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Node.JS + Flutter Combinations Possibilities

Mariel Lettier

Table of Content

Node.JS
Why is Node.JS used?
What is Node.JS used for?
Flutter
Why is Flutter used?
What is Flutter used for?
What can Node.JS and Flutter do together?
Conclusion

Programmers often have favorite development tools to work with and even favorite combinations. In this article, we’ll focus on one of these combinations by delving into what Node.JS and Flutter can do together. But first, we’d like to get some background on these two tools: what they are, why you should use them, and what you can create with them.

Node.JS

Node.JS was created in 2009 by Ryan Dahl. As defined on its website, Node.JS is “an asynchronous event-driven JavaScript runtime” used to build scalable network apps. Node.JS is open-source, cross-platform, single-threaded, fast, and scalable. Some of the benefits of Node.JS include improved developer productivity and satisfaction, reduced development costs, an easy learning curve, and a large community. Along companies using it for its projects are Microsoft, PayPal, Uber and eBay.

Is Node.JS a framework?

You may have come across this question while looking into Node.JS or even asked it yourself. The answer is no. Node.JS is not a framework, it's actually a runtime environment. What is the difference? Well, a runtime environment is just a platform in which to execute commands; it processes code to produce results. Meanwhile, a framework focuses on the way you should write code; it makes the code more streamlined and standardized. If you're interested in languages and libraries, you can check our contents on TypeScript and React.

Node.JS

Why is Node.JS used?

As we’ve mentioned, Node.JS is open-source, scalable, and light, which makes it quite easy to build apps. This tool makes the development process more efficient and it's rather useful if you want an application that can run JavaScript both on the client and the server side. Here are other reasons as why you should use Node.JS:

• Easy to learn
• Vertical scalability
• Reusable code
• Improved performance with Chrome’s V8 engine
• Works with plenty of frameworks
• Rapid development
• Native support in AWS
• Cross-platform and mobile-friendly

What is Node.JS used for?

Web apps are the main use case for Node.JS, but certainly not the only one. Here are some other Node.JS uses.

Real Time Applications (RTA)

Node.JS’ increased speed and performance make it a great choice for RTAs, like messaging or chat apps.

Browser Games

If you combine Node.JS with HTML5 and Socket.IO, for example, you can create incredible single and multiplayer games. The benefits of using Node.JS for browser games are its EventEmitter and the ability to share code between client and server.

IoT Apps

Node.JS can handle large amounts of data, it can be easily integrated with IoT protocols, and its Node Package Manager (NPM) includes quite a few IoT modules. These features make it a great tool to develop IoT apps.

Data Streaming Apps

Client and server communication is also a great asset when it comes to data streaming apps. Along with the ability to handle large amounts of data and asynchronous non-blocking I/O capabilities, this makes Node.JS perfect for apps such as Netflix.

Command-Line Apps

Most large organizations use custom-made command-line apps and Node.JS’ great set of libraries (such as commander and oclif) makes developing these apps easy, fast and cost-effective. As you can see, Node.JS can be quite versatile. In addition to the ones we’ve mentioned, other projects carried out with Node.JS include e-commerce apps, online payment systems and blogs. If you want to take a look at a project developed with Node.JS, you can do so here.

Flutter

Flutter is a UI framework released rather recently, in 2017. As defined in its website, “Flutter is an open-source framework by Google for building beautiful, natively compiled, multi-platform applications from a single codebase”. This framework is fast, reliable, productive and flexible. Flutter’s main features include simplified and agile development, native-like performance, and cross-platform development. Some of the companies that use Flutter include eBay, Google, Groupon and BMW.

Flutter

Why is Flutter used?

Flutter is quite useful when it comes to app development as you don’t have to write in a different codebase for every platform. The framework is powered by Dart, a language optimized for fast apps on any platform, which makes it possible to create web and desktop apps, in addition to mobile. Here are some other reasons to use Flutter:

• Rich libraries
• Fast testing with hot reload
• Cost-effective
• Faster development
• Custom widgets
• Large community
• Supported by several IDEs

What is Flutter used for?

eCommerce and Retail Apps

Groupon decided to integrate Flutter with its existing solution and eBay chose it to build eBay Motors due to its awesome UI and faster development. You can take a look at the eBay Motors project here.

Banking and Finance Apps

Nubank is a mobile-first fintech startup that chose Flutter for its digital savings account due to its speed and efficiency. You can find out more about the project here. Birch Finance, Cryptomaniac Pro and Platypus Crypto are other examples of finance apps developed with Flutter.

Streaming Apps

Naturally, Google uses Flutter for many of its products. One of these is Google Stadia, a streaming platform for gamers. If you want to learn more about the project, you can click here.

Health and Fitness

There are quite a few Health and Fitness apps that have banked on Flutter. Reflectly, a journal and AI diary, was rewritten in Flutter so it could be easily available for both iOS and Android. You can take a look at their Flutter journey here. Moreover, Insight Timer and Coach Yourself are two popular meditation apps built with Flutter.

Augmented Reality

Flutter is no stranger to AR (augmented reality) and was used to develop this Wallace & Gromit game called The Big Fix Up. The developers thought Flutter was the perfect tool as it allowed them to use various media and integrate real-time storytelling components into the game.

What can Node.JS and Flutter can do together?

We’ve covered what Node.JS and Flutter are, the benefits of using these tools and what you can develop with each of them. Now it’s time to focus on what they can do together. If you are wondering you should use them together, we’ll cover that first.

What can Node.JS and Flutter can do together?

Why use Node.JS with Flutter?

Flutter can run in any browser, which means Node.JS is not the obvious choice for a runtime environment in this case. However, Node.JS can handle a large number of simple requests and makes it possible to write both the front and back-end in JavaScript, which makes it accessible to most programmers. Now let’s take a look at what you can do when these two tools join forces!

Minimal Client-Server Interaction

Starting with the basics, you can have Node.JS and Flutter interacting as server and client, respectively. You will need to install and set up Node.JS for your server app using your editor of choice. Then, you’ll set up a Flutter app to test the server. You can take a look at exactly how it works here.

Create Real-Time Apps

Instant messaging is definitely a popular way to communicate, both for personal and business matters. You have most likely used a real-time messaging app such as WhatsApp or Messenger. Well, if you are thinking about building your very own real-time chat app, you can use Node.JS, Flutter and the Socket.IO library to do so. To do this, you need to set up Node.JS for your server (remembering to install the Socket.IO package) and Flutter for your client-side (remembering to add and initialize the Socket.IO client package). You can find more details on how to build this type of app here.

Create Blog Apps

This is another type of app that can be developed using Node.JS and Flutter. You’ll be using Flutter for UI development, Node.JS for the Rest API, then connecting the Rest API with the Flutter app, and carrying out the database handling through the MongoDB Atlas Server. You can find the GitHub repos and tutorials to create this type of app here.

Authenticate and Log In Users

You can also use a Node.JS REST API backend to authenticate users from a Flutter app. You can find more details about this here.

Conclusion

Node.JS and Flutter are both outstanding development tools in their own right. They have countless features that make the development process more efficient, not to mention incredible communities behind them that are more than willing to share resources and offer support to other developers. It’s no surprise that they can also offer some excellent results when working together. If you haven’t combined these tools before, we hope this article has sparked some curiosity in you to do so in your next project!


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