what is flutter

What is Flutter? Building Beautiful Cross-Platform Apps

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Aron Michel



In today’s digital age, mobile application development has become a vital aspect of businesses and individuals looking to reach a wider audience. With the ever-growing demand for apps, developers seek efficient ways to create high-quality applications for multiple platforms.

Flutter, a popular open-source UI framework developed by Google, has revolutionized the way developers build cross-platform applications. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive introduction to Flutter, exploring its key features, advantages, and its role in enabling developers to create stunning and performant apps for iOS, Android, and beyond.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a free and open-source UI framework developed by Google that allows developers to build high-quality native interfaces for iOS, Android, web, and desktop applications from a single codebase. Unlike traditional cross-platform frameworks, Flutter employs a unique approach called “write once, run anywhere,” where the same codebase can be used to develop applications for multiple platforms, ensuring consistency and reducing development time.

Key Features of Flutter

Fast Development

Flutter offers a hot reload feature that allows developers to see the changes made in the code instantly, without the need for recompilation. This significantly speeds up the development process, enabling developers to experiment, iterate, and fine-tune their apps quickly.

Beautiful UIs

Flutter provides a rich set of customizable and pre-built widgets, allowing developers to create visually stunning and interactive user interfaces. With Flutter’s Material Design and Cupertino (iOS-style) widgets, developers can achieve native-like UI experiences on different platforms.

High Performance

Flutter’s underlying rendering engine, called Skia, ensures smooth and responsive interfaces, delivering excellent performance on both iOS and Android platforms. Flutter apps are compiled to native code, eliminating the need for JavaScript bridges and providing fast startup times and efficient execution.

Access to Native Features

Flutter offers extensive access to native device features and APIs through platform channels. This allows developers to leverage device-specific functionalities such as camera access, geolocation, sensors, and more, providing a seamless user experience.

Rich Development Ecosystem

Flutter provides a robust and growing ecosystem with various libraries, packages, and tools. The Flutter community actively contributes to the ecosystem, offering solutions for various use cases, including state management, networking, persistence, and testing.

How does Flutter work?

Flutter works by utilizing its own rendering engine, widget framework, and development tools to create cross-platform mobile applications. Here’s an overview of how Flutter works:

Flutter Architecture

Flutter follows a reactive and component-based architecture. At the core of Flutter is the Flutter engine, which is written in C++ and provides low-level rendering capabilities using the Skia graphics library. The engine handles tasks like rendering, animation, and gesture recognition. On top of the engine, Flutter uses the Dart framework for building user interfaces.

Dart Programming Language

Flutter uses Dart as its primary programming language. Dart is a modern, object-oriented language developed by Google. It offers features like strong typing, garbage collection, and a just-in-time (JIT) compiler for fast development cycles. Dart is used to write the logic and structure of the application, including UI components, business logic, and communication with backend services.

Widget-based UI Framework

Flutter employs a widget-based UI framework. Widgets are the building blocks of a Flutter application and represent different parts of the user interface, such as buttons, text fields, and containers. Flutter provides a rich set of customizable and pre-built widgets that can be combined and nested to create complex UI layouts. Widgets in Flutter are reactive, meaning they can rebuild and update themselves in response to changes in state or user interactions.

Hot Reload

One of the key features of Flutter is its hot reload capability. Hot reload allows developers to make changes to their code and instantly see the results in the running app, without the need for a full restart or recompilation. This feature significantly speeds up the development process, enabling developers to experiment, iterate, and fine-tune their apps quickly.

Platform Channels

Flutter provides platform channels that allow developers to access native platform features and APIs. This enables integration with device-specific functionalities such as camera access, geolocation, sensors, and more. Platform channels act as a bridge between the Flutter app and the underlying native code, facilitating communication and interaction with the device’s capabilities.

Skia Graphics Engine

Flutter utilizes the Skia graphics engine for rendering UI elements. Skia is a powerful and efficient 2D graphics library that provides high-performance rendering across different platforms. It handles the rendering of UI elements, animations, and effects, ensuring smooth and responsive user interfaces.

Cross-platform Support

With Flutter, developers write a single codebase that can be compiled to native machine code for multiple platforms. The Flutter engine provides a consistent runtime environment across iOS and Android, ensuring a consistent user experience. This approach saves development time and effort by eliminating the need to write separate codebases for each platform.

Development Tools

Flutter provides a set of development tools that facilitate the creation, testing, and debugging of Flutter applications. Flutter SDK includes the Flutter command-line tools, which offer functionalities like creating new projects, running the app, and managing dependencies. Flutter also integrates with popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio Code and Android Studio, providing features like code completion, debugging, and hot reload support.

flutter app development

Advantages of Using Flutter

Single Codebase

With Flutter, developers can write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms, saving time and effort. This approach reduces the need to maintain separate codebases for iOS and Android, leading to faster development cycles and easier code maintenance.

Faster Development

Flutter’s hot reload feature enables developers to see the changes in real-time, making the development process highly iterative and efficient. This feature significantly reduces the time required for UI changes, bug fixes, and feature enhancements.

Consistent User Experience

Flutter provides a set of highly customizable widgets that offer a native-like look and feel on different platforms. This ensures a consistent user experience, regardless of the underlying operating system, enhancing brand identity and user satisfaction.


Flutter’s use of native rendering and compilation to machine code results in high-performance applications. Flutter apps achieve smooth animations, fast startup times, and efficient memory usage, enhancing the overall user experience.

