Updated: Feb 7
Since Google developed the Flutter framework in 2015, in recent times, many app developers have opted for this developer-friendly and open-source framework as one of the best cross-platform solutions. Its seamless technology enables them to build apps with a single codebase that runs on multiple platforms.
Why is Flutter highly used for developing mobile apps?
With Flutter, you can develop an app once and cross-compile them for multiple platforms while exploring new features. This solution allows app developers to enjoy easy and extensive documentation. And to add to this provision, the flutter framework also offers you the ability to preview changes in real-time, highly delivering performance applications, work with less-resource-intensive designs, and many more benefits.
Flutter gave rise to many modern applications on Android and iOS, and these include Google Pay, NuBank, Hamilton, and other branded app we mentioned before, such as Xianyu by Alibaba and My BMW App.
Out of many apps built with Flutter, some have grown to become more popular than others, below is a closer look at these unique applications in FinTech, Art, and Music.
Flutter as the cost-efficient app development platform
“Everyone loved Flutter — you could see the thrill on people’s faces as they talked about how fast it was to build a user interface.” - David Ko, Engineering Director, Google Pay
Google Pay allows users around the world to pay, save, manage expenses, and more. With 100 million existing users in dozens of countries, they would need a more sustainable way other than relying on those 1.7 million lines of code between their Android and iOS apps as Google Pay continues to expand to new counties.
Reaching new regions that has a massive amount of iOS users, is, as you can imagine, very challenging while their existing users were almost exclusively Android. Not only does it mean that they are going to need more iOS engineers, but the production is also higher in terms of doubling the efforts in building the features on both Android and iOS.
As a cross-platform framework, Flutter allows them to do more with less.
Migrating to Flutter would enable fast, resource-efficient scaling of Google Pay. Engineers can shift their work away from endlessly patching holes, and increase the speed and efficiency of their client development for faster response and implementation times.
The team was able to rewrite the existing Google Pay app with nearly 300 features and beta test it, then launch to over 100 million monthly active users, all while maintaining the legacy app.
The new codebase of the Google Pay app is 35% smaller than the original, it is 1.1 million lines instead of 1.7 million. It is more efficient to manage and easier to update even after adding several new features, as the team estimated, they have saved 60-70% of the engineers’ time. In the meantime, bringing the users fresh UI and features that they love.
Flutter provided a great foundation for the team to build on while the expansion of Google Pay is taking place in the rest of the world.
“Having Flutter as our main technology has significantly reduced the barrier, allowing new engineers to be able to contribute to our app within days after being onboarded.”
- Noe Branagan, Engineering Manager, Nubank
Growing extremely rapidly as the largest independent digital bank outside of Asia, Nubank needed to balance the quality and speed in giving users a safe and accessible way to manage their financial lives. To serve the growing numbers of users on top of the current 48 million users, Nubank struggled to find enough native mobile specialists to keep up with their ambitious pace. Obviously, having to write the same feature twice and launching a feature on one platform before another is too time-consuming and hard to scale up.
It became apparent that finding a suitable hybrid platform would be the next step. To find a solution that allowed their flutter teams to work autonomously, building the mobile app and delivering value on a single architecture, programming language, and set of conventions. The group of the most experienced developers was set out to evaluate the solutions options based on certain important criteria, such as long-term viability, incremental abstraction cost, non-linear abstraction risk, and whether consistency can be assured on both iOS and Android.
To do this, they assigned each of the candidate platforms a score in each of these areas through hands-on testing, conversations with specialists, feedback sessions, internal usability testing, and more. As the task force discovered, developers loved Flutter. Compared to the other options, it offered better hot reload abilities, strong documentation, and a more stable API.
The choice was clear. Flutter is outperforming other platforms in terms of developer experience, documentation, API stability, lack of platform specialization, and more. The team also loved Flutter’s testing capabilities, especially the built-in testing infrastructure for unit, integration, and end-to-end tests without the need for rendering to the screen.
As their decision was made, Flutter became Nubank’s go-to solution for mobile development. Since then, all new features have been written in Flutter, with legacy features migrated over time.
Wondering how your project and team can benefit from developing with Flutter framework? Feel free to reach out to us.
Developing apps with Flutter to innovate technology
one of the first applications built with Flutter:
The Hamilton APP is the official most well-known and award-winning Broadway musical built with the Flutter framework. Anyone who has been on this platform can excitedly talk about its user-friendliness. Besides making the show more accessible to the fans, Hamilton also wanted to expand the brand by enriching the user experience. With that in mind, the developer created the Hamilton App that includes a karaoke function to sing along to their favorite songs, a regular quiz game, buy merchandise through an e-commerce experience, and access to a variety of Hamilton lottery games, as well as exclusive videos and slideshows.
