developers working on the Flutter app

State of Flutter 2021: Could Flutter be the future of mobile app development?

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google and introduced to the developers in 2018. It rapidly became one of the most important tools for developers. As the previous decade ended a few weeks ago, we think that it’s a good time to ask some questions – what is the state of Flutter in 2021? How did it develop in the past 6 years? Where is it going?

We are sure that Flutter’s future looks bright and we are here to prove it!

Using Flutter has some obvious advantages – it helps to release apps in a shorter time, it’s relatively easy to code, has nice UI and widget support. Also – cross-platform apps have been on the market over the last few years, proving that this technology can be VERY useful in developing big and successful applications. 

But wait, there’s more…

Backed by a huge corporation and a huge community

Flutter was created by Google using Dart and is also used in many of their other products – for a long time Google Fuchsia was one of those mysterious products. This is an indicator that Google will spend its own resources for the development of Flutter and this technology will not likely be abandoned anytime soon. Also, the fact that Google owns both Flutter and Dart means that they can evolve together under one maker into the future, creating a perfect match for each other.

Considering this is also used by the technological giant (Google) in the development of Android apps, the speed of development in Flutter could/will soon be the number one choice for development on this platform.

The community of Flutter developers is growing. Together with the popularity of the platform, the course has been set for growth. Although Dart is not as popular a language as JavaScript, it has a huge and committed community with local and digital meetups.

The trend of popularity

2020 was a strange year for Flutter – it reached the highest peak of popularity (according to Google Trends – a tool created by Google to show how popular specific keywords are) for the 2020 year. Although, could its popularity also be starting to fall?

Flutter may have some work to do even though there is still a huge community with outstanding support from the developer side. In the StackOverflow survey called “Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted Other Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools” Flutter took 3rd place in “Loved” and 4th place in “Wanted”. With almost 70% of developers declaring they are “developing with the language or technology and have expressed interest in continuing to develop with it”.

If we will look only at popularity – Flutter can be considered as the best hybrid app framework in 2020.

Flutter popularity over time

It’s easy to use

Flutter is still considered an easy-to-use SDK. It comes with a set of customer widgets that save time for the developers to create beautiful basic views and cross-platform consistency.

It also is designed to support Material Design – one of the most popular design languages in the world.

It’s becoming more and more powerful

As an example, in May 2020 the Flutter version 1.17.0 was released. Developers added the support of Metal API – a 3D graphic and computer shader API created by Apple. Thanks to this, Flutter apps gained a huge performance boost on iOS (some people say about 50% faster apps!).

App performance is becoming a crucial factor for both iOS and Google. This relates to both app developers and app users, especially when it comes to bigger projects. Flutter is well known as one of the highest performance platforms on the market right now and with the huge changes that the future holds, the future Flutter releases will increase possibilities.

Flutter is being developed every day to support more and more platforms. With the support for Windows and Linux on the horizon, more possibilities will open for Flutter on the web. Considering this is already an amazing tool for web development, AppTailors believes things will continue to trend up!

Developers love it!

It is one of the most loved platforms – in January 2021 Flutter has more than 109,600 stars on GitHub – the most popular database of repositories beating out React Native! It keeps the position number 16 (from over a thousand other options), with almost 20% more stars than other similar solutions.

Flutter uses the programming language Dart – an easy to learn language, especially for developers with experience with Swift or Java. Plus – Flutter is app-oriented, not platform-oriented, which means that it is moving most platform issues away from the developer.

Flutter is a growing application technology, with rarely changing and well-documented APIs, many learning resources with a great Widget of the week series.

Hot reload

One of the coolest features (especially for developers) is hot reload. On desktop platforms, Flutter runs inside the Dart virtual machine. Thanks to the hot reload feature, it is possible to make changes to a running application. Every change of the app is visible immediately, without the necessity of restart. This helps developers to save time during development, experiment with new ideas and immediately validate bug fixes. It is also a nice feature for collaboration between developers and designers. 

Native performance

Flutter-based apps give users performance similar to native applications. 

Single codebase

It will be said many times in this e-book. The fact that with Flutter, you can write in a single codebase for every platform is one of its biggest advantages. It helps to reduce the overall time of development, creates less possible errors and helps to save money due to faster time to market.

Expressive and Flexible UI

UI in Flutter is based on widgets. You can find two sets of ready-made widgets dedicated to the native design languages preferred by creators of the biggest mobile platforms – Android and iOS. Android is using a design language called Material, while Apple uses a language called Cupertino. Thanks to the widgets, developers can create native-looking apps for both platforms with the same code base. 

Every widget is responsible for a specific structural element (like slider menu) or style (like a colour scheme). Plus, Flutter is responsible for every pixel of the screen, so all the widgets will look the same on every device and software version. 

Less testing

The fact that you don’t have to write two separate codebases gives you the option to spend less time on testing – you create the same tests to run on both platforms.

Is Flutter still the future of mobile app development?

We would say YES!

Flutter is a perfect choice for anyone looking to build native apps using a reasonable budget. It gives the ability to build beautiful, cost-friendly apps with an almost-native experience and great performance. All of that with one codebase, for two of the most popular platforms – Android and iOS. 

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