In this article, we will help you understand what Flutter is and why it is the most effective cross-platform framework. We will answer 5 popular questions about Flutter and give you an idea of why it can be a good solution to some common IT business problems.
1. What is Flutter and why is it so popular?
Flutter is a framework from Google that allows you to create cross-platform applications that use the same code. The range of platforms is wide - these are web applications, mobile applications for Android and iOS, graphic applications for desktop operating systems Windows, macOS, Linux, as well as web applications.
It is a relatively new framework. Although the prototype of the framework appeared back in 2015, and the first alpha version was released in May 2017, the first stable release - Flutter 1.0 was made only in December 2018.
This tool combines ease of development with native performance while maintaining visual consistency across platforms.
Learn more about Flutter basics here!
2. How much faster and cheaper is Flutter development than native mobile development?
Cross-platform applications remain very profitable for many businesses, while native apps for iOS and Android are more costly to develop and maintain. When compared, both native development and Flutter provide high scalability, fast work, and a high-quality user experience.
Speed of development
Flutter allows you to develop cross-platform applications and compile the same code for multiple platforms. Applications work great on different operating systems and devices, which will save you time and money.
In addition, this tool speeds up the process itself. There are several IDEs for it that can make development faster. It is supported by Visual Studio Code, which provides most of the features of Android Studio and IntelliJ, but requires far fewer resources. A minimal prototype can be developed in a couple of months and then features can be added to it, rather than waiting for the development of a full-fledged application for six months or more.
Thus, Flutter development is up to 50% faster than creating two native applications.
App development cost
Native development is much more expensive since for two different platforms you need to write two different code bases with separate functions. In addition, native development requires hiring more developers and other professionals.
According to the experience of the Flutter development community, choosing this tool can save up to:
- 45% on development
- 70% on QA (due to the costs of self-tests)
- 33% on application design
3. How secure is the application developed with Flutter?
We review the general security features of the applications and compare Flutter with native frameworks, covering their offerings and the values that Flutter will add.
Confidential user information should be stored on the device only when necessary. This feature should be available only to authorized users and processes. For example, the API access token must be securely stored on your device. For this task, there are plugin shared_preferences that work at the native level, so the performance of the application remains stable. However, according to the official documentation of plugin shared_preferences, any platform can never guarantee that records will be correctly saved to disk (for any saved data, there is a risk of losing it both at the hardware and software level). Therefore, critical data should not be stored directly on the device.
In addition to easily accessible APIs for secure connection and storage, developers sometimes want to use application-level encryption to increase data security.
In Flutter, the Dart cryptography and encryption libraries provide a set of cryptographic hashing functions with basic encryption functions. Although these libraries are not as complete as the native iOS and Android frameworks, these libraries must meet basic data encryption requirements to ensure maximum security for user data.
Biometric authentication requires users to check biological characteristics such as fingerprints, face, or iris to continue the user's movement to the next step. Flutter provides the local_auth plugin to provide the means to perform local user biometric authentication on the device. Compared to native frameworks, local_auth provides more general biometric authentication features that meet basic needs.
Programs that send and receive data over the Internet must protect sensitive information from eavesdropping and unauthorized access. So what does Flutter offer to protect network traffic?
The Flutter dart: io library supports HTTPS connections with TLS certificate binding, and the HttpClient class can be used to execute HTTPS requests with a special trusted certificate managed by SecurityContext objects. Thus, API calls in Flutter can be as secure as from native frameworks.
Jailbroken and Rooted Device Detection
Jailbreak devices turn off built-in security measures, which in turn creates many new vulnerabilities and threatens the loss of personal data. Programs that perform certain operations with private user information should not run on such devices.
That is, detecting a jailbreak or root is a must for many programs. Detecting jailbreak or root rights involves scanning directories, files, and code-dependent code snippets. The Flutter SDK does not support this feature, but third-party libraries are available to perform tasks such as flutter_jailbreak_detection and root_checker.
With the growing number of account payments and mobile finance management, payment security is crucial for mobile applications that provide such functionality.
Flutter supports some security features, but others still depend on native frameworks. However, it’s important to note that more payment gateways are beginning to support Flutter. For example, Square has developed the Flutter plugin for the In-App Payments SDK, which uses its own SDKs for Android and iOS to make secure payments. Depending on which payment API you need, you may need to integrate with native platforms to ensure the most secure payment. But now more and more payment services are releasing their official solutions for Flutter.
4. For what type of applications does Flutter suit?
Flutter is suitable for many solutions, but not for all. If you want to quickly create an MVP to start your business, Flutter is perfect for you. With this tool, you can create an application with beautiful animation in the style of Material or Cupertino. But if you need to quickly develop your design with minimal effort, Flutter will help you to cope with this task.
Flutter is good for simple programs that do not use VR or AR technology. Also, if you decide to use AI in your application, then you should choose native development. Applications that use the above technologies require high performance, so it will be better to develop them using native development. Also, Flutter is not designed for game development.
5. What famous IT giants use Flutter?
The first months of 2022 have already brought major updates to the Flutter ecosystem. They include the arrival of stable support for Flutter on Windows, the release of Flutter 2.10 and Dart 2.16, and a Flutter roadmap for 2022. It's exciting to see how this cross-platform framework continues to flourish on multiple platforms and develop as a framework with useful features and fixes.
As the Flutter ecosystem continues to grow, more companies are incorporating its elements into their existing apps, or building entirely new experiences with it. Some are even embedding Flutter on devices beyond mobile, desktop, and web!
Tizen has created multiple open-source packages focused on bringing Flutter to devices powered by Tizen.
Betterment moved its program to Flutter and trained its team of engineers to develop the new mobile framework.
One of the most powerful quotes from eBay Motors blog: "Our first beta was in our CEO’s hands within three months of receiving our first product requirements, and a few months later we released our app to the public." Flutter can dramatically accelerate the development process and make teams happier overall.
In 2019 Nubank wrote a comprehensive overview of their decision to switch their mobile app to Flutter, providing detailed criteria for making their decision and a roadmap for scaling with Flutter.
Philips Hue has released two apps built with Flutter: Hue Bluetooth and Hue Sync. Users can use the apps to control their Philips Hue devices, including selecting the color of Hue smart lights with a tap on the screen. The beautiful UI is notable, particularly the screen with a color wheel that allows you to get granular with your color choices.
Toyota is leading the charge for embedded Flutter by building next-gen infotainment systems for their vehicles.
In 2021, Amazon made Amplify Flutter widely available to help developers use AWS services with their Flutter apps. This is big news since AWS is the leading cloud services provider in the world.
Flutter is the fastest way to build a well-performing cross-platform mobile app.
It is a solution for businesses to prevent obstacles in finding specialists, adapting to new technologies, and integrating the tool into the system. You should choose Flutter if you want to quickly start your business, you need to develop an application without VR technology, AR, or AI or your application is not included in the games category.