Flutter was primarily chosen for its modern, reactive UI toolkit that allows developers and designers to craft beautiful platform specific experiences. With customization of the natively available elements, the team was able to recreate regardless of using the android studio or Xcode. In addition to that, being able to develop a less complicated codebase, means that the development process can be more efficient yet keep a consistent app experience across platforms.
Developers can make changes fast and iterate through the UI without having to stop or restart the app. While the team was given a very tight timeline to turn the app around, they were still able to make changes quickly. In fact, the team even pushed an entirely new feature to the App store the day before its launch.
Apps built with Flutter can easily be delivered at a high level of quality, and this is what the Hamilton team has achieved. As the show continues to grow, Hamilton is going to be able to keep pace with the new features that are essential to creating a better experience while growing the brand.
Topline - Abbey Road Studios
Topline by Abbey Road Studios is the first-ever music application designed with musicians in the heart. It lets artists save their music ideas instantly and accurately before the moment is gone. The users/musicians can record their tracks, add lyrics, share files and sync them easily to the cloud.
To capture song ideas with mobile devices then collaborate with others using email wasn’t the most seamless experience for the artists. When Abbey Road Studios were to take risks and create an app with innovative technology, there weren’t many tools out there that are available.
With limited budget and resources, the app was only developed for iOS at the beginning. Getting flooded by the requests from all social media channels for the Android app, the studio had to be fast and agile in the mobile app development process, to stay true to their vision of democratization of music-making.
Flutter offers lean UX testing opportunities on both iOS and Android development to the Studio with its Hot Reload function. The Studio was getting feedback from users daily, finetuning functions such as tracking records, and button features. Users were feeding those features so fast, using Flutter SDK allows the team to keep up with them. As developers and musicians can sit down and work together, the app development process for delivering the near studio-level experience was around 10X quicker.
Wallace & Gromit AR
Aardman studios created the world of Wallace and Gromit in 1989, winning global audiences through stop-motion feature films, games comic strips, and more. In 2020, they decided to go further and merge the comic world with ours: creating the first interactive transmedia story with gameplays that can go on adventures with the characters in real-time.
The team at Fictioneers embarked on a journey to deliver an innovative AR gaming experience; to create an innovative app that delivered meaningful content on the smartphone. So they turned to Flutter and harnessed its power in tandem with the power of Unity to create something truly unique. It was a great fit for the breadth of media they wanted to share, as well as for the real-time storytelling components.
Flutter and its plug-in community enabled the team to quickly navigate a complex maze of integration.
Their senior software engineer Rex developed an open-source Unity integration specifically for the project, which is available for developers now. With one week, the team was able to ensure compatibility of their Unity AR such as AR call, AR Foundation, and all the libraries. And they were able to quickly validate and establish the value of presenting the casual gameplay and media in Flutter using fewer resources, by having rich but shorter AR interactions provided by Unity.
Flutter made it easy to maintain the interaction: Metchannel API is easy to understand and allows them to make bidirectional communication between Flutter and Unity. While retaining that beautiful and high-performance Flutter rendering engine that makes the app look and feels great. With Flutter animation support they can rapidly create a unique look and feel for the Wallace & Gromit App through animations and user interface. In particular, the predesigned behavior made it easier for the team to achieve the goals. From that, they then customized the effects to suit their Wallance & Gromit style. They’re also able to implement drawing-based animations using Adobe After Effects, Bodymovin, and Lottie. Something that really helps in terms of efficiency was that they were able to validate their approach to the UI through wireframing.
Thanks to the existing material component library, they were able to quickly bring together components that built the backbone of their application. Iterating on the wireframe app to bring in custom high-fidelity design components was helped greatly by the component-based architecture.
Overall, Flutter helped the team to achieve the ambitious vision of storytelling
If you’re interested to find out more about how to use Unity with Flutter to create your one-of-a-kind gameplay mobile app, listen to our podcast episode #21 with Maikha Abarca.
For learning resources visit: pub.dev/packages/flutter_unity_widget
Your next steps for Flutter app development?
There are several other apps built with Flutter, which are outstanding in providing services in the area of their coverage: Birch Finance, Sua Musica, Tencent, Weight Tracker, SpaceX Go, and many more.
Although Flutter is still relatively new, there are already many applications on the framework showing its compatibility. As the flutter community is growing rapidly, apps built with Flutter are getting better due to the creativity permitted on the framework.
Within 5 years, Plangora already helped over 50 companies to turn their concepts into real products. Our clients' fields include fin-tech, mobile apps, startups, AI, creative products, etc. We have helped build excellent social apps, service booking apps, productivity measurement apps, utility apps, and health and fitness apps. Despite the relatively short existence of the technology, we are accomplishing a lot with its effectiveness and efficiency.
If you would like to discuss the opportunity and benefits of using Flutter app development for your project, contact our Flutter experts for a free consultation.