Recently I was speaking with Rodney Aiglstorfer, CEO of the airline software startup, Aeyrium. The startup helps people, ranging from individual pilots to small and mid-size airline businesses and aircraft operators, manage their aircraft from the convenience of their smartphone (and full disclosure, he is also an advisor to Belatrix). Rodney has a stellar track record as a software entrepreneur, who I first met when he was the CTO and Co-founder of mFoundry, a mobile banking and payment startup, which was acquired by FIS for $120 million in 2013. So when he says something is worth paying attention to, I sit up and listen. His team has been using Google Flutter over the past half year, with dramatic results. So I want to dive into Flutter, and examine why it is such a powerful mobile framework, particularly for software start-ups.
Flutter, for those not familiar with it, is the open source mobile framework created by Google, and is based on Google’s programming language Dart. In February 2018, Google demoed the first beta of Flutter at Mobile World Congress, and in May, showed off the third beta at their I/O event. You can download the Flutter framework here.
Rodney outlines three key reasons why companies, and in particular startups, should consider Flutter based on his experience. Firstly, it increases the speed and productivity of development teams; secondly, it is truly multiplatform; and thirdly and most importantly, it helps create beautiful, crisp, user interfaces. Let’s look at each of these in turn:
Firebase is Google’s mobile platform, and it provides the entire backend for your application. Using Firebase is particularly advantageous for startups because you don’t need to worry about spinning up your own servers. Essentially your infrastructure is immediately serverless, redundant and scalable. You don’t have to develop these infrastructure skills in your team. Indeed, you don’t even need DevOps support. Firebase has a collection of useful services – all common tools and building blocks, that startups would otherwise have to build themselves (or mix and match from third party offerings).
In the experience of Aeyrium, they were able to completely recreate their version one product in just 4 months – what had initially taken them one year to build the first time. Although theoretically they have thrown away a year’s work, Rodney believes they are now much more nimble than before, and costs will be dramatically lower on the new infrastructure and development platform.
Besides from the very real advantages of using Flutter, there is also another key reason to expect to see Flutter’s adoption grow rapidly. That is the fact that it is the development platform for Google’s new “Fuchsia” operating platform. Fuchsia is essentially a combination of Chrome and Android, although it is still in development, so we don’t know exactly how it will look like. However, analysts expect that Fuchsia will become the backbone to the millions of IoT devices that we can expect to see in everything from smart cars to intelligent buildings, that will emerge in the coming years. The user interface and the apps of Fuchsia are all being written in Flutter; and we can expect that applications written in Flutter will be usable on Fuchsia.
Beautiful user interfaces, cross-platform, and speed, are all defining characteristics of Flutter. However, I will leave the final word of this article to Rodney Aiglstorfer and his experience with Aeyrium:
“Flutter simply blows away the competition – you will not notice the difference between it and a “truly” native app. I wish I knew a year ago, what I know now.” Rodney Aiglstorfer, CEO, Aeyrium
What have been your experiences with Flutter? As always, I look forward to reading your comments.
April 23 / 2020
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