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Apollo vs Firebase: What are the differences?

Developers describe Apollo as "GraphQL server for Express, Connect, Hapi, Koa and more". Build a universal GraphQL API on top of your existing REST APIs, so you can ship new application features fast without waiting on backend changes. On the other hand, Firebase is detailed as "The Realtime App Platform". Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

Apollo can be classified as a tool in the "Platform as a Service" category, while Firebase is grouped under "Realtime Backend / API".

"From the creators of Meteor" is the top reason why over 8 developers like Apollo, while over 317 developers mention "Realtime backend made easy" as the leading cause for choosing Firebase.

Apollo is an open source tool with 7.4K GitHub stars and 911 GitHub forks. Here's a link to Apollo's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 838 company stacks & 957 developers stacks; compared to Apollo, which is listed in 123 company stacks and 121 developer stacks.

Advice on Apollo and Firebase
Needs advice

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance · | 7 upvotes · 205.6K views

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Hello Noam 👋,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

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Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

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Decisions about Apollo and Firebase
Márton Danóczy

We wanted to save as much time as possible when writing our back-end, therefore Apollo was out of the question, we went for an auto-generated API instead. Hasura looked good in the beginning, but we wanted to retain the ability to add a few manual resolvers and modifications to auto-generated ones, which ruled out Hasura. Postgraphile with its Plug-In architecture was the right choice for us, we never regretted it!

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