all, that’s directly related to the previous point — most developers are paid hourly so the faster your app is created the less you pay. The average React Native developer salary is $120,000 in the US while for Flutter developers, it's only $115,000. So, not only your app will be developed faster, but also the hourly rates of Flutter devs are lower!
There are lots of plugins and widgets. The community is growing really fast so adding new features and extending the functionality of the app is not a problem anymore. Most plugins work on both iOS and Android thus making app development much easier. The same is about the widgets that make building the UI of your app easier and faster.
It's easy to find an outsourcing team that works with Flutter. As you’ve probably heard, outsourcing your mobile app development is a great idea — it can save your money, time, and your nerves, of course. The good news is that there are lots of Ukrainian, Chinese, and Indian outsourcing development companies with thousands of experienced Flutter developers. Yojji, for example, has a lot of experience with Flutter and provides high-quality Flutter development services for a reasonable price!
Dart language. Although Flutter is one of the best toolkits to create a great high-quality app, the language it's written in, Dart, is not actually that great. It doesn't change anything for the client but some developers complain that the code generation is quite troublesome, that there is no JSON support, no tests for submodules, and that the quality of the media plugins (e.g video player) is far from perfect. Again, it doesn't mean anything for you as a client because the devs know how to deal with all those issues. We've added this part simply to show that Flutter is still not 100% great.
Upskilling is required. That's not the kind of problem you need to worry about if you're a client who wants to hire a developer. That’s the problem you'll face if the devs in your company haven't worked with this SDK before. Even though Dart and Flutter are not that hard to learn, it will still take around 1-2 months for a developer who knows any object-oriented language to adapt to Flutter. Upskilling your team is always time-consuming and expensive — but it's not the problem you'll face if you hire an outsourcing team.
Few libraries. Don't get us wrong, there are lots of native Flutter libraries that work great, but when it comes to third-party libraries, things aren't looking that great. The number of solutions on Flutter is lower than the number of packages available for native development/React Native. The bright side is that Flutter is continuously growing and the situation with the third-party libraries is much better now than it was in 2018 or 2019.
Flutter vs React Native: which one is better?
Both Flutter and React Native are extremely popular when it comes to cross-platform development. Now, when you already know the strong and the weak sides of Flutter, let's proceed to the quick comparison of Flutter and React Native. We won’t compare the cost, the number of libraries, and the speed here — all these are already covered above. Let’s focus on UI, ecosystem, and MVP development instead.
Flutter wins here — it provides great simplicity in implementation and great access to native UI elements, its custom UI-building widgets are just impressive, and its way of UI rendering is one of the most prominent features of Flutter. Flutter may have certain problems, but certainly not when it comes to UI and development API.
In 2020, 6.6% of professional developers used Flutter, according to Stack Overflow (11.8% of devs used React Native). In terms of ecosystem size, React Native is the winner. But as we've said, Flutter has a bright future — and its ecosystem is growing constantly. React Native wins here, but it’s a temporary victory.
Which one is best for MVP?
MVP (minimum viable product) is a simple, basic version of the app that is needed to evaluate the idea and to understand if the target audience actually needs the product. Flutter is much better when it comes to MVP — it takes less time to build an MVP with this SDK because of the Hot Reload feature (it saves a lot of time).
Two cases when you don’t need Flutter
You need a very small-sized app. Apps made with Flutter are often larger than native apps — if you're going to make an app around 1-3 MB, Flutter is not the right choice for you.
You need to use hot code pushes. The "hot code push" feature allows you to update the apps without going through app reviews (like if you don't want to wait for 2-3 days until your update is reviewed by the App Store).
Basically, that’s all you need to know about Flutter. Of course, our development team knows much more about this toolkit — they’ve been developing mobile apps with Flutter for years and they are ready to carry out your project at all stages. From an idea to support and maintenance, we can do everything you need. Contact us right now, get a free consultation, and get your app built at a very reasonable price!