Applications & cross platform

Flutter: The First Choice for Cross-Platform GUI Development

Homepage Flutter: The First Choice for Cross-Platform GUI Development

Let’s be blunt: When it comes to building applications and developing GUIs for multiple platforms, Flutter is increasingly a developer’s first choice. 

Sure, there are alternatives including React Native that continue to find fans among developers tasked with building GUIs for Android, iOS, desktop, and embedded applications. Increasingly the Google-backed framework is what software engineers are turning to – and for good reason.  

In this article, I’ll explain what Flutter is, why the Flutter framework is attractive for developers working across platforms, and why it is leaving alternatives like React Native and Xamarin in the dust. 

What is Flutter, and Why is it Attractive?

In its own words, Flutter is an open-source framework by Google for building beautiful, natively compiled, multi-platform applications from a single codebase.

Only having to work on a single codebase makes things simpler and allows for all platforms to be kept in sync with each other – no more iOS feature updates weeks ahead of the same Android update, for example – and helps keep development costs in check.

Significantly, it makes it easier and faster for companies to develop software and GUIs with smaller teams and less wasted effort, and this translates into greater efficiency and lower costs.

Besides the single codebase, Flutter has three key advantages for developers:

  • It’s fast. Flutter compiles to Arm machine code, Intel machine code, and JavaScript. This means that no matter what mobile, desktop, or embedded device you are deploying to, performance is maintained and optimized for speed.
  • It’s productive. With Flutter’s Hot Reload feature, a developer can build and iterate quickly. Code can be updated, and changes reviewed almost instantly without ever losing state.
  • It’s flexible. With Flutter, developers can control every pixel. This means that they can adapt and customize graphical interfaces that look and feel great no matter the screen size. A mobile device, a web application, or a touchscreen on a connected device – no matter the use case, Flutter is flexible enough to deliver what’s required.

Any Disadvantages to Flutter?

Nothing is perfect and Flutter is no exception. Indeed, engineers usually point to two disadvantages that come with selecting that framework for cross-platform development.

The first disadvantage is that there is a feeling that performance for a Flutter application is never quite as good as a native application on the same platform. Research suggests that a Flutter application can use twice as much memory and use twice as much CPU power as a native app. Where memory and CPU power are scarce this is something to consider.

The second disadvantage for a GUI framework like Flutter is that it does not offer developers all the features that a native application might. In other words, it’s a tradeoff between designing an interface and application for multiple platforms and missing out on some native features versus designing separate native applications with features that can’t be replicated across different platforms.

These two disadvantages, though, aren’t usually enough to dissuade teams from adopting Flutter.

Who is Using Flutter?

Well-known names like eBay, Google, BMW, Toyota, Alibaba Group and Tencent have all embraced Flutter and deployed applications to hundreds of millions of end users worldwide with positive results.

The Google Pay team, for example, wanted to unite their mobile payments codebase between Android and iOS. With the native applications each requiring the upkeep of 1.7 million lines of code each, there was an enormous engineering effort involved in keeping the two applications aligned and up to date.

By switching to Flutter, however, the Google Pay team was able to optimize both their engineering effort and optimize their codebase by more than 600,000 lines. The team reported that shifting to Flutter’s single codebase for both Android and iOS helped them to reduce their engineering spend by 70% and reduce by 35% the number of lines of code they needed to maintain. Lower cost, simpler code – it’s no surprise that Flutter proved a hit.

Similar results have been experienced by other Flutter users, including those that have taken advantage of Witekio’s own expertise in Flutter application and GUI development for connected and embedded systems.

Why Do We Like Flutter for GUI Development at Witekio?

On top of the advantages of Flutter outlined above, there are a couple of other reasons why we like Flutter for GUI development at Witekio.

For one, the Dart language in the Flutter framework is relatively easy to learn. For a developer who has experience building GUIs for native or web applications, Dart doesn’t have a large learning curve. This means getting up to speed is fast and this accelerates delivery to end users.

For another, our developers – like our clients – like to adopt frameworks that promise the best performance for the investment in time, budget, and effort. For clients that want a consistent GUI across multiple platforms, the best option is usually Flutter.

And for another, when compared to alternatives like React Native from Facebook or Xamarin from Microsoft, it’s increasingly easy to recruit developers who are interested in learning and applying the Flutter framework.

All in all, Flutter offers advantages to Witekio clients, to Witekio GUI development teams, and to end users who prefer the consistent user experience a cross-platform framework guarantees. Little wonder, then, that it’s the go-to GUI development framework for Witekio engineers in 2022.

Develop Your Next GUI with Flutter and Witekio

Ready to develop a GUI that’s consistent across every platform, easier to manage, and more cost-efficient to deploy, maintain, and update?

Reach out to the Witekio team today to speak to one of our experts about how our developers and engineers can help you take full advantage of Flutter today.

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Georgie Ryan Casling - Content Manager
07 April 2022