How to convert your native Android and iOS apps to Flutter

10 Nov 2021 | Mobile App Development


“But I already have apps for Android and iOS; why do I need Flutter?” The solution will be clear after reading this blog article – to save time and money.

“I see the benefits of Flutter, but I can’t afford to abandon my present projects and start over in Flutter.”

You won’t have to! In this blog article, we will demonstrate how to write new modifications to your current code in Flutter.

A business case for switching to Flutter

Consider the following examples:

● You’re rebuilding both the iOS and Android applications from the ground up.

● You’re rebuilding one app from the ground up.

● You’re incorporating a new feature into one or both apps.

Consider the first scenario. You have both an Android and an iOS app, and it’s time for a big update or a total redesign. This is an excellent moment to use Flutter. You may cut your development resources in half by using this cross-platform development solution, as you just need one development and QA team instead of two. This allows your second resource team to work on other tasks. Furthermore, development resources are usually 10% more efficient than when utilizing a native language development platform. This equates to a 55% reduction in resources when compared to the typical native language method. The runtime performance and code size are comparable to that of native language programs. The only disadvantage is that you must learn a new programming language, Dart. It is simple to understand, but it may reduce your 55 per cent resource savings for your initial Flutter venture. It is advisable to budget for 50% resource reductions during the first development cycle.

In the second instance, you have an app for both Android and iOS that has to be redesigned. Should you consider Flutter or a Native app language such as Swift or Kotlin? Even if you just want to create one app, Flutter is a fantastic choice. If you employ Flutter in the development of your new app, you will have additional possibilities in the future. You can replace your existing app right now or wait until the next update. Your development time will be close to nil after the next refresh. Both applications will have the same appearance and feel. From that point forward, all development and maintenance will benefit from genuine cross-platform capabilities.

The final example is less apparent. You have two apps built in their original languages that don’t require replacements or substantial improvements just yet – you simply want to add functionality. Flutter should still be your first choice. While developing new features in Flutter, you may continue to use all of your current native-language code. In the rest of this whitepaper, we’ll go over a technical case study in which we achieved precisely that.

A Case study of Flutter as an incremental method One of our clients approached us with a common request: to incorporate a customer satisfaction survey into an app with a lengthy history. This would need the creation of a completely new user flow in both the iOS and Android versions of the program.

The codebases for the iOS and Android applications were enormous, with a mix of technological stacks. They began using Objective-C and Java, but the majority of their current work has been developed in Swift and Kotlin. The new features would have to be thoroughly tested, and the updated version would have to be given to users in a relatively short period of time.

The process of adding a survey looks to be very simple. All it takes is a new item in the main menu that takes the user to a series of additional pages with blocks of questions and a huge “Submit” button. It must also include a page that rewards the user for participating in the survey.

Traditionally, we would assign two developers (one for iOS and one for Android) as well as a QA engineer to test both platforms. Flutter requires only a single development team, and there is no need to discard existing Android and iOS code. It is possible to develop a new module and easily integrate it into current apps.

Why are you fluttering? Flutter offers some pretty nice advantages over a more typical native approach, according to a Grid Dynamics blog article about it. Its speed and performance are comparable, but it is really cross-platform. This means that code only needs to be developed once to be utilized on many platforms, including the Web. It also has the advantage of just needing to be tested once because it supports current testing frameworks.

Following some preliminary research and a lengthy discussion of possible benefits and drawbacks with the client, our team decided to take on the task of attempting to create the required survey functionality using Flutter.

Let’s get a little further into the technicalities now

Adding the Flutter module First and foremost, we must incorporate Flutter into the existing apps. There are two ways to accomplish this. The most apparent way is to use the flutter create command to build a new
Flutter app, and then replace the created runner projects with the current ones. This is a lot more difficult technique, though, because we may have to make several changes to the present projects, and if we miss something, everything would be wrecked. It also compels you to move your existing projects into a Flutter project folder, which is usually often an undesirable alternative.

Fortunately, Flutter provides an alternative path. Using the flutter create -t module command, we can build a specialized module. It generates a new project with a slightly different structure. The primary advantage of this method over the previous one is the ability to have a Flutter module distinct from the main code because it is introduced as an external dependency. The official documentation page describes the procedure in full, and it only takes 10 minutes to connect and execute the Flutter module from an existing project.

Now that the problem has been resolved, we can move on to the next hard issue: communication between the native code and the Flutter module.

Who to hire for this task? Hire an app development company would be quite beneficial if you lack the expertise in the development procedures. The agency’s developers will assist you in understanding the fundamentals, keep you up to date on the progress, and make design ideas.

Additionally, you may see the firm portfolio and client evaluations on their websites to determine the quality of their work. It will boost your confidence in your choice.

Mobile application development company Hiring a mobile application development firm allows you to closely monitor your progress. Individuals working attentively or even simply on their duties might provide an outstanding and tasteful response to your development questions. When you get into an arrangement with the best mobile app developers, you have assured a never-ending supply of specialist assistance for any and all inquiries related to any and all disciplines.

Hire a dedicated flutter developer Another option to use directly the help of a Flutter Developer, and given how well it works, you should definitely consider Flutter app development. Hire the finest flutter app developers (full-time or freelancer) according to your development requirements, and prepare for your company’s success. Flutter is really strong, and you should give it a try.

Conclusion For the sake of clarity, we have simplified things. For example, our prototype program might be extended such that the iOS and Android designs always match, just like they would in actual code.

The time it takes to produce a feature depends on the work at hand, but in general, utilizing the Flutter cross-platform development tool cuts development time in half.

Flutter also solves a number of typical UI development difficulties, and its hot reload functionality significantly lowers development time.

Flutter is the appropriate platform for your project, whether you are creating a whole new app for one or both mobile platforms, or simply adding a new feature to current native apps. If you require any further information or help, a Grid Dynamics Representative would gladly take you through it.