Flutter - Explaining the magic behind cross-platform development (Part 1)

Philipp Manstein

Philipp Manstein – Flutter Developer

Flutter is an innovative Google tool that enables developers to create engaging and functional apps for different platforms - such as smartphones, websites and desktop computers - from a single code base. But how did it all begin? Let’s dive into the history and specifics of this versatile framework to understand why it has become so popular not only in the developer community but also with numerous companies. In this blog post, we’ll look at the ways in which Flutter has simplified the creation of digital applications, when it makes sense to use Flutter and when native development is beneficial.

The goal of Flutter?

The open source framework Flutter was first presented to the public by Google in 2015. The aim was to develop a platform that would allow developers to effortlessly create cross-platform mobile applications that run equally well on all operating systems. Version 1.0 was released in 2018 and included support for iOS and Android apps. Version 2.0 was introduced in 2021. From this point on, it was possible to use Flutter for the web, among other things, and the beginnings for the desktop world were laid, so that Windows applications could also be created. Version 3.0 was introduced in 2023 and support for macOS and Linux applications was added. Flutter can now be found not only in the mobile world on iOS and Android, but also on the web, on the desktop and in the embedded sector.

How does Flutter work under the hood?

Flutter is characterized by its innovative approach to cross-platform development. What makes it special is that it does not use the native UI elements of the various platforms, but rather replicates them. This allows developers to ensure that the app looks consistent and appealing on all platforms without having to worry about platform-specific adaptations.

Flutter uses the open-source programming language Dart. Dart was developed by Google and offers fast execution, resulting in a responsive user interface. Among other things, the developed apps are translated into native machine code for the respective platform. Flutter’s large community offers various libraries for the use of native functions - e.g. controlling the smartphone camera. If a function is missing, Flutter offers various options for calling it up and integrating it into the application.

When is Flutter the best choice?

The fact that Flutter apps only require a single code base saves a lot of development time. The business logic and layout of the app only need to be developed once. This makes it possible to bring an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to market quickly and to subsequently deliver and test new features and other customer requirements.

This also means that all platforms always have the same level of application features.

The productivity of developers is also further increased by Flutter’s tooling. For example, the hot reloading function helps to see changes to the source code directly in the running app without having to recompile it. Flutter’s developer tools help to efficiently find performance bottlenecks and errors in the layout.

As Flutter draws the controls itself, it is possible for the app design to look and behave the same on different platforms. This means that even complex designs and animations are no problem, as you have full control and customization options over the design of the app. Because the apps are translated into the native machine code of the platforms, performance is also guaranteed: The apps run at a refresh rate of 60 frames per second. If the display supports more, even up to 120 frames per second.

Flutter also offers the option of integrating it into existing apps. This means that existing apps can be ported to Flutter bit by bit without having to wait for new features in the existing app to be completely rewritten.

In which situations might Flutter not be the best choice?

One disadvantage of Flutter is that the memory requirements of the apps can be higher than those of native applications, as the Flutter engine has to be supplied, among other things. Flutter itself offers various optimization options to minimize memory requirements. For the web, however, the larger memory requirement is very noticeable.

Flutter does not yet support SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Therefore, the implementation of a web application that is not used on any other platform should be carefully considered.

The latest native platform features are not available immediately. It takes some time for Google, the community or yourself to integrate them into Flutter. All cross-platform frameworks have this problem, but Flutter offers opportunities to use native functions. If many native functions have to be connected for which there are no libraries from the community, you also have to consider whether cross-platform development is the right thing to do. This is because the advantage of the uniform source code basis is reduced.

Flutter is designed for a uniform layout, which means that we recommend native development if different layouts are required for different platforms.

Flutter support for smartwatches - especially Apple Watches - is not currently available or planned. This must also be considered before developing with Flutter.


Thanks to its innovative approach as a cross-platform framework, Flutter has proven itself in development not only in our company, but worldwide.

The use of Flutter for the development of cross-platform applications makes sense in many cases. Especially if a uniform user interface and behavior is desired. However, it is not possible to say in general terms whether a native implementation or with Flutter is the best choice. It depends on many factors and must be decided individually.

Michael Bischof

Do you have any questions or would you like to start a project with us?

Michael Bischof – Competence Manager HCI

Hi, I'm Michael. Are you wondering whether Flutter is the right tool for you? Feel free to contact me by e-mail.