Flutter Initial Impression

Flutter has been getting a lot of positive press in my social media feeds. I listened to an episode of Engineering Daily which interviewed Eric Seidel, one of the founders of Flutter.

I was extremely disappointed that they chose not to implement any hardware interfaces, like accelerometer, GPS, etc. Flutter really just cares about the UI. They are letting “the community” build plug-ins for all the hardware interactions because those vary by and sometimes within a platform. So now Flutter apps will be like PhoneGap and WordPress. Soon (if not already) there will be a dozen GPS plugins, all with slightly different feature sets, wildly different degrees of quality, and patchy support for different devices within a platform (think of the camera in Android devices). Judging between these plugins will be difficult, and in many cases plugins are unable to be used by certain types of clients, like the federal government, due to security concerns and vetting processes. So in those cases you will just write your own. The cost of a cross-platform app is not going to be lessened by using Flutter. At this point I’d say it’s OK for CRUD or brochureware, but not much else. If your app doesn’t interact with the hardware, why not just build a web site?

I’ll still write some code with it, but I’m disappointed with the reach of the platform into the devices it runs on.