Exploring Flutter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Exploring Flutter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Exploring Flutter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Flutter, Google’s open-source software development kit (SDK) designed for rapid iOS and Android app development with code sharing at its core. We’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of Flutter, its features, and the development experience.

The Rise and Fall of React Native

Before we dive into Flutter, it’s essential to acknowledge the changing landscape of cross-platform app development. React Native, once a dominant player, has seen a decline in popularity. Prominent companies like Airbnb and Udacity have publicly announced their abandonment of React Native. This shift has left developers and organizations exploring alternative solutions like Flutter.

Introducing Flutter

In 2017, Google unveiled Flutter during its annual Google IO developers conference. Since then, Flutter has come a long way, with Google declaring it ready for production. Let’s explore some key highlights:

Pixel-Perfect iOS Apps

Flutter’s recent focus has been on achieving pixel-perfect iOS apps, complementing its initial emphasis on Android’s Material Design.

Compact App Size

Flutter boasts a reduced package size, with a minimal Android app occupying just 4.7MB in release mode.

GitHub Activity

It’s worth noting that Flutter has become one of the top 50 most active repositories on GitHub, demonstrating its vibrant developer community.

Adoption by Big Players

Notable companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Google Ads have embraced Flutter for building their mobile apps, contributing to its growing popularity.

Getting Hands-On with Flutter

Fueled by curiosity, we decided to explore Flutter further by creating a real application. We’ll walk you through our findings, covering various aspects of this cross-platform framework.

Understanding Flutter

Flutter is an open-source SDK developed by Google for building iOS and Android apps with shared code. It leverages the Dart programming language, which is user-friendly, especially for those familiar with Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, Swift, or C#.

Ahead-of-Time Compilation

Unlike React Native, Flutter compiles apps ahead of time into native ARM code, leading to enhanced performance without the need for a JavaScript bridge.

Custom UI Rendering

Flutter distinguishes itself by rendering UI components from scratch using the Skia graphics library, resulting in consistent UI across different platforms.

Unidirectional Data Flow

Following a similar architecture to React Native, Flutter employs a unidirectional data flow that ensures UI updates based on changes in the app’s state.

Hot Reloading

Developers will appreciate Flutter’s hot reloading feature, allowing quick code changes with real-time UI updates, even though it lacks a visual editor.

Extensibility with Plugins

Flutter’s extensibility shines through third-party plugins, enabling the addition of custom UI components or platform-specific features.

Platform-Specific Code

Flutter simplifies platform-specific code integration by supporting conditional execution based on the target platform or creating custom native plugins.

Performance Optimization

For optimal performance, Flutter minimizes UI redraws and only updates portions of the interface affected by state changes.

Development Tools

While you can use any text editor with Flutter, recommended options like Android Studio, Visual Studio Code, or IntelliJ provide essential features like intellisense, autocompletion, and debugging tools.

Assessing Flutter: The Good

Platform-Agnostic UI

Flutter’s ability to draw its UI components results in platform-agnostic apps, ensuring consistent visual experiences across devices and OS versions.

Hot Reloading

Developers benefit from Flutter’s hot reloading, streamlining the development process and saving time typically spent on rebuilding and testing.

Reusable Components and Reactive Programming

Flutter encourages the creation of small, reusable components that respond to changes in the app’s state, promoting a reactive programming model.

Dart Programming Language

Dart, the language behind Flutter, offers simplicity, power, and consistency, making asynchronous programming a breeze.

Built-In Testing

Flutter and Dart provide built-in support for unit testing and widget testing, simplifying quality assurance efforts.

Theming Flexibility

Flutter excels in theming, allowing developers to customize every aspect of the app’s UI with minimal code.

Cross-Platform Alignment

Developing for both platforms simultaneously ensures alignment and streamlines maintenance.

Assessing Flutter: The Not-So-Good

Custom UI Rendering

While Flutter’s custom UI rendering ensures consistency, it may lag behind native platforms when updates to UI components occur.

Limited Plugin Ecosystem

Flutter’s plugin ecosystem, though growing, is not as extensive as its competitors, which can limit options for specific features.

Debugging Challenges

Debugging in Flutter is not as robust as native development, with less extensive debugging tools and potentially confusing error logs.

Programmatic UI Creation

Creating UI programmatically in the same Dart files as the app’s logic lacks the separation found in native Android development.

Architectural Clarity

Unlike established architectural patterns in native development, Flutter’s architecture is still evolving, requiring developers to navigate uncharted territory.


In conclusion, Flutter offers a promising cross-platform development solution with significant advantages, particularly in rapid prototyping and cross-platform alignment. It excels in areas like platform-agnostic UI, hot reloading, reusable components, and theming flexibility. However, challenges remain in areas such as custom UI rendering, limited plugins, debugging, programmatic UI creation, and architectural clarity.

Ultimately, Flutter’s suitability depends on your specific project requirements and priorities. It shines in scenarios where speed to market and cross-platform compatibility are paramount, while the UI’s native appearance may be less critical. As the Flutter ecosystem continues to mature, it presents an increasingly compelling option for mobile app development.

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