The Business Case for Google’s Flutter

Every company uses software that is critical to their business, but most companies are not software companies. Building and supporting software requires software engineers and technical leadership. Hiring software engineers for a software company is often easier than for a non-software company for all of the reasons you can probably think of yourself. The same goes for technical leadership.

This is a disadvantage that non-software companies overcome through technical consolidation – a common strategy is to use JavaScript everywhere. JavaScript can target every important platform (mobile, server, browser), and so there is a strong business case for custom software to be written in JS because it easier to re-allocate teams, hire new employees and mitigate the cost of turnover.

There are challenges when using JavaScript that most programmers can talk your ear off about, but the benefits of JavaScript have outweighed the costs for both engineers and businesses to date. With the announcement of Flutter and Hummingbird, there is now an alternative to technical consolidation: Google’s Dart programming language.

Source: Flutter.io

One can argue the choice between Dart and JS is roughly similar, so stick with JS because there is no reason to invest in change for at best a marginal productivity gain. But Google and Dart are better positioned for the future. Today, both JavaScript and Dart are hybrid approaches to cross-platform software development with frameworks like React Native and Electron (and so many others). These frameworks are decentralized – they have differing philosophies, support resources, and adaptability to a constantly changing software industry.

Learn about our Dart HTTP framework, Aqueduct.

The Future of Flutter and Dart

Google, on the other hand, recently made a big investment in consolidating the portability of Dart in their 2nd major release. Their Flutter platform is a centralized point of access to every major platform – including their upcoming operating system, Fuchsia, where Dart will be the native language of application development. There is a very real possibility that Fuchsia becomes a major player in desktop operating systems (competing with macOS and Windows) and succeeds Android as the other major mobile OS. After all, Google is a company, too, and will have to consolidate technology to offset slowing growth in their primary profit engine: advertising.

In this scenario, Dart becomes the primary language of a large chunk of the native market. It has a proven model for a hybrid approach to other operating systems. And the company that has a near-monopoly on the browser is the same company that will ensure Dart targets the browser well. It’s going to be very tough for the hodge-podge JavaScript ecosystem to make a compelling argument to the enterprise when a powerful, uniform toolchain exists in Dart.

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