What is Firebase?
Who uses Firebase?
Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose Firebase in their tech stack.
I was building a personal project that I needed to store items in a real time database. I am more comfortable with my Frontend skills than my backend so I didn't want to spend time building out anything in Ruby or Go.
I stumbled on Firebase by #Google, and it was really all I needed. It had realtime data, an area for storing file uploads and best of all for the amount of data I needed it was free!
I built out my application using tools I was familiar with, React for the framework, Redux.js to manage my state across components, and styled-components for the styling.
Now as this was a project I was just working on in my free time for fun I didn't really want to pay for hosting. I did some research and I found Netlify. I had actually seen them at #ReactRally the year before and deployed a Gatsby site to Netlify already.
Netlify was very easy to setup and link to my GitHub account you select a repo and pretty much with very little configuration you have a live site that will deploy every time you push to master.
With the selection of these tools I was able to build out my application, connect it to a realtime database, and deploy to a live environment all with $0 spent.
If you're looking to build out a small app I suggest giving these tools a go as you can get your idea out into the real world for absolutely no cost.
This is my stack in Application & Data
My Utilities Tools
Google Analytics Postman Elasticsearch
My Devops Tools
Git GitHub GitLab npm Visual Studio Code Kibana Sentry BrowserStack
My Business Tools
We are using React Native in #SmartHome to share the business logic between Android and iOS team and approach users with a unique brand experience. The drawback is that we require lots of native Android SDK and Objective-C modules, so a good part of the invested time is there. The gain for a app that relies less on native communication, sensors and OS tools should be even higher.
We use a microservices structure on top of Zeit's @now that read from firebase. We use JWT auth to authenticate requests among services and from users, following GitHub philosophy of using the same infrastructure than its API consumers. Firebase is used mainly as a key-value store between services and as a backup database for users. We also use its authentication mechanisms.
You can be super locked-in if you also rely on it's analytics, but we use Amplitude for that, which offers us great insights. Intercom for communications with end-user and Mailjet for marketing.
I started using Firebase over 5 years ago because of the 'real-time' nature. I originally used to use Real Time Database, but now I use Cloud Firestore. I recommend using the Google Firebase PaaS to quickly develop or prototype small to enterprise level web/mobile applications. Since Google purchased Firebase, it has exploded and it growing rapidly. I also find some level of comfort that it is Backed by Google.
For inboxkitten.com, an opensource disposable email service;
We migrated our serverless workload from Cloud Functions for Firebase to CloudFlare workers, taking advantage of the lower cost and faster-performing edge computing of Cloudflare network. Made possible due to our extremely low CPU and RAM overhead of our serverless functions.
If I were to summarize the limitation of Cloudflare (as oppose to firebase/gcp functions), it would be ...
- <5ms CPU time limit
- Incompatible with express.js
- one script limitation per domain
Limitations our workload is able to conform with (YMMV)
For hosting of static files, we migrated from Firebase to CommonsHost
More details on the trade-off in between both serverless providers is in the article
In a couple of recent projects we had an opportunity to try out the new Serverless approach to building web applications. It wasn't necessarily a question if we should use any particular vendor but rather "if" we can consider serverless a viable option for building apps. Obviously our goal was also to get a feel for this technology and gain some hands-on experience.
We did consider AWS Lambda, Firebase from Google as well as Azure Functions. Eventually we went with AWS Lambdas.PROS
- No servers to manage (obviously!)
- Limited fixed costs – you pay only for used time
- Automated scaling and balancing
- Automatic failover (or, at this level of abstraction, no failover problem at all)
- Security easier to provide and audit
- Low overhead at the start (with the certain level of knowledge)
- Short time to market
- Easy handover - deployment coupled with code
- Perfect choice for lean startups with fast-paced iterations
- Augmentation for the classic cloud, server(full) approach
- Not much know-how and best practices available about structuring the code and projects on the market
- Not suitable for complex business logic due to the risk of producing highly coupled code
- Cost difficult to estimate (helpful tools: serverlesscalc.com)
- Difficulty in migration to other platforms (Vendor lock⚠️)
- Little engineers with experience in serverless on the job market
- Steep learning curve for engineers without any cloud experience
More details are on our blog: https://evojam.com/blog/2018/12/5/should-you-go-serverless-meet-the-benefits-and-flaws-of-new-wave-of-cloud-solutions I hope it helps 🙌 & I'm curious of your experiences.
- Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
- Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
- Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.
- Real-time Synchronization- Firebase takes a new approach to the way data is moved around an app. Rather than using a traditional request & response model, it works by synchronizing data between devices. Whenever your data changes, all clients are immediately notified within milliseconds. The synchronized data is also persisted, allowing new clients to be immediately updated.
- First-class Data Security- Traditional applications intermix security code with application code, whereas Firebase treats security as a first-class feature. You define your security policies in one place using a flexible rules language, and Firebase ensures that they are consistently enforced across all parts of your application. Having all your security logic in one place allows for easy auditing and helps you avoid security mistakes. The safety and security of your data is our top priority.
- Automatic Scaling- The Firebase API is built from the ground up for performance and scale. Whenever your data changes, Firebase calculates the minimum set of updates required to keep all your clients in sync. In addition, all Firebase API functions are designed to scale linearly with the size of the data being synchronized. More importantly, Firebase handles all of the scaling and operations for you. Your app will scale from its first user to its first million without any code changes.
- Servers are Optional- Firebase can provide all of the data storage, control, and transmission needs of most apps. In many cases, Firebase can completely replace your server and server-side code. This means you no longer need to build complicated backend software and can instead focus on your application logic and your customers.