With over 58.3 percent of the worldwide internet traffic stemming from mobile apps, according to Statista, in 2023, it is evident that users have embraced mobile-based solutions.
Furthermore, in the first quarter of 2023, there were over 27 billion downloads from the Google Play Store Statista claims.
These numbers of downloads are an example of how much users have embraced mobile apps.
Businesses that wish to take advantage of this new revolution and meet the needs of their valued customers.
Often, they need help building their mobile-based products quickly and efficiently.
This is where Flutter becomes the choicest solution. Some top companies like Google, Toyota, eBay, and BMW have some of their top apps made with Flutter.
Flutter is for cross-mobile development. It is a software development kit (SDK) from Google that helps users deliver native-looking and near-native performance mobile apps, all from one codebase.
What this means is that you can save time and cost without sacrificing quality.
In this article, we will talk about building Flutter apps for businesses.
Advantages of using Flutter for your Business
- Fast development: Flutter has a hot-reload feature that allows users to see instant changes without resetting the state.
- Native performance: Flutter code compiles to native code, which makes Flutter apps perform like their native counterparts.
- Rich user interface (UI) toolkit: Flutter comes prepacked with all the UI components called widgets you need to build mobile apps. Some of the widgets are specific to the platform you want to target.
- Open-source: The Flutter framework is open-source, which makes it easy for businesses to extend the codebase and add specific features that meet the business’s needs.
- Target platform: Build your business apps targeting Android, iOS, MacOS, Linux, Windows, and even the web, all from one code base.
Flutter is heavily prepacked with already-made code snippets to help you develop your app.
The community spans over 19000 thousand contributors to the Flutter repository.
These contributors do some abstractions to help make writing Flutter even easier.
Flutter package repository
Most of the things you might need to make navigation or even build a very sophisticated UI can be found here.
Flutter has become very popular over the years since 2018, and so there are many templates that you can easily see and use for your apps.
Websites like Flutter Awesome have hundreds of Flutter open-source projects that you can use in your projects.
Step-By-Step Guide to Developing Your Flutter App
Developing an app-based solution is a process, and a lot has to be considered before the app is created or launched.
In this section, we will go over all that needs to be considered while learning Flutter terms that can help you communicate better with your developer team if you have one.
Step #1. Define clear app goals and Target audience
While building your app-based solution, defining the goals of your app, the problem it is trying to solve, and having a target audience is not just a formality.
Clearly stating the app goals will help, and finding the right audience you intend to serve sets up your app for an effective development process.
Consider this example: if you want to create an app that helps connect local engineers and potential employers, clearly defining the audience immediately informs you that engineers are within a particular region or geographic area.
Figuring this out helps you narrow down the kind of what kind of engineers, their needs, their technological inclinations, preferences, and what devices or operating system is most used. You can use a pool of information to make informed decisions.
Fortunately, Flutter spans all primary operating systems, so building all from one codebase won’t be a bother.
So you do not have to worry about how each app feels, looks, or performs.
Considering all these and clearly stating them will define your app structure and architecture from the ground up.
Step #2. Market Research
Doing thorough market research only gives your app an advantage over existing ones.
Doing proper market research gives an idea of what other apps offer and how to improve those offers or offer something more unique or different.
If you do it better, you can secure a larger audience.
Step #3. Plan App Functionality and Features
Considering what core features the users will need on the first launch is necessary.
This is essential if you need to launch the app quickly to secure an audience on the market.
Overloading an app with too many features on the first launch can lead to drawbacks.
The development process might become too complex, leading to delays and potentially comprising quality assurance.
Too many features in your app can confuse the user, making it harder for the user to understand or grasp the central proposition of the app.
Instead, focus on delivering the primary features that present the core functionality of your app.
When you have gained some user base and traction, you can start pushing out other features based on users’ feedback and trends or improving user workflow.
With the current package introduced by the Flutter community, you can set up a workflow that can help you push updates directly to your user’s devices.
Shorebird is a cloud service that lets developers push updates directly to users’ devices from your terminal.
This helps you eliminate the stress of app store submissions you must go through to push apps and lets you focus on the features, user satisfaction, and improvements.
Step #4. Design for Usability and Accessibility
Functionality is the most desirable, but aesthetics, ease of use, and intuitiveness are also essential and should be considered.
User experience and interface are important parts of the app-building process as they will help users use your app correctly.
Flutter has many ready-to-use widgets and libraries to help users use your app with fewer hitches.
For example, Flutter implements a widget called a tooltip to help users identify what specific icons in your app do when they long-press.
Furthermore, Dart’s flexibility makes it easy to write native code for native functionalities, so everything you need to give the best UX/UI across all environments and scenarios is available.
Step #5. Implement testing strategies
Writing testable code is one of Flutter’s best practices, and it helps you prevent future refactoring and helps you keep a maintainable codebase.
Setting up your app to be tested in various environments and scenarios failure-proofs your app and makes your app even more trustworthy.
The practice is to write tests for each feature you wish to implement before it reaches production.
Tests also serve as documentation for insights into how your app features should and should not work. Tests keep your app consistent all the time.
Flutter provides all the test suites you need to test your app.
Step #6. Deploying and Distributing your Flutter app
Deploying and distributing your app is simplified in Flutter, with the introduction of Shorebird discussed in previous sections.
Before Shorebird, submitting your app to the app store was pretty straightforward.
You can set up pipelines like Codemagic to deliver your application, which is easy, or upload your application bundle on the Google Play Console directly.
You can also set up analytical tools like Crashlytics from Firebase to help monitor your app’s performance when in production.
With the analytics tool, you can improve your app even more efficiently.
Undoubtedly, Flutter is an outstanding cross-platform tool and is loved by the community.
Its support and followers on GitHub validate this.
Its hot-reload feature, native performance, rich UI toolkit, and open-source support make it a good choice for businesses of all sizes.
Following this step-by-step guide, businesses should be able to develop apps that meet their user needs and encourage growth.