For decades Objective-C and Java had dominated mobile application development for both Android and iOS. Lately, Kotlin was used widely although it is still a java based programming language.
But recently in May 2017, Google launched Flutter. It is quickly becoming a hot favorite with mobile app developers. Flutter uses a flexible system that allows you to call platform-specific APIs whether available in Kotlin or Java code on Android, or Swift or Objective-C code on iOS. It makes developing multi-platform apps a ton of fun. The best part is that it lets you craft beautiful, user-friendly extensible mobile, web, and desktop applications from a single codebase.
Flutter seems to be a very promising step forward and here are a few different reasons to believe this.
Powered by Dart
Flutter uses the client-optimized Dart language developed by Google. Dart is quite similar to Java in terms of syntax so most of the developers find making the switch effortless. With the exception of the syntax, Dart is a rather different language.
One of the most helpful attributes of Dart is support for asynchronous operations. Dart has come up with a way to make it exceptionally easy.
You will end up using it all the time if your Flutter application needs to do IO or other time-consuming operations such as querying a database. It is well known that without asynchronous operations, any time-consuming operations will cause the program to freeze up until they complete. To prevent this, Dart provides us with the async and await keywords that allow our program to continue execution while waiting for these longer operations to complete.
Single Platform for both Android and iOS
This is what makes Flutter a favorite among the developers. Mobile apps development was considered a time-consuming operation as you need to use a different codebase for Android and iOS. Thanks to SDK like Flutter, now you have a single codebase that allows you to build your app for both operating systems. On top of that, you can run them completely natively. Scrolling and navigation adapt accordingly to the OS being used.
As an added boon, Flutter simplifies building and running your app for testing. All you need to do is keep your device or simulator running, the rest of the process can be navigated simply by clicking a button.
UI development is where many of the developers sweat. Creating something useful and aesthetically pleasing comes as a huge challenge. Once again, Flutter comes to the rescue.
It offers an array of widgets that can be combined and modified as per the requirement. It is amazing how customizable these widgets are, so you’ll always end up with exactly what you’re looking for. For the base layout of the UI, you have widgets such as Row, Column, and Container. For content, you have widgets like Text and RaisedButton. There are a lot more interesting options available. Let your imagination run free and create something captivating.
Everyone wants to maintain a standard theme for their app. But when you are using already coded widgets, there can be a mismatch for fonts and colors. Manually changing the fonts, colors, and looks for everything one by one, would take way too long. Flutter has incorporated a solution for that too. Flutter provides us with something called ThemeData that allows us to set values for colors, fonts, input fields, and much more.
This way you can keep the look of your app consistent by setting the values once.
There is an exception though. The text styles have to be set manually for each text widget, but it’s still simple.
Hold your breath for the next feature. Flutter can hot reload apps. It is every developer’s dream come true. You don’t need to restart it every time you make a change to the UI. You can now make a change, save it, then see the change within a second or so.
To make things even more efficient, there is an extensive number of libraries available for Dart and Flutter. You will find libraries for putting ads in your app or more new widgets too.
You may even create your own library. Flutter allows for easy sharing too with the rest of the community. Adding libraries to your project can be done by adding a single line to your pubspec.yaml file. After adding it to the file, run flutter packages get and you’re good to go.
Backend development too is easy when using Flutter. Flutter apps are made using Dart, and Dart is great when it comes to backend development. You get the best quality in the most convenient way. It’s incredibly simple to create data-driven apps, for beginners and experts alike.
You may choose a database of your liking by using appropriate libraries. For example, deploy the SQLite database by using the sqflite library.
Let’s shed a little more light on how Flutter simplifies heavy-duty backend operations. It quickens the process and avoids redundancy through singletons. We can access the database and query it from practically anywhere without needing to recreate an object every single time.
After retrieving data from a database, you can convert that to an object using a model. Or if you want to store an object in the database, you can convert it to JSON using the same model.
Again Flutter comes packed with widgets such as the FutureBuilder or StreamBuilder for displaying the data to the users.
Flutter has provided a fun twist on creating data-driven apps that are rich in quality and loaded with features.
With all these tricks up its sleeve that lets you create even a super extensive app in a breeze, Flutter is bound to gain popularity. With Flutter, the possibilities are practically endless. Its innovative and futuristic features, will make you fall in love with it as well and tingle your creative side. It is here to revolutionize the development industry.