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Flutter For Novices: Create Your First Cross-Platform App in 2021

In this era of the internet, it’s no secret that a good and scalable mobile app can take your business to a new level. Running a business in this digital and competitive time is not a cakewalk. There are numerous apps that get launched on Play Store and App Store, but all of them are not successful. Therefore, business owners need a mobile app that fosters customer loyalty and builds brand advocacy. 

Technological innovations are leaving no stone unturned and are mostly impacting app development. More and more technology tools are launched into the market that makes developers’ lives easy and helps them create beautiful apps. 

Usually, when it comes to app development, we think it’s a time-consuming and expensive affair. But let’s correct that assumption; it’s no more a lengthy and tedious job to develop an app. Want to know why? Here we go. 

Sit back and imagine from the developer’s point of view that you can use a single codebase across all platforms. How do they do that? With Flutter. 

It’s one of the best platforms to rule them all. 

If you are new to the development world, you no longer need to spend nights like an owl studying new programming languages. Do you know Flutter? Welcome to the development community. App development with Flutter is a cakewalk.

Nowadays, when it comes to development, there are three solutions ruling the market: React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter. Amongst all, Flutter has gained immense popularity and has become a developer’s favorite platform in a short span of time. 

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source cross-platform launched by Google in 2018. Flutter is the first choice when it comes to developing a robust and high-functioning app for different operating systems by running a single codebase with the best scrolling features and typography. 

Flutter is based on Google’s Dart Programming Language. If you are already in the development field and are hands-on with JavaScript and Java, you can easily learn this language. Indeed, Flutter is popular, as it offers strong community support. Whether you are a novice or veteran, anyone can get started with Flutter without any hassle. 

Why Choose Flutter?

When it comes to developing robust and scalable enterprise apps, Flutter is the ultimate destination that ensures high-end performance and takes less time to develop. Because of a single codebase, you can run across all operating systems; this is why it makes the overall development cycle faster than ever. Startup owners usually prefer Flutter because it is a cost-effective solution. Even a well-known food delivery service, Zomato uses Flutter. Therefore, business owners demand restaurants’ website builder development use flutter, as it offers beautiful UI and delivers a seamless user experience. 

Since it is an open-source cross-platform and maintained by Google, Flutter is more secure, rapid, and delivers the best development experience. 

Did You Know?

Alibaba (Chinese eCommerce player) considered Flutter for their application development and resulted in 50+ million users. Excluding Alibaba, GitHub also uses Flutter for most of its projects.

According to Statista’s recent report, Flutter is the second most cross-platform network, after React Native, used by developers, and usage of it is considerably increasing. 

Flutter has come with a certain unique advantage that attracts developers to use it again and again, such as

  • Hot reload
  • Fast development
  • Huge widget library
  • Plugins are easy to avail
  • Reusability of code
  • Excellent community support

Creating Your First Cross-Platform Application With Flutter

Now you must have some idea about what Flutter is and what are the benefits it offers. Now it’s time to take steps towards actual development. This post will discuss how to get started with Flutter and create your first cross-platform app. Let’s dive in and set up all the required tools on your system. 

Installing Flutter

Setting up Flutter is relatively easy; there are a couple of ways to install Flutter to your system, but the easiest way is to download it from the Flutter website or GitHub. Once you successfully install Flutter, the next step is to unzip it using the below command: cd ~/development unzip
~/Downloads/flutter_macos_v1.5.4-hotfix.2-stable.zip unzip flutter_macos_v0.7.3-beta.zip 

Now we have unzipped the Flutter folder. The next step is to add the Flutter path so that anyone can access it without any trouble. Follow the below command console to add a path, export PATH=[PATH_TO_FLUTTER__DIRECTORY]/flutter/bin:$PATH 

Once you added the path, confirm the installation by running: flutter --help 

If you are new to the app development world, you will also need to download Xcode and Android Studio as well. Congratulations! You have successfully cleared the first step. 

Create a Flutter Project

Once you installed Android Studio and Xcode and, yes, Flutter, the next step is to create a Flutter project. Let’s see how to create a flutter project in Android Studio.

  • Open Android Studio, select File, and click on New Flutter Project.
  • Fill in information like Project name, where code is saved, project description, etc.
  • Install some Flutter plugins
  • Wait for a while, and you will see the main. dart file
  • Once you see this File, restart Android Studio

Flutter Doctor 

Once you have installed Android Studio or Xcode, and before heading to the development process, it would be better to confirm whether your local system is ready to start the development process or not. For this, use Flutter doctor. This is one of the best tools that can give you a clear idea of which tools are installed and which tools are needed to be configured. 

If you have downloaded and configured all the tools, now you can get started with the development process and write your first Flutter application. 

Start Writing Your First Flutter Application 

Finally, all the hardware and installation-related work is done. Now you can head towards writing your first-ever application in Flutter. 

Go to main. dart and replace the code, 

Now, press on the Run button, and you will see the basic application that says “HELLO WORLD.” 

Add Widgets

Everything in Flutter is a widget. Before adding the widget, the first thing is to import the “material” package by following this command: import 'package:flutter/material.dart'; 

Once you are done adding material to the main File, you need to configure widgets that are designed to be immutable and keep your app’s UI lightweight. There are two types of widgets such as, 

  • Stateless, that are specially designed to view statistic images

  • And Stateful, which are used to maintain dynamic information and interact with state objects. 

Apart from this, if you want to make your own widget, create a new class within the main. dart file. 

Add Some More Widgets

In order to create a high-performing app, Flutter comes with a suite of advanced and powerful widgets such as Column, Row, Stack, and Text. These widgets will help you create custom views as you wish. Moreover, if your app follows material design guidelines, Flutter offers several advanced widgets such as Material App, AppBar, and Scaffold. 

Now you are almost done; from here, building your first application with Flutter would be simple and fun. But let us make your work easier by providing you tips, tricks, and shortcuts that save your time while developing the app. 

Flutter Shortcuts and Tricks

VS Code and Android Studio both offer several shortcuts and tips that speed up your flutter development cycle. 

Trailing Commas

The easy and simple way to keep your format is to just put a comma at the end of each line so that the editor reformats it into a proper structure. No, you also don’t need to put a comma after each line, as it becomes more nesting sometimes. Hence, add a comma to the end of any line. Let’s understand it with an example:

Extensions

There are certain extensions that make your work much easier. Some of the useful extensions are

  1. Bracket Pair Colorizer
  2. Pubspec Assist
  3. Flutter Files
  4. Awesome Flutter Snippets

The above extensions will reduce your work and help you create a highly-functional app. 

You Have Successfully Created Your First Cross-Platform App

Well done! You have created your first application with Flutter. You should have gained enough info on why Flutter is popular and how making applications with it is exciting. This is just a basic guide to start your journey with Flutter. There are many interesting widgets and plugins you can use to build interactive apps. 

Flutter is booming when it comes to building cross-platform applications, and developers are always eager to get started with Flutter. We hope that this guide helps you to commence your development journey with the Flutter project. 

Happy Coding! 

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