Flutter Cross-Platform Development

By: Marios Constantinou / Created: Monday December 28, 2020

Flutter Cross-Platform Development

Flutter: Google’s take on cross-platform development

During the last few years, the programming world has been undergoing a very clear “cross-platform” trend. And that is to be expected. It didn’t take long for the technology advancements to lead to a multitude of platforms, leaving businesses struggling to cater to all those different user bases.

Want to create an Android app? You’re going to need Java developers. An iOS app too? You need some Swift developers. And you need to coordinate them to make sure the implementation of the app’s logic is the same in both. Otherwise, you need some other language to interface with both of them. Want to add a web app? Desktop app? Yeah, you’re going to have some problems.

If you think that we’re exaggerating, take a look at messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, and Discord. They have all of those.

So, yeah, it didn’t take long for people to figure out that doing all of that would lead to many kinds of messes. That’s when cross-platform languages and frameworks started to appear. And Flutter is Google’s take on it.

What is Flutter?

Flutter firebase is an app development toolkit developed by Google that is designed to be cross-platform. The aim is, of course, to be able to code once and deploy everywhere without too much hassle, while also compiling to native code. The toolkit is based around Google’s Dart programming language, and as both are developed by the same company, they integrate seamlessly.

The toolkit was first launched in 2018, initially supporting only Android, iOS, as well as Google’s new Fuchsia OS, but since then has expanded to web apps and desktop applications (Windows, Linux, macOS), and is also aiming for Chromebooks and embedded systems (such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi).

Although it is still not as mature as other cross-platform frameworks and languages, such as Kotlin and Facebook’s React Native, it is growing quickly, already has many followers, and is being used by high-profile companies such as Tencent, The New York Times, eBay, among others.

Coding with Flutter

Flutter widgets main focus is UI and UX. The idea is to take advantage of Dart’s capabilities in order to develop UIs quickly from scratch. Even though it is not a “no-code” framework, it is still much easier for programmers to use than traditional UI libraries.

The basic component is the widget. In Flutter, nearly everything is a widget, and you mix and match the basic widgets supplied by the library in order to get the UI of your dreams. However, the fact that they are considered “basic widgets” doesn’t mean that they are devoid of functionalities. Every widget can go through a lot of customization, both in appearance and in behavior. There are widgets for buttons, animations, text, columns, scaffolds, and much more.

By using Dart’s virtual machine and Flutter’s ability to easily connect to an emulator or phone, the framework gives you the option to do a “hot reload”, that is, quickly update the UI in the emulator whenever you make a change, making it much easier to develop and edit it.

Flutter’s expansion

Of course, as Flutter Cyprus is still in its infancy, it is bound to grow and expand during the next few years, especially considering that it is under Google’s guidance, is an open source project, and is probably Google’s answer to Facebook’s React Native, which has the same objective but using Facebook’s own Javascript UI library, React.

The framework’s simplicity and compilation to native code can make it a good choice for game developers to write multi-platform games, for example, as they won’t need to program native UI for each platform. They may even be able to replace the high-latency HTML UIs that are sometimes used in the lobbies and store screens of multiplayer games.

Just the same, flutter widgets it would be very interesting for flutter dropdown to also be able to expand into less “usual” interfaces, such as game consoles, for example, not only for game development but also for other apps. It may sound strange if you are not following the console generations, but it is pretty normal to use a console to watch Netflix and listen to Spotify nowadays, especially for people who don’t have a Smart TV. An easy-to-use cross-platform system such as Flutter development Cyprus has the potential to make the console market much more accessible. As well as the Smart TV app market itself.

It seems to be very worthwhile to take some time to learn more about Flutter Cyprus and Dart, because it is likely that we will be hearing a lot about them in the near future.