Recently, our Mobile team took part in the Flutter Europe 2020 conference – the largest conference on Flutter technology in Europe. What makes it different is the ability to write applications for two leading mobile operating systems, i.e., Android and iOS. When the first production version of this framework was presented in December 2018, it was not yet fully understood what impact it would have on creating mobile applications. Today we know that it will be huge. Why should businesses be interested in Flutter technology?
Big players are already rewriting apps using Flutter
Flutter is fully ready for use. In companies creating solutions using Flutter technology, there are established teams developing in this technology. In terms of popularity, Flutter has already outstripped React Native and is still gaining more and more advantages. Companies that invested many of their resources in cross-platform technologies (such as ReactNative) must now pay attention to Flutter. What’s more, they even want him to become the primary tool for their developers in both existing and new projects. As presented at the conference, Flutter is the last resort for the iconic GaduGadu messenger, which, as it turns out, is still used by users, but their number continues to dwindle. GaduGadu no longer has such a large community as it used to years ago, so it’s no wonder that the developers are investing in a technology that is cheaper to maintain and, most importantly, works. Technological leaders such as Facebook and Netflix have already got their users accustomed that both applications look the same on Android and iOS. Although these applications are not (yet) created in Flutter, there is a certain standard when it comes to UI. Flutter enables you to write one code and guarantees that the application will look and work identically no matter on which device it is launched.
Low entry threshold – anyone can try to write in Flutter
A significant bargaining card is the ease and flexibility of the technology itself so that even people who have not had any contact with writing mobile applications can write in Flutter. For programmers, tools which make it possible to automate part of daily duties are relevant. In this context, we can observe the trend of the appearance of various products (also paid) dedicated to Flutter. An example would be CodeMagic, i.e., the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery tool that make it easier for developers to work. With their help, you can, for example, automate the process of application development, control the quality of the code, conduct code analysis, and also publish to stores with applications such as Google or Apple.
Due to the great ease in creating layouts, not only programmers are interested in Flutter. Increasingly, we can meet people who have no previous experience with writing code. Here, for example, is the story of one of the conference participants, who deals with layout design daily, but is interested in Flutter as a hobby.
It is worth mentioning the speed of software development. Thanks to Flutter Framework elements, you can create a product that looks nice, is efficient and works very quickly with very little effort. A good example is the Flutter Europe conference application, which, for appearance and speed of operation, can first be mistaken for a native app, but was entirely created in Flutter.
Do PoC in Flutter and I’ll tell you if it pays off
One of the trends at the conference was the creation of Proof of Concepts in Flutter due to the speed of development and the possibility of using the available animations that can be created in a few minutes. It is also worth noting that a significant number of presentations had LiveCoding elements, which shows even more quickly how to create an application in this technology. Also, Flutter offers a lot of built-in components so that we do not have to do everything from scratch, and only assemble our application like Lego blocks. The “HotReload” mechanism works excellent here, and the programmer can watch his application evolving live, which was not possible with the use of native technologies. One of the companies went even a step further. It introduced the concept of Quick POC, i.e., a project that lasted from half to a whole day and was designed to prove to the client how fast Flutter was. Often with their direct participation, for example, during workshops.
It adds up when it comes to business
There is nothing to cheat on business; the most important thing is profit. It is in this aspect that Flutter meets the opposite. Application development in Flutter is much faster than in other technologies. One of the speakers presents statistics for purely native applications as well as other cross-platform solutions. As expected, Flutter emerged victorious from this battle. Application development is cheaper in Flutter due to one code base for two platforms (Android and iOS).
Faster code production time has other advantages. Developers can write more tests, and a special mention should be given to the opportunity to perform a test widget that is responsible for testing views. This type of testing is much less demanding and more flexible than traditional integration tests known from native applications. Besides, the app is created in one team, which thinks about the implementation in the same way. For comparison, when applications are created independently on two native platforms, there are often some differences in the operation of each of them – the chance that two teams understand the same application functions a little differently is higher. By using Flutter, we get the consistency of individual features. After finishing work on the application features, developers have more time to improve the product.
The speakers also turn attention to the fact that sometimes we focus too much on creating software, not on what it is supposed to do. The code should be a side effect, not what we should focus our attention on. Most important is what the system enables the end-user to do. We should not focus so much on its creation.
Many speakers also touched on the subject of web development. Soon it will be possible to write applications that we will launch not only on our smartphones but also in web browsers, thanks to the fact that Flutter will also support these technologies. It is another argument that may interest the businesses. The best code for every programmer is the one they do not have to write because less code means fewer mistakes. At present, Flutter supports applications launched in the browser. However, it is not yet fully optimized for this application.
Was it worth it?
In general, the conference was very successful and presented a high level of content. You could talk to the speakers and personally meet people from Google and the creators of popular Flutter libraries. The conference also showed how active the community of people interested and creating in Flutter was, mainly due to the quick access to knowledge and help. We will personally create much more and even better in Flutter 🙂
Are you interested in Flutter and need some help with implementation? Contact us!