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Why Develop Cross-Platform Mobile Apps With Flutter?

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is a Framework developed by Google. The first stable version arrived in December 2018. It is based on the Dart language developed by the Mountain View firm. It enables the creation of highly high-performance and dynamic cross-platform applications. Although from the start, efforts have focused mainly on mobile (Android and iOS), Flutter also allows the development of websites, Windows, Mac and Linux applications.

However, these latest features still need stable releases. It is worth remembering that Flutter is also part of a large-scale project called Fuchsia. It is an operating system project carried out by Google that ultimately aims to replace Chrome OS and Android. 

Why Is Flutter Booming?

JT: Flutter has created a small revolution in cross-platform mobile development. But before returning to the phenomenon, it is appropriate to look back briefly. Mobile development is booming. The number of customers is increasing. Everyone wants their application present on the two leading platforms: the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. However, this objective presupposes the development of two different so-called native applications. Indeed, each version requires different tools and programming languages. 

A problem then arises. The production cost of the application is doubled. To deal with this observation, many solutions have emerged so that the two applications are generated from a single development. Unfortunately, the first projects in this area did not offer performance equivalent to native applications. Facebook was the first to offer an exciting solution with React Native in 2015. Google entered the dance a little later by offering Flutter. 

The performance is there and even comes close to that of native applications. In addition, it is relatively easy to develop with this Framework. Therefore, we understand the enthusiasm of developers who find a lot of pleasure in developing with Flutter. Companies gain in development time, which makes it possible to offer more competitive production costs to customers. All this has the effect of creating a natural movement around Flutter. 

Why Choose Flutter Over React Native?

JT: That’s a difficult question to answer. Even if Flutter has a slight advantage in terms of performance, we must admit that React Native has good arguments. The operation of the two technologies explains this difference in performance. React Native is coded in  JavaScript and uses a “bridge” to interpret this code natively. It is precisely this operation that is causing the poorer performance. Flutter runs more like a video game. Google Teams have recreated all “mobile” components. No bridges or links are used while the application is running. Efficiency is then at the rendezvous.

So How To Choose?

For companies, the choice is more strategic around the skills of the teams of developers. If the teams are already familiar with JavaScript, it would be more reasonable and faster to adopt React Native. On the other hand, for the other cases, in particular, if native mobile development was already carried out or the developers work around languages ​​​​like Java, it is better to engage with Flutter. For individuals who want to start developing applications and who do not have specific knowledge in one area or another, Flutter remains a priority choice.

Flutter Is Still A New Technology, Can We Trust It?

JT: Yes, Flutter is brand new. The release of the first stable version dates back two years. What is remarkable is the great appeal of the community for this technology. It is worth remembering that where the React Native project just exceeded 91K stars on Github in 5 years, Flutter is already at 106K! In addition, this community actively participates in enriching the bookstores. 

Google has a website dedicated to this subject:  pub. dev. It concentrates more than 13,000 various and varied packages that offer solutions to all common problems. Other elements that demonstrate its rapid rise: indicators such as the Tiobe index now rank the Dart language in 27th position. For comparison, the  Kotlin language, which also allows the development of native mobile applications for Android, is only in 36th place: another indicator and the same observation with the classification proposed by Redmonk, which ranks the Dart 33rd. 

Finally, for those who still doubt the bright future that awaits Flutter and the interest that Google would have in it, it is worth remembering the frantic pace of development of the teams in charge of the project. A major release, with fortnightly fixes and improvements, is released approximately every three months. Each version further enriches the product and its performance. One of Google’s goals is to release a stable web version. So there is nothing to be afraid of.

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