Time to read: 25 min

PWA and Flutter for creating mobile and web applications

PWA and Flutter for creating mobile and web applications

Businesses are always looking at different strategies to improve their relationships with customers. A mobile application is one of them. The choice of mobile app technology stack directly depends on the goals and functionality. In this article, we explore the advantages of PWAs and Flutter in terms of business benefits.

The second wave of PWA popularity in Russia occurred in 2022. A lot of mobile apps were blocked by the App Store and Google Play due to sanctions. The owners of such apps turned their attention to PWA.

Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, VTB, PSB, Sovcombank, and others released progressive web applications. PWAs do not require registration in Google Play and the App Store. It has direct access to the desktop. The companies have regained users with the help of PWAs. They can recompile their PWA into a full-fledged mobile app after the lifting of sanctions.

What is a PWA

PWA (progressive web app) is a web platform that you can add to the home screen of your device. It mimics a traditional mobile app.

To install a PWA on a mobile device, users should go to any browser, open a website with a PWA, and tap Install.

Progressive web apps are often faster than mobile sites. They can be partially accessible offline. PWA also has a native-like interface and features just like a conventional mobile app that we’re all familiar with.

There are several Russian companies that have PWA: Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, VTB Online, Tinkoff, NPF Otkritie, Spotify, Pinterest, Uber, etc.

Interest in PWA rekindled in 2015 when Google started supporting necessary components for PWA creation. Most companies had mobile sites, not applications. Creating a PWA version of a site is significantly faster and easier.

The main advantages of PWAs

PWA Application features
  • Cross-platform. Users can install PWAs on almost any device. Regardless of the model, operating system, or preferred browser.
  • Adaptive design. It correctly displays on any device and operating system: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac.
  • Security. The connection to the PWA is protected by HTTPS, which ensures security.
  • Offline mode. It can be partially accessible offline thanks to scripts running in the background and storing cached data.
  • Native-like app. A progressive web app closely mimics the interface and features of native apps thanks to the manifest.json file. It contains app metadata: name, icon, colors, and other parameters.
  • Intermediate caches. PWAs load main content instantly using caching data.

Business benefits

PWA helps to improve the user experience.

  • Push messages allow you to engage with users and save on marketing;
  • Installation is done directly from the website, bypassing the need for a specific app store. This eliminates the need to conform to store requirements, wait for approval, and fear the risk of removal;
  • Automatic updates and a smaller size compared to native mobile apps. Progressive web apps do not occupy excess memory on devices.

Compare the size of PWA with native mobile apps of the same company.

A progressive web app closely mimics the interface and features of a mobile app but operates using a different technology. PWAs are launched on the screen via a shortcut using a browser.

While the user only sees the app, which updates, stores data, and sends push notifications, the underlying technology works differently. Developing a PWA is simpler and quicker, but there are limitations on certain features.

What is Flutter

Flutter Application features

Flutter is a cross-platform app development technology. It allows you to write for two operating systems at once using the same code. The app works and looks the same on several mobile operating systems. For users, the Flutter app does not differ from the native one either visually or in mechanics.

Flutter offers a range of benefits and advantages that make it an attractive choice for developers and businesses alike. In March 2021 150 Flutter apps were uploaded to Google Play. In May 2023 there were over 1 million published Flutter-based apps. According to Statista, Flutter is among the top ten in the ranking of the most popular technologies (not web frameworks).

Rating of the most famous libraries and frameworks 2023 according to the version of statista.com

Several companies have Flutter apps: Rosbank for Business, Dixy Group, Yandex PRO, League of Stakes, IronZen, Ozon Points of Order, Rosselkhozbank Corporate Application, Kh5 Real Estate, Novex, Google Pay, Xianyu by Alibaba, BMW, Toyota, eBay and others.

Advantages of Flutter

  • High-speed apps. Flutter apps run faster than React Native apps. The Flutter programming language Dart allows you to compile the code using Ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation. All operations are performed at speed as Objective-C, Swift, Java, or Kotlin.
  • Stable work. Flutter works more stable than others. At 60 frames per second, animations are smoother. For users UX Flutter apps are no different from the native ones.
  • Fast development speed. Flutter’s hot reload feature allows developers to see the changes they make in real time, instantly reflecting them in the app.
  • No native components. Thanks to this, you do not need to write additional layers to interact with them. The interface is rendered inside the graphics engine in the framework itself. Flutter draws all buttons, text, media elements, and background.

Business Advantages

There are some benefits of using Flutter apps for businesses. One of them is time and cost reduction. The out-of-the-box solution has enhanced performance, security, and stability.

  1. Flutter saves 30% to 50% of the budget thanks to a single codebase. You don't pay for two separate projects as you would with native solutions.
  2. A common codebase for iOS and Android reduces the time to market and saves on the team. One Flutter developer can complete tasks of two native ones in the same time frame.
  3. Flutter apps are built for retail, banks, insurance companies, and other businesses without restrictions.
  4. Technical support and further product development are easier and cheaper due to a single codebase.
  5. Flutter leads in popularity as a cross-platform framework thanks to the constant Google support. Flutter benefits from a vibrant and active developer community.

Usually, Flutter is chosen for customized projects for e-commerce, telecom, pharma, EdTech, etc. It is used for projects of varying degrees of complexity. When a ready-made mobile application is needed in a short time.

Fast development speed does not affect the app's performance and complex graphics.

Flutter is suitable for MVP development. In spite of tight deadlines and budgets, Flutter allows you to release a workable app just in time. That's why Flutter is a convenient tool for checking the audience and demand for the product. It suits a small development team, which has no opportunities to support multiple apps concurrently.

The under-sanctions life of PWA

Until 2022, Russian companies remade websites into PWA apps. After February 2022, mobile apps began to be remade in PWA.

In early March 2022, AppStore removed about 7, 000 Russian companies' apps. Those who had Flutter apps recompiled them into PWA versions, retaining the codebase. Users received a PWA with the usual functionality. And the businesses retained the client base.

Flutter is a modern convenient tool for creating PWA versions from existing mobile apps. It completely looks and functions like a native one.

If you are going to make a mobile app, it is better to choose Flutter. So you will reduce time to market and be able to use the single codebase again on all platforms.

Flutter allows you to implement three digital distribution channels at once: mobile, web, and desktop apps. Its application reduces labor costs, budget, and risks.

There were predictions of a big future for PWA. Some experts believed the technology would completely replace native mobile apps. But, as we can see, this did not happen. Now PWA is inferior to custom apps in a number of parameters. However, the technology helped under-sanctions Russian businesses to retain users.

Flutter is a promising framework in terms of implementation speed and breadth. It allows you to make an app that does not differ in functionality from the native one. The project will be cheaper and faster.



Read also

Any ideas? Let`s chat! Start a project