The Good, Better, and Bad Aspects of Flutter development

Given the evolving rise and fall of various technologies and frameworks, if you take a closer look at the mobile development trends of 2020, you’d notice that Flutter has been rapidly rising with global dominance. It is vital to know all aspects of this framework before you start developing your application. This article will uncover the significant best parts of Flutter and its unpropitious side.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open, sourced UI targeted framework backed by Google. It is a simple yet high-performance mobile development framework that functions based on Google’s own Dart language. It provides an easy to learn SDK that serves as a powerful tool to build cross-platform applications with a single code faster with minimal development time.

How is Flutter development-friendly?

Developer convenience

Be it a simple or a complex application, the layered architecture of Flutter proves to be compatible with multiple IDEs such as IntelliJ and Android Studio, making development more straightforward. Tools like Flutter BLoC and its in-built plug-in system make it even more possible to break down the application into different layers according to the requirement. When comparing Flutter with React Native, developers find it easier to learn Flutter as it is more comfortable to learn.

UI/UX

The easy creation of expressive UI design is eye-catchy capabilities that make developers choose Flutter for mobile development. Rich UI of Flutter, resulting in improved UX, is made possible with various UI builder tools and customized widgets that can be integrated easily with this framework.

Some of those tools include:

“Flutter is the only mobile SDK that provides reactive views without requiring a JavaScript bridge.” -Wm Leler, Senior Software Engineer and Developer Advocate, Google Inc.
Testing

Unlike most frameworks, Flutter offers quality tools with its built-in testing infrastructure. They consist of Unit testing, Integration testing, and End-to-End test. It also supports A/B testing.

Tools that boost the testing capacity of Flutter:

  • Flutter driver
  • XCUI test
  • Flutter test

CI/CD

Tool suites like Fastlane and Jenkins can be integrated with Flutter to improve the Continuous Integration workflows. Delivering useful applications faster at a reduced cost is possible by cultivating appropriate CI/CD methodologies using the mentioned tools. As a result, you can easily automate the entire application development pipeline with real-time monitoring, updates, automated code testing, and backups.

Support

Flutter has strong community support as well as opportunities for app maintenance offered by the official Flutter team. For instance, since 2019, Flutter has had 61% of the developer community, contributing to problem solving and support. The chances of a Flutter library or a tool to be abandoned is meager compared to other frameworks.

Development cost

The cost of development is lower with Flutter as it provides the ability to capture a specific platform’s native performance requirement. How does Flutter achieve this? It has built-in components that self encompasses UI functionality. Flutter can hide and replace the complexity of an application with simplified models and codes all by itself. This functionality is also known as an abstraction, which saves a lot of time and development costs.

Unique features of Flutter

Hot reloading

Flutter presents an improved development option via its Hot Reloading feature. Developers can quickly recompile, debug, edit codes, and deploy changes into the application without waiting. This feature increases the application’s productivity tremendously and reduces the time taken to instantly view and manage the required changes.

Rendering engine

The Skia graphic engine is one of the benefits of Flutter. It functions as the rendering engine, which makes it possible to develop UI just once for multiple platforms, which can effortlessly render application elements faster at a rate of 60 FPS with dropping any frame.

Drawbacks of Flutter

Native SDK knowledge

Flutter is a cross-platform framework that requires developers to know about Android and iOS. In most cases, it might not be challenging to find such developers. But, it is harder to aggregate developers who have knowledge or experience on all platforms’ native functionality and Flutter and Dart as a whole package to write quality native views for multiple platforms. Acquiring such a team might also be a costly addition to the budget.

Native platform views

Libraries and tools provided by Flutter are developer-friendly and rich in terms of operability. But, they have their limitations as they cannot completely satisfy the requirements of native UI elements. The features you implement in your application may look different and might not be fully supported by the native platform.

