Episode Summary for Flutter: Native Web and Mobile App Development with Allen Wyma

Flutter is a UI toolkit developed by Google that helps developers build natively compiled applications for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded device under of Plangora, a web and mobile development company that specializes in PHP, iOS with Swift, Android with Java, WordPress, and Flutter. Allen is also an Elixir Mix panelist at Devchat.tv where he interviews members of the Elixir community. He is a Flutter expert and has a podcast Flying High with Flutter. We discussed native app development and developing with Flutter. 

With Flutter, developers can build apps for iOS, Android, Xbox, and web apps and all in production quality. There is also desktop support for Windows, Mac, and Linux. One of the features of Flutter is null checking. It helps to catch a lot of errors that usually users run into. Removing the idea of nulls also reduces the code that users compile. Hence, users can reduce their app size just by turning on the null safety feature. They will also get the benefits of having safer code and fewer crashes in their app.

Flutter runs mostly in the Dart programming language. Dart is a mixture of JavaScript and Java. The advantage of Flutter is that numerous new features are coming into Dart continuously. According to one of the creators of Dart, the technology that helps Flutter code gets transpiled cross-platform actually came from Google Chrome. The user interface of Flutter is also mostly based on Google Chrome. One of the nice parts of the development process by using Flutter is an app feels about the same across, although there are also minor differences between platforms. For instance, on Android users can have some additional options like a list view as they call it, a long scrollable list. Although users can make them change per platform, the apps are the same in general.

Cross-platform compatibility and a similar interface help to cut down on a couple of things. Firstly, general testing is done straightforwardly, and the user makes sure the application looks and feels nice. Since when users run this app on Android or iOS, they are going to get the same feeling. Flutter helps developers to build apps that are not only functional but also good-looking. There are never any worries about visuals in Flutter. The powerful part of Flutter is that users get a consistent feeling across platforms, with some minor differences between every platform. The advantage of cross-platform working is that once users reach an error-free program, they get a very consistent app across both platforms. WeChat, Tencent, BMW, eBay are some of the companies that take advantage of Flutter. 

Flutter is easy to learn as well. Allen Wyma says one of his employees who is from a physics background and no coding experience earlier, started developing apps after spending a weekend learning Flutter. He explains there is an explosion of development by using Flutter in Asia, particularly, in Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In these areas, people download the Flutter SDK, install it and directly start building applications. 

Allen Wyma says, “My personal opinion is that Flutter is extremely easy to get up to speed, no matter if you’ve had a background in coding or not. Because a lot of people have no background at all, and they’re building apps. Now, they may not be bug-free, but they’re building apps and some of them look really, really nice. “ In some workshops in Hong Kong, he found that a lot of designers who’ve never even coded before were able to pick up Flutter quite quickly and make some interesting-looking apps. The real power of Flutter is that users can make some very beautiful-looking apps just by using a couple of widgets and components. Since Flutter mostly focuses on the user interface side, it is also important that packages work properly and suit well for a particular application. 

Regarding in comparison of React Native and Flutter, Allen Wyma says, “I think, the positives in my experience so far have proven to me and given me the confidence that I don’t ever see a reason to go back to native, especially since I could make whatever I want.” 

Allen Wyma says Flutter is not so popular because people do not really understand it. People assume it as a cross-platform application that uses a similar background with other technologies based on HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Secondly, there is the perception that when the developer says having cross-platform, people think users are not going to get very good performance and quality out of it. People think that developers sacrifice the quality of native performance by going cross-platform. However, that is not true at all when users use some application that is based on Flutter. There’s a lot of Flutter apps that most people do not realize are actually based on Flutter.

The Flutter community and development environment are going bigger day by day.  Engineers of Flutter add more platforms and features constantly. Flutter becomes a more smooth working application as well. They try their best to make things better. Allen Wyma recommends users go to the dartpad.dev website and try it themselves. Considering the advantages like fast development, expressive design architecture, well-built widgets and cross-platform compatibility, it seems that Flutter will be much more popular in the future. For more information, you can visit the Flutter website flutter.dev

This summary is based on an interview with Allen Wyma, Founder of Plangora. To listen to the full interview, click here.

Mert Saner

Mert is a Scientific Computing Master of Science Student at the Technical University of Berlin. He’s interested in data science and quantum computing.

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