How to Manage Flutter States Effectively (2023)

One of the key challenges of developing Flutter applications is managing the application’s state. Flutter offers different state management packages and built-in tools each with its own strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will compare the most popular state management packages and explore their features, strengths, and weaknesses.

What is State Management?

State management is an essential aspect of any application, especially in complex applications. It refers to the way an application manages and updates its state, which includes any data that can change over time and affect the behavior and appearance of the application. In Flutter, state management involves managing the state of widgets and their corresponding data, such as text input, button clicks, and animations. Effective state management can improve performance, reduce bugs, and enhance the user experience. In Flutter, there are several ways to manage the state, including using built-in tools and third-party packages.

State Management Options in Flutter

1. Vanilla state management in Flutter refers to the practice of managing application state using only built-in Flutter features without relying on external state management packages or libraries. This approach involves using StatefulWidget and its associated methods, such as setState(), to manage the state of the application.

2. InheritedWidget is also a built-in flutter tool. It is a widget that allows data to be passed down from the widget tree to child widgets, without the need for prop drilling. InheritedWidget can be used for state management in Flutter by creating a custom InheritedWidget subclass and using it to store and share application state.

3. Provider is a popular the application) state management package in Flutter that provides an effortless way to manage application state. It is built on top of the InheritedWidget and ChangeNotifier classes under the hood and uses the concept of “providers” to share data across the widget tree.

4. Riverpod is a new state management package in Flutter that provides an alternative to Provider. It is built on top of the provider package and introduces some additional features such as asynchronous state management and improvements.

5. Redux is a state management library for JavaScript applications, including those built with React and React Native that has been ported to Flutter. It uses a central store to manage the state and provides a predictable way to update it.

6. MobX is a state management library for Flutter which utilizes reactive programming techniques to efficiently manage the state of Flutter applications. It uses observables and computed values to manage the application’s state. It is designed to be easy to use and provides an uncomplicated way to manage complex state management scenarios.

7. GetX is a state management library for Flutter that aims to simplify the process of building reactive applications. This means that the application’s state is modeled as a stream of values, which can be observed and transformed over time.

8. Bloc is a state management library based on reactive programming. Bloc provides a way to handle the state of the application by dividing it into multiple layers. It uses streams to communicate between these layers and maintain the state of the application. There is also a Cubit version of Bloc pattern. It is a variation of the Bloc pattern that simplifies the management of state and events by reducing boilerplate code. A Cubit is a state holder that can be modified through an event stream. Each state management solution has its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one for your project depends on several factors, including the complexity of the application, the team’s familiarity with the tools, and the desired performance and scalability. In this article, they will be compared according to their performance, scalability, learning curve and ease of use and market shares.

Performance Comparison

Performance is a critical consideration when choosing a state management option for your Flutter application. When it comes to comparing the performance of different state management options in Flutter, it is important to note that each package has its own strengths and weaknesses. The performance of each package can also vary depending on the complexity of the app and the size of the data being managed.

Vanilla state management may be suitable for smaller and simpler apps with few pages and states to manage. However, as the app complexity increases, it may become difficult to maintain and scale with vanilla state management.The performance advantage of this option is you do not need to add any extra packages to your project.

InheritedWidget is a simple and lightweight option for state management. It also does notrequire installing third-party libraries. It reduces the need for rebuilding widgets unnecessarily by simply updating the data within the parent widget. By selectively rebuilding only the widgets that need to be updated the overall load of the app can be reduced.

Provider is also a lightweight option. But it requires Provider package to be installed. Provider
package has fast state updates, which means that it can update the state quickly and effectively. Also, it has a small initialization time compared to the other third-party libraries, but the difference is not incredibly significant.

For the other third-party libraries performance does not change much from package to package.All of them perform well. They can be compared by different criteria.

Scalability Comparison

For the scalability comparison Vanilla and InheritedWidget options are not performing well. As stated above, it is getting harder and harder to manage the state properly and keep the code clean with increasing app complexity. It is possible to develop complex apps easily with all the packages. Except the Bloc package, other packages perform well for scalability. Bloc has one advantage compared to the other package. Due to Bloc performs better on separation of concerns, it also performs well when it comes to testing. Thanks to testing apps are being more scalable.

Learning Curve and Ease of Use Comparison

It is important to be aware that these criteria may vary depending on the individual’s prior programming language knowledge and experience. In general, Vanilla, InheritedWidget, Provider, and Riverpod are all easy to use and have a lower learning curve, making them suitable for beginners or those with limited programming language knowledge. Bloc, MobX, and Redux, on the other hand, have a higher learning curve and may be
more difficult for beginners to use.
Based on familiarity with other programming languages:

Familiarity With  Learning Curve and Ease of Use 
React Js  Redux or Mobx 
Vue Js  Getx or Riverpod 
Kotlin  Riverpod or Redux 
Swift  Redux or Mobx 
Java  Built-in options or Provider 
C#  Bloc 

Market Share

Another essential consideration when choosing a state management option is market share. Sometimes the programmer may encounter errors and needs resources to solve the problem. At this point community has a crucial importance. The table below shows the market share of each state management option based on GitHub
stars and likes, points, and popularity:

State Option  GitHub Stars  Likes  Points  Popularity 
Provider  4.7k  8344  140/140  100% 
Riverpod  4,4k  2433  140/140  98% 
Redux  1.6k  467  140/140  98% 
Mobx  2.3k  1057  130/140  99% 
Bloc  10,3k  2233  140/140  99% 

In conclusion, the choice of which state management solution to use depends on the project’s specific needs and complexity. Each solution has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best solution for one project may not be the best for another. For smaller or simpler projects, using vanilla state management or a simpler package like Provider or GetX may be sufficient. For more complex projects, solutions like Bloc or Riverpod may be more appropriate.

It is also worth considering your team’s familiarity with different patterns and solutions. If the team is already experienced with a particular state management solution, it may make sense to use that solution for your project to reduce the learning curve and improve productivity. Overall, it is important to evaluate the specific requirements and constraints of your project before deciding on which state management solution to use.



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