Access to Native Features

Flutter’s platform channels enable developers to access native device features and APIs seamlessly. This allows the integration of device-specific functionalities, providing a native-like experience for users.

Disadvantages of Using Flutter

While Flutter offers numerous advantages for cross-platform mobile app development, it is essential to consider its potential disadvantages as well. Here are some of the challenges and limitations associated with using Flutter:

Limited Maturity

Flutter, compared to more established frameworks like React Native or native development, is relatively new. As a result, the framework’s ecosystem and community, while growing rapidly, may not be as extensive or mature as those of more established alternatives. This can sometimes lead to limited resources, fewer third-party libraries, and a smaller talent pool of experienced Flutter developers.

Large App Size

Flutter apps tend to have larger file sizes compared to their native counterparts. This is primarily due to the inclusion of the Flutter engine and other necessary dependencies within the app package. Although efforts have been made to optimize app size, it remains a consideration, particularly for apps with limited storage capacity or in regions with slower internet connections.

Performance Limitations

While Flutter is known for its high-performance capabilities, there may be specific scenarios where native development provides better performance. For applications that require intensive processing, such as graphics-heavy games or complex animations, Flutter’s rendering engine may not perform as efficiently as platform-specific alternatives.

Limited Platform-specific Features

Flutter’s primary focus is to provide a unified UI experience across platforms, which means it may lack access to certain platform-specific features or APIs that are not yet fully supported. While Flutter’s platform channels allow developers to bridge the gap and access native functionalities, it may require additional effort to integrate and maintain platform-specific code.

Learning Curve

Although Flutter uses the Dart programming language, which is relatively easy to learn, developers who are unfamiliar with Dart may face a learning curve when adopting Flutter. While Flutter’s hot reload feature facilitates rapid development, developers still need time to familiarize themselves with Flutter’s widget-based architecture and other framework-specific concepts.

Limited UI Customization

Flutter offers a set of pre-built widgets and UI components, which makes it easy to create beautiful and consistent UIs. However, this can also limit the level of customization compared to developing natively or using other frameworks. Customizing certain platform-specific UI elements or adhering strictly to platform-specific design guidelines may require additional effort and workarounds.

Compatibility Issues

As Flutter relies on its rendering engine, it may face compatibility issues with older devices or specific device configurations. Although Flutter aims to provide a consistent experience across different devices, some edge cases or platform-specific variations may require additional attention and testing.

e-commerce app build by flutter

Types of businesses that should use Flutter

1. Startups and Small Businesses

Startups and small businesses often have limited resources, including time and budget. Flutter allows them to develop a single codebase that can be deployed on both iOS and Android platforms, reducing development time and costs. It also enables startups to quickly iterate on their app’s design and features using Flutter’s hot reload feature, facilitating rapid prototyping and experimentation.

2. Service-based Businesses

Service-based businesses, such as on-demand service providers, delivery services, or booking platforms, can benefit from using Flutter. Flutter’s ability to create visually appealing and responsive user interfaces enables businesses to deliver an excellent user experience to their customers. With Flutter’s fast development cycles, businesses can iterate and update their apps to meet changing customer needs and market demands efficiently.

3. E-commerce Businesses

E-commerce businesses require robust and feature-rich mobile apps to provide a seamless shopping experience to their customers. Flutter’s ability to create visually stunning UIs and its access to native features make it a suitable choice for developing e-commerce apps. Additionally, Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities allow businesses to reach a wider audience by deploying their apps on both iOS and Android platforms.

4. Content Publishing and Media Companies

Content publishing and media companies, such as news outlets, magazines, or video streaming platforms, can leverage Flutter’s capabilities to create engaging and visually appealing mobile apps. Flutter’s rich set of UI widgets and animations enable businesses to deliver an immersive and interactive content consumption experience to their users. The framework’s hot reload feature also facilitates content updates and app customization in real-time.

5. Travel and Tourism Industry

Businesses in the travel and tourism industry can benefit from using Flutter to develop mobile apps that provide a seamless booking experience, travel itineraries, and destination information. Flutter’s performance and access to device features like geolocation and camera make it suitable for creating travel-related apps with real-time information and engaging user interfaces.

7. Social Networking and Communication Platforms

Social networking platforms and communication apps can take advantage of Flutter’s real-time updates and responsive UI capabilities. Flutter’s ability to handle animations and transitions smoothly enables businesses to create visually appealing and interactive user experiences. Additionally, Flutter’s compatibility with Firebase, Google’s mobile and web development platform, allows for seamless integration of real-time messaging and other collaborative features.

Flutter’s Future and Community Support

Flutter has gained significant traction since its release and continues to grow in popularity. Google provides strong support for Flutter, regularly releasing updates, improvements, and new features.

The Flutter community is also highly active, contributing packages, libraries, and solutions to enhance the framework’s capabilities and provide support to fellow developers.


Flutter has revolutionized cross-platform mobile application development, offering developers a powerful and efficient framework to build high-quality apps for multiple platforms. With its fast development cycles, beautiful UIs, high performance, and access to native features, Flutter has quickly become a favorite among developers worldwide.

As the framework continues to evolve and gain community support, its potential for creating stunning and performant applications across various platforms becomes even more promising. By embracing Flutter, developers can unlock new possibilities and deliver exceptional user experiences while reducing development time and effort.


  • Mobile App Development
  • Web application Development

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