By Tim Ruddell, Senior Software Engineer, ClearPoint

There is no doubt: there’s been an increase in demand for future-focused mobile technologies. This has led product delivery teams to feel the increased pressure to deliver market-ready solutions quickly without compromising on quality.

Within a highly dynamic and ever-expanding market, businesses understand that consistent user experiences across platforms are essential for maintaining the integrity of their brand. In traditional software development, these requirements generally necessitate larger teams with diverse skill-sets, which is reflected in development costs. In order to meet the rapid demands of market development, these traditional approaches are no longer efficient.

Google’s Flutter is transforming the way developers are approaching the design phase by revolutionising the app development process for both businesses and developers. Flutter has enabled smaller teams at ClearPoint to deliver cross-platform software in record time (see our case study for PartPay here), while maintaining the quality and integrity expected from world-class digital experiences. If your team is yet to discover Flutter, it’s time to learn more.

Flutter for Cross-Platform App Development

Flutter’s dynamic features make cross-platform app development more efficient than ever before. But what is it that makes this one of the most efficient tools for this kind of development?

Cross-platform technology
Flutter is driven by a single, unified codebase. This means that Flutter enables developers to build apps for different platforms in parallel, so cross-platform apps remain functionally aligned at all times. With traditional software development, developers need to develop separate apps using distinct tools and languages, which can raise costs significantly. There are also inherent risks involved with developing separate apps.

Without a unified UI framework, there is the risk of staggered releases, whereby one platform release may delay the other’s release to market. This is because certain features may be more difficult to implement on one platform than another. With Flutter’s cross-platform technology, developers can consolidate their focus into a single codebase, reducing both costs and risks.

Speed of development
Flutter is built on top of the Dart language, which yields ahead-of-time (AOT) compiled platform-specific assemblies and supports transpilation to JavaScript. These features have enabled Flutter to proliferate across different platforms with responsive, native performance. This not only enhances the speed of development, it also transforms the way developers code. Developers can prototype new ideas with ease and make modifications with business stakeholders to explore what represents their brand best in record time.

Customisable, flexible designs
Flutter comes with a comprehensive framework of widgets based on the Material Design language, which results in expressive, flexible designs. This enables developers and designers to coordinate, build and deploy visually impressive and highly-intuitive apps. Flutter’s extensible widget patterns offer customisable behaviours, animations and platform integrations, which will ensure your app aligns with your client’s brand.

Highly-adaptable framework
Technical managers frequently raise concerns around the risks of subjecting their team to learning a new language and framework. Given that developers often enter mobile development from web or desktop-based backgrounds, they are well-equipped to quickly learn the Flutter framework. JavaScript developers will find the type system and tooling more practicable than a typical TypeScript setup, and your Java and C# developers will find comfort in the familiar inheritance, interface, and generics patterns.

An important aspect of any modern UI framework is Unidirectional Data Flow, and Flutter is no exception. Your technical team already understands these concepts. If you support and entrust your team to take their skills to the next level, your business will grow with them.

Impressive plug-ins
Google has provided a mature set of plug-ins for integrating Firebase features. At ClearPoint, we utilise the Remote Config and Audience to enable experimental features, while ensuring that user experience remains stable. We have found the Remote Config feature optimises our force-update and maintenance-mode app states, allowing us to disable the app during an API update or force users to update. Other useful Firebase features include the streamlined analytic integrations, Cloud Messaging for push-notifications, and Crashlytics for monitoring release stability across devices.

In summary
Flutter’s powerful cross-platform app development framework has revolutionised the mobile market. To date, we have not seen a suite of cross-platform tools of Flutter’s calibre before…and these are still the early days of Flutter. At ClearPoint, we are looking forward to pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with Flutter, and to innovate and deliver world-class customer experiences.

See our capability on our Flutter page here or contact us today if you need a mobile app developed in record time.

Stay tuned for our next Flutter article, where we will delve into the journey from development to deployment with Flutter.