Could Flutter be a life-changing framework?

Spoiler alert: This is not the usual post about Flutter 😉

By: Alfredo Rinaudo, Senior Mobile Developer at Loka, Inc.

I'm realizing there are still only a few companies that really know about Flutter, and even fewer use it. Instead, the vast majority are sticking with native platforms or even Javascript-based frameworks for their mobile projects.

Well, it’s time to tell you (or at least I will try to) why, after 2 and a half years of developing with it, I chose Flutter as my main framework.

I first came across Flutter by way of an old coworker. One day in 2018 he turned to me and said something like, “ Hey, look at this new mobile framework. Looks cool.” I remember replying with something like, “ Mehh, another cross-platform framework we don’t need. Enough with Javascript bridging issues or poor performance!

At the time, my friend and I represented two out of the three mobile developers at our company. Knowing the product that we needed to launch, we definitely needed more help.

The questions around the launch of the product were like:

  • “How can we develop this product fast without lacking quality both on the code and design side?”
  • “How can we introduce new developers in a clean code environment and in an understandable project?”
  • “How can we deploy new functionalities quickly to production and have them tested directly with users and change direction if needed?”

These questions haunted us. I knew choosing the right platform would be pivotal to our success — or failure.

So, after thinking over these questions and investigating Flutter by myself for a while, I realized that, indeed, Flutter was what we needed.

I know, you’re thinking, “ Pffft, another post talking about how Flutter is great, hot reload, interpretation and compilation stuff, virtualization, pixel perfectness, bla bla bla, booooring “.

Well, no, this is not about that. Because if you’re reading this post, you’ve probably already read a lot of other posts written by people more capable than me at describing the technical side of Flutter and why it is so wonderful.

And if you want to get into the numbers about Flutter’s technical capabilities, inVerita (as well as others) has a couple of cool benchmark tests like these ones:

BUT… As I said at the beginning, this is not your usual post about Flutter. The main purpose of this post is to try to explain why I consider Flutter the best platform for software development (note that I’m saying “software development”, not just mobile development), but from a different perspective. More ideological, sort of a socio-economic perspective I might say.

For a while I’ve regarded Flutter as a means of evolution for technology and progress for the world. I believe there are four main reasons for this:

1. Flutter is better for the software development ecosystem because it lowers the bar for people to take their first steps into a career in software development. Of the frameworks I’ve used, it is by far the one that gives you the fastest return on your learning investment.

I’m seeing a lot of people, with almost no background in programming, suddenly learning and coding with Flutter in no time. Many of them have no background in IT at all. They come in from all sorts of careers just to give Flutter a try. And in many cases, they succeed.

Believe me, it could be a life-changing situation for a person who is stuck in a lousy or underpaid job (or even worse, jobless) suddenly finding themself with an incredibly valuable skill set.

This is especially true in a pandemic situation like the one we are living. And I will quote:

As millions of people around the world lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to COVID-19, the pandemic may well have also created a new wave of gig economy workers. […]

But there was one job on the platform that saw demand outstrip every other job: people who were experts in Flutter. […]

Demand for experts of this platform rose by a stunning 320 per cent, from 2,136 jobs in 2019 to 8,971 jobs last year

Source: Yahoo News

Top 10 online jobs that saw demand increase the most during 2020. Source: Freelancer.com

Programming is a skill that doesn’t necessarily demand academic qualifications — or geographic constraints. Being able to quickly become proficient in it because of a great framework like Flutter could open up doors for people to work remotely around the world.

And this leads us to my second reason…

2. Flutter is better for companies, especially for start-ups and small businesses.If you’re running a really small company, you can have a small but skilled crew of developers coding with Flutter on almost every platform in existence. And you can ship your product on every one of them with almost the same codebase.

It’s amazing how the Flutter ecosystem evolved since it was born. Nowadays, Flutter is running not only on the main mobile platforms like Android and iOS, but also on IOT devices, Windows desktops, Linux desktops, macOS systems and, of course, on every browser and wearable device. Just to name a few.

See Tim Sneath recent Tweet

I even saw a Flutter app on a Raspberry Pi running a Bitcoin node in it. How crazy is that?

And let’s not forget Dart can be running on the backend. This means there’s no need to go find programming specialists for every platform out there. This can be a huge inflection point on the economy of a newly born or small start up company.

And this leads us to my third reason…

3. Flutter is better for the world because of the combination of the two previous reasons. If more and more people around the world are able to switch to software development careers because of Flutter, and more and more companies are able to start from scratch because of Flutter, a big sector of the economy in many countries will grow. In a world that seeks to progress every day, Flutter could be the key to a technological revolution.

And last but, definitely, not least…

4. We are talking about an open source framework, and open source means freedom, and freedom means progress, and progress means evolution.

You are free to learn it, you are free to share it, you are free to modify it and, most importantly, you are free to teach it. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing of all?

So, my conclusion is…

If you’re between jobs or if your current job makes you unhappy, if COVID affected your income or if you are one of those people who haven’t found their purpose, if you’re searching for something meaningful and you like technology, you must give Flutter a try.

By: Alfredo Rinaudo, Full Stack Father

Originally published at https://medium.com on February 9, 2021.

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