Flutter App Development: A Complete Guide in 2023

Nowadays, a rising number of businesses consider developing cross-platform apps due to time reduction, pocket-friendly prices, and high quality. Statista states that Flutter has become the most popular cross-platform framework in 2023. It’s time to take a deeper look at Flutter App Development.

In this article, we will bring insight into Flutter App Development to give you another choice to develop your mobile app. In case you have one thought about using Flutter, now is a good time to start and read our article.

1. What is Flutter?

Flutter is a cross-platform UI toolkit developed by Google. It is designed to help developers create beautiful, fast, and native cross-platform applications for mobile, web, and desktop platforms using a single codebase. With Flutter, you can build high-performance, visually appealing applications that run natively on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and even the web. Flutter uses the Dart programming language, which is a modern, compiled language that is easy to learn and use.

Flutter is a popular choice for developing mobile applications because it offers a number of advantages over other frameworks. First, Flutter apps are fast and responsive. This is because Flutter uses a native rendering engine, which means that your apps will feel and perform like native apps. Second, Flutter is very easy to learn. The Dart language is simple and concise, and the Flutter framework is well-documented. Third, Flutter is a very versatile framework. You can use it to build a wide variety of apps, from simple utilities to complex games.

Let’s look at the key features of Flutter:

  • Cross-platform Support: Flutter apps can be deployed to Android, iOS, web, and desktop as it compiled applications from a single mobile, web, and desktop code base. This can save your time and cost a lot.
  • Available SDK and native features: Flutter apps are compiled to native code, platform APIs, and third-party integrations, so they run as fast as native apps and simplify the development procedures.
  • Widgets: Flutters has various numbers of specialised designs that you can customise based on your demands. 
  • Hot reload: Flutter apps can be hot reloaded, which means that you can make changes to the code and see the changes immediately in the app. This makes development much faster and easier.
  • Open source: Flutter is a free and open-source project, so you can contribute to the project and integrate numerous packages and third-party libraries in your Flutter app: videos, chat, advertisements, etc.

2. Pros & Cons of Using Flutter

While Flutter is one of the most popular tools used for developing cross-platform apps and many famous apps built by Flutter, it still has both pros and cons like all programming languages.

2.1. Advantages

  • One codebase for all platforms: Instead of writing two separate codes for Android and iOS, with Flutter, all you need to write is just one codebase and use it for all platforms. This can reduce a lot of code development time. In 2019, at Fluter Interact, Google announced Flutter Octopus, which allows debugging on multiple platforms. That said, developers, can create a solution that works simultaneously on the mobile, web, and even Mac.
  • Ready-made widgets for fast UI coding: Flutter uses Google’s Dart programming language, which offers a  reactive programming model for building user interfaces. This means that the framework will update the UI for you right after you change the code. This makes it easier and faster for building dynamic and responsive UIs.
  • Beautiful UI: Flutter has a rich set of widgets that allow it to build beautiful and responsive user interfaces. These widgets are designed to be used with Material Design and Cupertino, so your Flutter apps will look and feel native on both Android and iOS.
  • High performance: To assess how well Flutter pulls through, there is research comparing Flutter, Xamarin and React Native performance, the result represented that Flutter came in first with 58fps and a 220 millisecond launch time, React Native and Xamarin ranked 2nd and 3rd representatively.
  • Fast testing with hot reload: As we mentioned above, the hot reload feature makes Flutter app development much quicker. There is no need to reload the app to see every single change you make, so you can easily fix bugs on the go.
  • Low cost: You only need one Flutter development team to develop and manage your apps for both Android and iOS versions. Hence, you can reduce your expenses on human resources and shorten the development time.

2.2. Disadvantages

  • Lack of third-party libraries: Flutter is a relatively new framework, so there are not as many third-party libraries available as there are for other frameworks. This can make it difficult to find the libraries you need for your project.
  • App size: Flutter apps are quite large and “heavy” to start with, even bigger than native Java and Kotlin apps. It could take a lot of space and a longer time to download and update.
  • Small Developers Community: Although Flutter is rising, it’s still a relatively new tool that needs to do some catching up with more established frameworks. As a result, the group of Flutter developers would be smaller than groups of other programming languages and frameworks.

