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How to Extend Native Kotlin or Swift Apps Using Flutter

Do you have a native Kotlin or Swift app? It must be well-designed, performant, and has all the features your users need. But you want to take it to the next level.
You want to add new features and functionality that will make your app even more useful and engaging. But you don’t have the time or resources to rewrite your entire app from scratch. That’s where Flutter comes in.

Why extend your native app with Flutter?

Extending your native Kotlin or Swift app with Flutter is a great way to add new features and functionality quickly and easily, improve the user experience, and reach a wider audience.

There are many reasons why you might want to extend your native app with Flutter. Here are a few:

  • Add new features and functionality quickly and easily: With Flutter, you can add new features and functionality to your app quickly and easily, without having to rewrite your entire codebase.
  • Improve the user experience: Flutter’s rich set of widgets and animations can help you create a more engaging and user-friendly experience.
  • Reach a wider audience:¬†Flutter allows you to build apps for multiple platforms from a single codebase. This means you can reach a wider audience with your app without having to develop and maintain separate native apps for each platform.

Approaches to integrate Native Code with Flutter

Sometimes there are features or functionality that are not available in Flutter, or that are more performant when implemented in native code. In such cases, it is possible to extend a native Kotlin or Swift app using Flutter.

There are two main ways to do this:

  • Embedding Flutter views in a native app: This allows you to add Flutter UI elements to a native app. This is a good approach for adding new features to an existing native app, or for implementing complex UI elements that are not available in Flutter.
  • Calling native code from Flutter: This allows you to call native Kotlin or Swift code from within your Flutter app. This is a good approach for accessing platform-specific features or functionality, or for implementing complex logic that is more performant in native code.

Let’s say you have an existing native Kotlin app that allows users to browse a list of products. You want to add a new feature that allows users to view product details in a rich, interactive way. You decide to use Flutter to implement this feature, as it will allow you to create a more visually appealing and user-friendly experience.

To do this, you would first create a Flutter project and implement the product details screen. Then, you would embed the Flutter view in your native Kotlin app. Once you have done this, you would be able to launch the product details screen from your native app.

Top Benefits

There are several benefits to extending native Kotlin or Swift apps using Flutter:

  • Code reuse: You can reuse your existing native codebase, which can save you time and effort.
  • Performance: Flutter apps are compiled to native code, so they can be just as performant as native apps.
  • UI flexibility: Flutter provides a rich set of widgets and APIs, which gives you a lot of flexibility in designing your UI.
  • Development speed: Flutter is a fast development framework, so you can build and release new features quickly and efficiently.

Top 5 best practices of integrating Flutter with native code:

1. Use a well-defined architecture

When integrating Flutter with native code, it is important to use a well-defined architecture. This will help to keep your code organized and maintainable, and it will also make it easier to add new features and functionality in the future.

One popular approach is to use a layered architecture, with a Flutter layer, a native layer, and a middle layer that acts as a communication layer between the two. This approach allows you to keep your Flutter code separate from your native code, which makes it easier to test and maintain.

Example:

A company has an existing native Android app for managing inventory. They want to add a new feature that allows users to scan QR codes to add products to their inventory. They decide to use Flutter to implement this feature, as it will allow them to create a more user-friendly experience.

The company uses a layered architecture, with a Flutter layer, a native layer, and a middle layer that acts as a communication layer between the two. The Flutter layer contains the UI code for the QR code scanner, while the native layer contains the code for accessing the device’s camera and processing QR codes. The middle layer handles the communication between the Flutter layer and the native layer.

2. Use a platform channel

A platform channel is a communication channel that allows Flutter to communicate with native code. This is the most common way to call native code from Flutter.

To use a platform channel, you first need to create a channel object in Flutter. Then, you can call native code by sending messages through the channel object.

Example:

The company in the previous example uses a platform channel to communicate between the Flutter layer and the native layer. The Flutter layer sends a message to the native layer when the user taps the “Scan QR Code” button. The native layer then opens the device’s camera and starts processing QR codes. Once a QR code is detected, the native layer sends a message back to the Flutter layer with the product information. The Flutter layer then displays the product information to the user.

3. Test your code thoroughly

When integrating Flutter with native code, it is important to test your code thoroughly. This will help to ensure that your app is working as expected and that there are no compatibility issues.

You should test your app on a variety of devices and operating systems. You should also test all of the features of your app, including those that integrate with native code.

Example:

The company in the previous example thoroughly tests their app on a variety of devices and operating systems. They also test all of the features of their app, including the new QR code scanner feature.

4. Use a dependency management tool

A dependency management tool can help you to manage the dependencies of your Flutter and native code. This can help to prevent conflicts and ensure that your app is running the latest versions of all of its dependencies.

Example:

The company in the previous example uses the Gradle dependency management tool to manage the dependencies of their Android app. This includes the dependencies for both the Flutter layer and the native layer.

5. Document your code

It is important to document your code, especially when you are integrating Flutter with native code. This will help you to understand your code later on, and it will also make it easier for other developers to maintain your code.

You should document the following:

  • The architecture of your app
  • How the Flutter layer and the native layer communicate with each other
  • How to use your code

Example:

The company in the previous example documents their code in a README file. The README file includes information about the architecture of the app, how to use the code, and how to troubleshoot any problems.

By following these best practices, you can integrate Flutter with native code in a way that is efficient, maintainable, and reliable. This will allow you to build high-quality apps that meet the needs of your business stakeholders.

Business Benefits:

  • Reduced development costs: By integrating Flutter with native code, businesses can reduce the cost of developing and maintaining their apps. Flutter allows developers to build cross-platform apps using a single codebase, which means that they only need to develop and maintain one codebase for all of their platforms.
  • Increased time to market: Flutter also allows businesses to get their apps to market faster. Flutter apps are compiled to native code, so they can be just as performant as native apps. This means that businesses can launch their Flutter apps on all platforms simultaneously, without having to wait for separate native apps to be developed.
  • Improved user experience: Flutter provides a rich set of widgets and APIs, which gives businesses a lot of flexibility in designing their UI. This means that businesses can create more visually appealing and user-friendly apps.

Next Steps

Extending native Kotlin or Swift apps using Flutter is a great way to add new features and functionality to your apps, or to improve the performance and user experience of your existing apps.

Consult with Allied Biztech before you extend your app:

  • Expertise: Allied Biztech has a team of experienced and skilled developers who have extensive experience in extending native Kotlin or Swift apps using Flutter. They can help you to choose the right approach for your app and to implement it in a way that is efficient, maintainable, and reliable.
  • Resources: Allied Biztech has the resources and expertise to help you with all aspects of extending your app, including design, development, testing, and deployment. This can free up your team to focus on other tasks, such as developing new features or improving your app’s user experience.
  • Risk mitigation: By consulting with Allied Biztech, you can mitigate the risks associated with extending your app. Allied Biztech can help you to avoid common pitfalls and to ensure that your app is extended in a way that is compatible with your existing codebase.

How Allied Biztech can help you to extend your app:

  • Design: Allied Biztech can help you to design a new user interface for your app that is both visually appealing and user-friendly. They can also help you to integrate the new UI with your existing codebase.
  • Development: Allied Biztech can develop the new features and functionality for your app that you need. They can also help you to integrate the new features with your existing codebase.
  • Testing: Allied Biztech can thoroughly test your app to ensure that it is working as expected and that there are no compatibility issues.
  • Deployment: Allied Biztech can help you to deploy your app to all of the platforms that you want to support.

Overall, Allied Biztech can help you to extend your app in a way that is efficient, maintainable, reliable, and risk-free. If you are considering extending your app, Book a Free consulting call now.