One of the questions we have had to answer most frequently at Liquid when analyzing a project that requires a mobile application is what type of development we consider more appropriate: cross-platform or native. The answer is not always the same depending on the client's different requirements. However, over the past few years, we have noticed that in the vast majority of projects certain factors are repeated that help in choosing between one type of development or another.
In our case as a studio we embraced Flutter as a cross-platform application framework in late 2018, seeing the potential it could have with Google backing it. During this time, the framework has evolved so much that it has become our primary choice for mobile development, to the point that over 85% of our app projects are developed in Flutter. For this reason, we present below a series of advantages that we believe the framework offers when choosing the type of development for your mobile application.
Flutter development provides a key advantage in terms of efficiency: by using a single codebase you can create applications for both iOS and Android simultaneously, drastically reducing development time. In contrast, native development requires the creation of two separate codebases, increasing complexity and time requirements. This time savings in Flutter allows for a much more agile development process making it easier to release a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Updating and maintaining a Flutter application is simpler compared to native applications for the same reason as mentioned in the previous point. Single-codebase updates ensure that bug fixes and feature enhancements are implemented across all platforms simultaneously, reducing the risk of inconsistencies between versions.
Consistent User Interface
Flutter provides customizable widgets that allow you to create a highly personalized and consistent user interface across all platforms. This is especially valuable for businesses aiming to maintain their visual identity across different operating systems.
Performance and Access to Native Features
There is a common perception that cross-platform development sacrifices a lot in terms of application performance. However, Flutter offers a substantial improvement in this regard compared to other frameworks like React Native, coming close to the performance of a native application thanks to its Skia graphics engine. Additionally, Flutter allows for a native visual aesthetic and provides access to native features through plugins, enabling developers to leverage platform-specific features when necessary.
Flutter has built an active developer community worldwide. The community continues to grow and is supported by Google, which means there is a wide range of documentation, tutorials, and online resources available. This simplifies learning and problem-solving, giving you the confidence that you are making decisions backed by accumulated expertise. Furthermore, Google has not stopped evolving and improving the framework since its creation in 2017.
Development in Flutter can result in significant cost savings compared to native development. Having a single project reduces costs in terms of resources, development hours, maintenance, and potential future updates.
That being said, the choice between Flutter and native development ultimately depends on the project's needs and objectives. However, the advantages that Flutter offers in terms of efficiency, consistency, ease of maintenance, community support, and cost savings make it an attractive option for many businesses and individual developers today. The ability to create high-quality, high-performance applications for Android and iOS without compromising on quality is what positions Flutter in a privileged position in the mobile app development landscape.