Conclusion

If you weigh the good and bad side of Flutter, it is pretty evident that this framework’s benefits and advantages outweigh its limitations. Moreover, these limitations can be managed or adjusted with external libraries and tools. If you want to create an application with multi-platform support and high performance under a short time and reduced budget, then Flutter is the best choice for you.

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The Good, Better, and Bad Aspects of Flutter development

Google's Flutter 1.20 stable announced with new features - Navoki

Flutter Google cross-platform UI framework has released a new version 1.20 stable.

Flutter is Google’s UI framework to make apps for Android, iOS, Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Fuchsia OS. Since the last 2 years, the flutter Framework has already achieved popularity among mobile developers to develop Android and iOS apps. In the last few releases, Flutter also added the support of making web applications and desktop applications.

Last month they introduced the support of the Linux desktop app that can be distributed through Canonical Snap Store(Snapcraft), this enables the developers to publish there Linux desktop app for their users and publish on Snap Store.  If you want to learn how to Publish Flutter Desktop app in Snap Store that here is the tutorial.

Flutter 1.20 Framework is built on Google’s made Dart programming language that is a cross-platform language providing native performance, new UI widgets, and other more features for the developer usage.

Here are the few key points of this release:

Performance improvements for Flutter and Dart

In this release, they have got multiple performance improvements in the Dart language itself. A new improvement is to reduce the app size in the release versions of the app. Another performance improvement is to reduce junk in the display of app animation by using the warm-up phase.

sksl_warm-up

If your app is junk information during the first run then the Skia Shading Language shader provides for pre-compilation as part of your app’s build. This can speed it up by more than 2x.

Added a better support of mouse cursors for web and desktop flutter app,. Now many widgets will show cursor on top of them or you can specify the type of supported cursor you want.

Autofill for mobile text fields

Autofill was already supported in native applications now its been added to the Flutter SDK. Now prefilled information stored by your OS can be used for autofill in the application. This feature will be available soon on the flutter web.

flutter_autofill

A new widget for interaction

InteractiveViewer is a new widget design for common interactions in your app like pan, zoom drag and drop for resizing the widget. Informations on this you can check more on this API documentation where you can try this widget on the DartPad. In this release, drag-drop has more features added like you can know precisely where the drop happened and get the position.

Updated Material Slider, RangeSlider, TimePicker, and DatePicker

In this new release, there are many pre-existing widgets that were updated to match the latest material guidelines, these updates include better interaction with Slider and RangeSliderDatePicker with support for date range and time picker with the new style.

flutter_DatePicker

New pubspec.yaml format

Other than these widget updates there is some update within the project also like in pubspec.yaml file format. If you are a flutter plugin publisher then your old pubspec.yaml  is no longer supported to publish a plugin as the older format does not specify for which platform plugin you are making. All existing plugin will continue to work with flutter apps but you should make a plugin update as soon as possible.

Preview of embedded Dart DevTools in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio code flutter extension got an update in this release. You get a preview of new features where you can analyze that Dev tools in your coding workspace. Enable this feature in your vs code by _dart.previewEmbeddedDevTools_setting. Dart DevTools menu you can choose your favorite page embed on your code workspace.

Network tracking

The updated the Dev tools comes with the network page that enables network profiling. You can track the timings and other information like status and content type of your** network calls** within your app. You can also monitor gRPC traffic.

Generate type-safe platform channels for platform interop

Pigeon is a command-line tool that will generate types of safe platform channels without adding additional dependencies. With this instead of manually matching method strings on platform channel and serializing arguments, you can invoke native class and pass nonprimitive data objects by directly calling the Dartmethod.

There is still a long list of updates in the new version of Flutter 1.2 that we cannot cover in this blog. You can get more details you can visit the official site to know more. Also, you can subscribe to the Navoki newsletter to get updates on these features and upcoming new updates and lessons. In upcoming new versions, we might see more new features and improvements.

You can get more free Flutter tutorials you can follow these courses:

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