Flutter is an open-source framework to help developers make cross-platform apps for Android and iOS. It has been designed to function as a rendering engine that can be used for both the development of 2D and 3D graphics. Flutter offers several benefits over other frameworks, such as ease of use, fast applications, and built-in widgets. That’s why it’s currently seen as the best platform to make hybrid apps. In this post we will explain what makes Flutter so great!
We’ll start by looking at some important parts of any app – the UI (User Interface), how it’s created, and whether or not it needs to be updated in every device. We’ll then look at the Flutter framework, and how it differs from native widgets. Next, we will look at the Dart language by which Flutter apps are written in. This will give us a better understanding of how these apps can be created for multiple platforms. Finally, we will discuss whether Flutter should be used to build native projects or hybrid apps that use both native and Flutter components.
1) UI Components
A GUI (Graphical User Interface) is the part of your app that allows you to interact with your users. This includes buttons, text fields, lists, lists with checkboxes, different ways to tell the user how they’re doing something (yes/no buttons), etc.
The problem with a GUI is that it needs to be updated whenever a new device is being used. So for example, if you want your app to look good if the user has an iPhone X or an iPad Pro, you need different images and different UI components.
Making these UI components from scratch is very expensive, time-wise. That’s why most iOS/Android apps out there use a 3rd party framework called XIB (XML Interface Builder). With XIBs you can make all your UI components in one window and just save as XML files that can be easily used in the app.
This also avoids the need to tightly integrate your UI into your app. This is a good thing, because it allows you to easily customize your app for multiple clients or just use a third party framework.
The main advantage of XIBs is that they’re great at separating objects from logic. For example, if you create an image of a button, you can reuse it in other projects without needing to copy the code that creates the button.
All those small actions add up, and they make your app a lot more efficient.
As you can see, XIBs are not ideal for a UI that needs to be updated in every device. For an app like that the best way is to use Flutter’s components instead of XIBs. Now let’s get into them.
2) Components vs Widgets
Flutter provides 3 types of components: widgets, providers, and building blocks (this post will focus on the widgets). The three components share the same syntax but have different features and purpose.
Widgets are way more flexible than providers. For example, you can pass a specific ImageView in your widget, and the size of the component will change depending on the device. This means that a widget is able to do much more than just add an image to your app; it can be used as a UI component or even part of a dialog.
But you can’t use widgets in every situation. For example, you may need to add some special behavior to some components. Widgets don’t support that – their purpose is just to add images and text into an app. So if something needs more complicated logic such as rendering or animation, then you need to use providers instead.
You may be wondering what’s the difference between providers and building blocks. They both seem to do the same thing – add some kind of functionality to an app.
That’s true, but providers are meant to provide one-time information, while building blocks are meant to be used repetitively. For example, if you need a pop-up that shows a message each time a user clicks on something in your app, then you need a provider. But if you need a button that is inside of your app’s navigation menu, then you just need the click listener and not a provider because it will only be used once.