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Interested in knowing how to build a native flutter app. In this article, we will discuss how to develop a native app with flutter.
Develop a Native Flutter App
1. Learn Flutter to develop native Flutter apps
You get the ability to develop cross-platform applications from a single codebase. Your clients might use different devices, however, your app works on all key platforms.
Learn Flutter if you don’t know it already. Developers in your team can access the following free resources for this:
Flutter installation guides for multiple platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS;
The Flutter catalog of Widgets, which helps you with UI development;
The Flutter “cookbook”, i.e., a collection of useful articles with solutions to common problems;
Your team can access the Google Developers Dart documentation to learn Dart, the language that powers Flutter.
You can learn more about Flutter by viewing interesting projects developed using Flutter. An example is this Facebook clone project
2. Take preparatory steps to build native apps using Flutter
Do the following:
2a. Install Flutter
Install Flutter for creating a native app. Use the following platform-specific instructions:
Instructions to install Flutter on macOS;
Instructions for installing Flutter on Chrome OS.
Install the Flutter SDK by extracting the required files in the desired location on your workstation.
2b. Set the “path” for the Flutter SDK on your device
You need to set the “path” for the Flutter SDK on your workstation. Follow the platform-specific installation instructions mentioned above. Modify the environment variables to specify the “path” if you are using a Windows desktop. Follow macOS-specific installation instructions if you use Mac devices.
2c. Check dependencies before starting an app development project
You should install Android Studio for a native Android development project using Flutter. Similarly, you need Xcode for developing a native iOS app using Flutter. The Flutter tool has other dependencies too.
You can check the dependencies by running the “flutter doctor” command. This examines your workstation. Subsequently, it creates a report that shows the status of Flutter installation.
Track this report carefully to find out if you need to install any other software. You will also find out if you need to perform any other tasks for running app smoothly. Follow the platform-specific installation instructions to install the dependencies.
2d. Set up the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to develop a native Android app using Flutter
Businesses and developers can code Flutter apps using any text editor and the Flutter command-line tools. However, the Flutter community recommends you use one of the few specific editor plugins.
The Flutter community provides these plugins for Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, Visual Studio Code, and Emacs. Most mobile and web developers know these editors since they are popular in the market.
Use the Flutter guide to “set up an editor” for installing and configuring the required plugins. You also need to set up the Android emulator. Use the Flutter guide to “set up the Android emulator” for this.
2e. Set up the IDE to create a native iOS app using Flutter
You have installed Xcode already, and now you need to set up the iOS emulator. Use the Flutter guide to “set up the iOS emulator” for this.
3. Decide the features for the proposed Flutter app
Decide what you will offer to the users of your proposed mobile app. Flutter “cookbooks” might contain ideas on how you can implement those features, therefore review them. E.g., you can find clues on how to work with images and forms. You can find useful guidance there on user interface design too.
4. Develop a native app using Flutter
Take the following steps to create a native app using Flutter:
4a. Create a new Flutter project
Assuming you will use Android Studio, you need to open this IDE first. Do the following:
Create a new Flutter project.
When selecting the project type, choose “Flutter application”.
Check whether the Flutter SDK path points to the correct location of the Flutter SDK.
Assign a name to the project, e.g., “MyFlutterApp”.
Click “Finish”, and Android Studio will create the new project.
4b. Copy and paste the code for a “Hello World” app
Edit the code in the folder “lib/main.dart”. This is the library that contains the Dart code. Follow the guide to create Flutter apps, where you will find a sample “Hello World” code.
Paste the existing code in the “lib/main.dart” folder in your Flutter project. Run this app with sample codes using the relevant options in Android Studio.
4c. Code according to the functionality you will offer
You now need to make progress beyond a sample app. Code according to the functionality you will offer in your app. You will need to do the following:
Use database services to store and manage data;
Develop RESTful APIs;
Design and implement an information security solution;
Follow appropriate best practices to create performant and scalable apps.
Use your web and mobile app development experience here since these activities aren’t different for Flutter.
4d. Utilize the native Android and iOS development knowledge
You can utilize your native Android and iOS development knowledge in many aspects of this project, e.g.:
Deployment and release.
Consult the following resources:
These comprehensive Flutter resources cover many aspects, e.g.:
Widget tree that includes, a stateless widget, material widgets, stateful widget, etc.;
Adding or removing components;
Adding animation to widgets;
Building custom widgets;
Showing the progress for long-running tasks;
Storing image files;
Working with text.
Do You Have Bigger Plans To Create More Powerful Flutter Apps?
The above “Hello World” app was a simple one. You might have great app ideas, and you may want to create more complex Flutter apps. Remember that for such complex apps you will need a ’Mobile Backend as a Service‘ (MBaaS) provider.
MBaaS providers address the backend aspects like infrastructure, storage, database, security, API integration, and user management. You can check our guides “Where to Host Mobile Backend?” and “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?”.
Depending on the complexity of your flutter app development project, you might also need to work with a development company experienced in flutter framework, flutter tools, etc. for a market-competitive flutter development.
Check our guide “How to find the best software development company?”, which will help you with mobile development and due diligence.
DevTeam.Space can also help you here with its field-expert software developers community. Share with us your initial app development specifications via this form and one of our account managers will contact you with further discussion on your app idea, flutter team developers, app development requirements, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Flutter is Google’s open-source development tools kit for use in building apps’ user interfaces (UI).
Flutter has a number of benefits including its relationship with Android’s creator, Google. Flutter offers easy application development and faster code compilation through features such as hot reload. It uses Google’s in-house Dart programming language.
The main advantages are speed and the ability for the app to function without an internet connection.