What are the Key Points to Remember for Flutter App Development?

The booming trend of digitized business niche has created an exceptional rise in the app development industry. The global app market is witnessing billions of dollars of investments in app development. Now, companies are realizing that mobile applications can be a game-changer for their business. There is no wonder that a mobile application can maximize the business capabilities in all senses including lead generation, revenue generation, and more.

If a business has a well built mobile application then it can easily hit the new audience and build new income sources.

But, having a mobile application for your business is not easy as it seems because there are millions of applications already available on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. While there are so many similar applications available in the market, making your application stand out in the crowd is difficult. It makes the development of an effective mobile application a difficult task.

However, a recent & exploding trend in app development is the cross-platform Flutter framework, backed by Google. It has been developed to build a single application supporting both native platforms i.e Android & iOS. Flutter is an open-source framework and offers various development tools and widgets. In just a few years, Flutter has been adopted by many big brands and also being used by Google in developing its own ‘Google Ads’ application.

Despite all the benefits Flutter technology has to offer, there are a few important and tricky aspects of it. We know that a focused approach is required to develop an effective & unique mobile application that aids real benefits to your business. Always note that if the developed app does not create a charisma for your clientele then it might not be worthy of your efforts.

Learn this considerable know-how when developing a Flutter application.

  • Data Management

Flutter applications are built using Dart language, Dart is a single-threaded language and so are Flutter applications. Know how to periodically manage the data of a flutter application.

1. API Calls

While developing a Flutter application, developers should create a separate class for API calls. Creating multiple API classes may slow down the overall developer productivity. We recommend using a DRY pattern which stands for Don’t Repeat Yourself.

Use Async/await as much as required because while Await makes it straightforward to fetch & read the data, Async prevents it from blocking the main thread. For example, logging an event in your analytics toolkit, you could log the event without waiting for the results.

One can also use then() instead of await for doing multiple API calls in a chained fashion.

For HTTP calls, there are multiple packages available to make them easy. Dio is one such recommended package.

For longer lists, make sure that you use pagination i.e. fetch the data in chunks from the server itself.

2. Local Data

Local database in Flutter can be stored using Shared  Preferences, SQFlite & text files. But which one of these should be used depends completely on the nature of the data.

For a small amount of data like the last cursor position, the last visited page, user-specific settings, etc shared preferences are most suitable. But for storing a large amount of data (which can be relational), a database is required. Try and keep the database related code in models or repositories which will result in more testable, maintainable & reusable code.

3. Data Sync

Synchronization has always been a tricky and hard problem in computer science. Many apps have tried to implement their own implementations in the past and few of them have been successful. The same problem is visible in Flutter as well. Because of its cross-platform nature, we’re yet to see a synchronization framework similar to native Android and iOS for Flutter. We’d recommend using native sync frameworks for now using Platform Channels.

  • State Management & Architectural Patterns

Flutter’s ecosystem is rife with state management techniques with a new technique coming in quickly each day. From setState() to BLoC pattern, developers are very much divided with their own opinions for each pattern.

While a highly subjective topic, we recommend that you recognize your app from a complexity perspective.

Let’s understand this with a simple example:

  1. For a simple app that changes between login page and home page that will only fetch the details related to the person who has logged in you could use setState() to change the state of the screens.
  2. For a moderately complex application where the data is being collected through multiple APIs and is being stored locally, you could go with Provider along with ChangeNotifier.
  3. A very complex application like a marketplace application where the data is collected from various different platforms should definitely be built with a BLoC pattern.

There are of course many other state management techniques like Redux, MobX, ScopedModel, InheritedWidget, etc. Make sure you read each pattern carefully with their pros and cons before investing your time and energy into it.

  • Building UI

While some developers find Flutter UI a tricky task, some enjoy its declarative UI feature. A flutter is a cross-platform tool hence, the selection of UI widgets needs to be done considering both of the platforms i.e. Android & iOS. If you’re building an app that’s targeted towards iOS users, make sure that you use more Cupertino widgets rather than Material widgets and vice versa. Also, note that the Cupertino widgets are limited as compared to Material widgets due to the fact that Google itself follows Material Design as a reference throughout their own products. All in all, we’d suggest going with your own brand-first design as Flutter is well-suited for them rather than using the stock widgets.

Flutter also has a PlatformView widget which allows embedding native platform controls. Make sure that you use it in order to implement the missing functionalities.

Limitation of Flutter

With so many advantages Flutter comes with some limitations as well. Let’s count on what are the disadvantages or limitations of the Flutter framework.

1. Lack of third-party libraries and widgets

Flutter is not too old, unlike its contemporaries and lacks the presence of third-party libraries. Although, it gives an amazing UI package, yet the requirement of third-party libraries for extensive development is still awaited.

For example, it’s rather easy to find libraries for React Native than Flutter. Also, some widgets in Flutter are specific to one platform. This may make some developers move away from Flutter if what they need is not available for their target platform.

2. Development takes place in Dart

Although Dart is easy to learn, fast and object-oriented programming language, yet it is still not as popular as its peers such as Java, C, JavaScript or C#. Not many developers are well versed with Dart as compared to other programming languages.

However, Google is putting a lot of effort to bring developers to Dart and ultimately to Flutter. They keep their documentation up-to-date too.

3. Limited Support

Flutter is fairly new in the market. Although, it enjoys great attention from the community of tech enthusiasts, yet proper continuous support is missing, which would come with time. Hence, the only support a developer can get is from the community.

We’re not complaining though. The community is welcoming and friendly in nature. They also expect first-timers to send them pull-requests. They have a dedicated guide to receive contribution which every developer should read before starting.

4. Limited use-cases

Flutter has launched its version 1.0 just a few months back, and the best of it is yet to come with time. Developers around the world are making amazing apps with Flutter. However, there are some cases where Flutter falls short as compared to Native apps.

For example, complex games are yet to be made in Flutter. Things like 3D modeling, Unity integration, game engines are expected from the community at large. Many mobile ad platforms do not support Flutter too. Although this seems to be a passing phase. The amount of development that has been done on Flutter clearly tells that all these things will happen very quickly.

Ultimately, realize that no technology/framework/programming language is a silver bullet. You’ll always have to mix-and-match to get the job done.

Being a leading Flutter App Development Company in India, CitrusLeaf Software has attempted many successful milestones in the arena of mobile & web app development. With every success, our team has attained proficiency in developing a software business solution for various industry verticals. Hence, we are adept at analyzing the ups & downs for different development platforms, languages and tech-stacks.