Flutter

The Most Popular
Cross-Platform Framework For Building Android and iOS Applications.

Back in 2017, Google saw a need to create a framework that would allow developers to build applications for both Android and iOS using a single codebase and language. By doing this, they made it possible for them to create and release apps much faster than before.

Instead of having to work with two completely different languages (Java for Android and Swift for iOS), developers could concentrate on a single language, called Dart. Along with this new language, they would have access to a software development kit and a widget-based UI library which consists of reusable UI elements (such as sliders, buttons, and text input fields).

Dart is a typed object programming language that is used specifically for the front-end development of mobile applications. 

Although there are several other cross-platform development frameworks, many companies and developers have opted to go the Flutter route, because it has a number of advantages over the competition, such as:

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    Efficiency
    Your developers will only be using one codebase and one language, which makes this framework incredibly efficient.
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    Native widgets
    The native widgets within the Flutter library make sure there are zero compatibility issues with either Android or iOS. This goes a long way to eliminate extra testing that might otherwise be required.
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    Shallow learning curve
    Flutter combines an easy-to-learn language with a user-friendly interface, to make it an easy framework to learn.
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    Performance
    Applications built with Flutter offer near-native performance.
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    Cost-effective
    Because your developers only have to use one codebase, they’ll be more productive and you’ll have to purchase fewer tools. On top of which, you’re getting apps for the two most popular mobile operating systems for the price of one.
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    IDE support
    Flutter is supported by IDEs like Android Studio and VS Code, so there’s an IDE for every platform.
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    Strong community
    Because Flutter has become so popular, there’s a large community that has grown around it. Thanks to that community, there is also plenty of documentation available to learn from.

Flutter Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

Hot Reload

Besides Flutter being a one-stop-shop for both Android and iOS development, one of the more important features is called Hot Reload. What this does is allow your developers to make changes to the code (via an emulator, simulator, or even an Android or iOS device) and see the results in real-time.

So instead of having to make changes, compile, and install, your developers can work much more efficiently, because they see their modifications almost immediately, while the app is running. That’s a feature not found in many other frameworks. This makes for much more efficient testing.

Testing Types

Speaking of testing, there are three types of testing you’ll find in Flutter.

  • Unit Testing
    This type of test validates the behavior of a single unit (which can be a method, function, or class). This makes it possible to ensure a unit will perform as expected, given valid input. It is possible to create automated Unit Tests via plugins for IntelliJ and VSCode.
  • Widget Testing
    This type of testing will verify if a widget looks and behaves as expected, given specific interactions. In order to proceed with Widget Testing, your developers will need a few additional tools which are found in the flutter_test packages that ship with the Flutter SDK.
  • Integration Testing
    This type of testing is more comprehensive than both Unit and Widget testing, in that it tests either the app as a whole or larger pieces of the application. Integration Testing is important to use so you know if the various components of your app can function together.

By breaking the testing into three constituent pieces, developers have a better sense of how to test and what the results of the tests conclude.

No JavaScript Involved

One important distinction between Flutter and several other similar frameworks is that Flutter doesn’t use JavaScript. As mentioned earlier, Flutter uses Dart as its programming language of choice. And because Dart compiles to binary code, it’s capable of running with the near-native performance found with Objective-C, Swift, Java, and Kotlin.

No Native Components

One rather odd aspect of Flutter is that it doesn’t use native (either Android or iOS) UI components. Instead, those components are implemented in Flutter itself without a communication layer between the view and the code. This means various app elements (such as buttons, text, and media) are all drawn by the Flutter graphics engine. Thanks to this method, apps like games can perform at near-native speeds.

It also helps that widgets and other elements are rendered only when necessary (such as when their state has changed). This means applications built with Flutter are not only smaller and faster but more reliable and stable.

How to Get Started With Flutter

For your developers to get started working with Flutter, they’ll need the Flutter SDK and an editor (such as Android Studio or VSCode). Once they’ve written their first app, they’ll need a test environment, which can be one of the following:

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    Either an Android or iOS device.
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    The iOS simulator or Android emulator
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    A web browser (Chrome is required for debugging)

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the most efficient method of cross-platform mobile development, your search should start and end with Flutter. Not only will your mobile software development lifecycle be dramatically shorter, but your developers will also be able to create better, more reliable apps that require less testing to get out the door.

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