Why you should use Flutter for cross-platform apps
With Flutter, you can develop cross-platform apps that run on both iOS and Android with native performance, all from a single codebase.
by Álvaro de Barros
5 min read · Oct 31, 2022
Mobile applications are an exceptional way for your business to reach more customers. While a standalone website can help you achieve an initial burst of online customers, you will soon realize that it isn’t enough to help your business reach the farthest corners of the world. Why?
Out of the 5.3 billion active mobile phone users worldwide, a significant portion still exclusively use mobile devices to access the internet. Websites and other internet-based platforms aren’t always optimized for mobile screens. This can lead to UI and site performance hiccups that can cost you valuable customers. While making a website is a good start towards making your business more accessible to customers, it is far from being a comprehensive solution. This is where cross-platform app development comes in.
Cross-platform apps can help your business reach more customers and provide them with a sleek and efficient user experience. Moreover, the development process for these apps is incredibly cost and time efficient, which contributes to their high ROI. Leading cross-platform development tools like Flutter, Xamarin, Ionic, and React Native can help you fast-track the process.
Before learning more about them, it is important to understand cross-platform development and its key features.
What is cross-platform development
Cross-platform development is a revolutionary development method used to build apps that are capable of functioning in multiple operating environments. Unlike traditional native apps, these apps can be run on several operating systems without needing an external compiler or any changes in the underlying code.
This makes cross-platform apps incredibly efficient. Building a cross-platform app for your business allows customers to access it from a wide variety of desktop and hand-held devices functioning on different operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. These apps are usually coded using a single codebase, which makes for a shorter development cycle. Cross-platform apps offer many other functional and operational benefits, which make them popular. Here are a few of them:
A cross-platform app development cycle is shorter and hence more cost and resource efficient than native development. These apps typically do not need any additional APIs or integrated microservices to adapt to changing operating environments. It is also much easier to maintain and update these apps, given their synchronized change and update capabilities.
Platforms like Flutter and Xamarin allow for a streamlined, object-oriented coding approach. This helps developers plan their sprints well and streamline the entire development cycle using other important functional features like hot reload and synchronized codebase updates.
Cross-platform apps only require you to build a single UI template, which is automatically adjusted according to the operating environment. This helps developers avoid coding the same UI screens in different languages with different features specific to those operating systems.
Different cross-platform technologies
Leading cross-platform development technologies are helping developers change (and streamline) the way they approach the process. Here’s a look at them:
Developed by Google, Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform development framework specialized for nuanced UI development. Flutter makes use of fundamental elements called widgets to allow developers to customize every single pixel present on their screens.
Xamarin is a free cross-platform development tool developed and marketed by Microsoft. While Xamarin can be used for cross/multi-platform development of any kind, it is especially well-suited for mobile app development.
What makes Flutter so great
Flutter is a highly-preferred cross-platform development tool that allows users to fully customize their workflows and make attractive, incredibly nuanced UI templates that can be used across platforms.
Flutter offers endless possibilities it offers. Aside from the single codebase that can also be found in other cross-platform technologies, Flutter can build applications for all mobile, web, desktop operating systems, and even embedded devices like watches and cars.
Other benefits of using Flutter include:
Through its revolutionary platform channels, Flutter allows developers to use both cross-platform and platform-native code in their Flutter projects. Some microservices/APIs that you would like to use in your app might not be supported on Flutter or might just run better in native environments. Flutter channels allow your program to establish direct communication with native operating environments so that the added APIs can run efficiently on them.
Flutter uses Java’s efficient class-based programming model with the help of packages. Like Java classes, Dart packages are a group of classes, interfaces, and sub-packages used to implement specific functionality on Flutter. Developers can create, save, store and share packages across the platform to easily collaborate on projects and create referential code repositories for themselves.
Enhanced user control
Flutter’s widgets allow developers to retain control over every pixel of their UI design. This enables them to move beyond default UI templates and create a fully-customized design that is tailored to fit the business’s immediate needs. Additional features like the Switch Adaptive command further allow developers to customize each widget according to specific operating environments.
Flutter’s distributed, object-oriented programming structure allows for quicker development, compilation, and testing. Unlike most cross-platform development environments, Flutter reflects all code changes in real-time, allowing developers to monitor and test their code on the go.
Flutter’s easily accessible development and collaboration tools allow remote development teams to work seamlessly on the platform. Developers can code, test, and share packages in real-time and leave public comments and notes for their team members to refer to when they’re coding. This ease of access and collaboration has given rise to dedicated development companies (like Somnio!) that focus entirely on Flutter-based cross-platform development services.
On the whole
Flutter’s revolutionary development and collaboration capabilities can give your cross-platform apps the edge they need. Exclusive features like platform channels and package-based storage help make your applications more efficient and achieve near-native performance across multiple environments. Our dedicated Flutter development teams at Somnio can help you get started on the process in no time.
by Álvaro de Barros
5 min read · Oct 31, 2022
Álvaro de Barros is Business Development Manager at Somnio. He is in charge of the company's growth and partnerships. He is also an amazing race car driver.