3. Which types of applications best suit Flutter?

Flutter is a powerful and versatile framework that can be used to build a wide variety of applications. Some of the most common types of applications that are built using Flutter include

3.1. Gaming apps

Flutter is a great choice for building gaming apps because it can be used to create high-performance and visually appealing games. Flutter’s hot reload feature also makes it easy to iterate on game designs and quickly test new features. Some popular gaming apps built with Flutter include:

  • 2048
  • Super Mario Run
  • Doodle Jump

3.2. Booking apps

Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities make it a great choice for creating booking apps that can be used on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. Flutter’s rich set of widgets also makes it easy to create visually appealing and user-friendly booking interfaces. Some popular booking apps built with Flutter include:

  • Airbnb
  • Booking.com
  • Expedia

3.3. Educational apps

Flutter is a great choice for building educational apps because it can be used to create interactive and engaging learning experiences. Flutter’s hot reload feature also makes it easy to iterate on app designs and quickly test new features. Some popular educational apps built with Flutter include:

  • Khan Academy
  • Duolingo
  • Codecademy

3.4. E-Commerce apps

Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities make it a great choice for creating e-commerce apps that can be used on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. Flutter’s rich set of widgets also makes it easy to create visually appealing and user-friendly shopping experiences. Some popular e-commerce apps built with Flutter include:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Walmart

3.5. Social media apps

Flutter is a great choice for building social media apps because it can be used to create fast and responsive apps that are visually appealing. Flutter’s hot reload feature also makes it easy to iterate on app designs and quickly test new features. Some popular social media apps built with Flutter include:

  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

4. Flutter vs. React Native: Which one is better?

Noticing that Flutter is surging in just recent few years and Google is continuously supporting it. More and more projects choose Flutter to develop their digital products. But, will Flutter win and replace React Native? We have created a table to compare them, let’s take a look:

FeatureFlutterReact Native
Programming LanguageDartJavaScript
Native PerformanceExcellentGood
UI ToolkitSkiaReact
Hot reloadYesYes
CommunityGrowingLarge
DocumentationGoodGood
Ease of learningEasyEasy
PopularityGrowing in popularityVery popular

Discussing the advantages of React Native, it is a mature framework with a large community of developers. React Native is easy to learn, even if you are not familiar with JavaScript, it also has a rich ecosystem of third-party libraries and tools. Regarding Flutter, it has excellent native performance and its Skia UI toolkit is very powerful and flexible. Flutter’s hot reload feature also makes it very easy to iterate on app designs.

Both React Native and Flutter are excellent cross-platform frameworks. React Native is a more mature framework with a larger community, while Flutter is newer but has some advantages in terms of performance and hot reload. To answer your questions on “Which solution brings the fastest development time” or “Which one fits your app idea best?”, it will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

5. How to develop a Flutter app

5.1. Install Flutter

First, you will need an integrated development environment (IDE) for the development, creation and testing of your software. Then you can install Flutter on your computer by following the instructions on the Flutter website.

5.2. Create a new Flutter project

In this section, you will build a simple Flutter app to understand how things work. 

You can create a new Flutter project by using the Flutter create command. For example, to create a new project called my_app, you would run the following command: flutter create my_app. This will create a new directory called my_app in your current directory. The directory will contain a number of files and folders, including a file called lib/main.dart. This is the file where you will write your Flutter code.

5.3. Open the project in your IDE

Once you have created a new Flutter project, you can open it in your IDE of choice. For example, if you are using Visual Studio Code, you can open the project by double-clicking on the my_app folder.

Visual Studio Code is a popular IDE for Flutter development. It has a number of features that make it well-suited for Flutter development, such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and debugging.

5.4. Write your Flutter code

You can write your Flutter code in the lib folder of your project. Flutter uses the Dart programming language, so you will need to learn Dart if you are not already familiar with it.

The lib/main.dart file is the main entry point for your Flutter app. This is where you will write the code that will run when your app starts up.

5.5. Run your Flutter app

Once you have written your Flutter code, you can run your app by using the Flutter run command. For example, to run the my_app project, you would run the following command: flutter run

This will run your app in the simulator or on a physical device.

5.6. Test your Flutter app

Once you have run your Flutter app, you can test it by using the simulator or device that you want to run your app on.

You can also use the Flutter test command to run the unit tests for your app. Moreover, you should also conduct a widget test to ensure that your widgets’ UI looks as intended and interacts as expected, this test is more comprehensive as opposed to the unit. Finally, the integration test aim to ensure that all widgets and services in your digital product are working well together as intended in your design.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Flutter is a powerful and versatile programming language that can be used to build a wide variety of apps. It is particularly well-suited for building mobile apps, but it can also be used to build web and desktop apps. If you are looking for a programming language that is fast, easy to learn, and versatile, then Flutter is a great option.

After reading our article, you can start your Flutter App Development project now, if you don’t have a Flutter developer team, consider hiring an outsourcing Flutter development team. You can read our recent article on “Top 10 Leading Flutter App Development Companies in Vietnam” to choose your best partner.

However, if you need services right here and now, we offer you our expertise. When you choose to work with AgileTech, you will receive huge tech support as we got 8 years of software development experience with a diverse tech stack, including Flutter. We have a proven record of building high-quality Flutter products for clients around the world. If you need further information and consultation for your project, feel free to fill out this form to meet our IT experts!

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