Android and iOS are nowadays two most often used operational systems on the mobile device market. Native apps developed for either environment require separate frameworks. One such framework is Flutter, created in December 2018, and it has quickly gained popularity across the mobile industry. How to use Flutter in e-commerce and what it could mean for your business?
Flutter is a toolkit created by Google. The Mountain View engineers developed this technology as a toolkit for developing complied native mobile apps for both Android and iOS, using a single source code. This makes Flutter a full-fledged multiplatform framework. It is by far the greatest advantage this thriving environment has to offer.
What is Flutter
This is the official definition of the technology as provided by Google. What to keep in mind talking about Flutter? And what is Flutter like in practice?
- Flutter is the latest cross-platform Google technology which helps create applications for the Android and iOS operational systems.
- Flutter was published by Google in 2018 and has been developed dynamically ever since. A 2.0 version appeared in March 2021. As shown in the graph below, the popularity of the framework has been growing each month:
- According to a survey by Stackoverflow, Flutter is the third most liked framework, library and toolkit. .Net Core and Torch/PyTorch platforms occupy the top of the list.
- Flutter is a first of its kind technology to implement native mobile apps in a single environment.
- Additionally, it's a free open source technology.
- The Flutter framework uses a single source code base to build native apps for both iOS and Android. As the application core is developed under a single system, which contains own graphic components or widgets, the app displays and performs alike both on iOS and Android run devices.
- The app codebase is written in Dart, also created by Google.
How Flutter advantages business
If you are still considering whether Flutter is suitable for your next business project, or which Flutter features could aid your business development, take a look at the following list:
- Shorter development period – Creating a single code is faster than developing two separate native apps, each for a different operational system.
”Flutter has cut down the time needed to develop new functionalities from one month to but two weeks”
Bruce Chen, Senior Engineer for Development, Alibaba
- Lower implementation costs – Developing and implementing mobile apps for Android and iOS separately incur greater costs. Two development teams must work together on both environments. Flutter can reduce the cost of development considerably, making it comparable with that of creating Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
- Easy testing and management – Thanks to Hot Reload most changes to user interface are operational the moment an app is launched and plugged into programming framework (Android Studio / Visual Studio Code). Any changes can be tested in real time simply by running the app on a phone.
- Phone functionalities – Thanks to dedicated communication channels, apps developed with Flutter can make use of phone in-build tools such as cameras, contact lists, GPS or Bluetooth.
- Avant and unique UI – Flutter renders all interface elements by means of the Skia internal engine (as used in Google Chrome and Mozilla Fox browsers) Flutter development team made sure to replicate all inner components of Material UI and elements of the Apple Design System. It has become easy and intuitive to create distinctive high-quality elements of UI for both Android and iOS .
Dynamic growth – Google specialists, but also a community of programmers, help develop Flutter, which adds to the project's spectacular growth. According to Google, every month nearly half a million programmers use Flutter as an open source platform, and Statista claims Flutter to be the second most popular technology used to develop applications in 2019.
Is Flutter the future of e-commerce?
We vote yes! The recent explosive increase in the e-commerce sector has forced e-trade companies to search for new solutions and ways of reaching customers. One such solution are mobile apps, which are slowly but surely becoming a standard solution on the retail market.
To invest in native apps, developed separately for iOS and Android platforms, entails prohibitive costs, which few e-commerce owners can afford. Flutter is fully capable of reducing the cost of development, while retaining key characteristics of native apps. It's to be expected that the costs of creating mobile apps will keep decreasing as Flutter is developed further, making applications affordable even for small and medium-sized online stores.
Thanks to Flutter you can create a cross platform app for devices that run on either Android and iOS at a cost comparable to developing a Progressive Web App.