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Appcelerator vs Firebase: What are the differences?

Developers describe Appcelerator as "Build network-connected mobile applications across native platforms and the web". Appcelerator is the first mobile platform to combine the flexibility of open source development technologies with the power of cloud services. 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.

Appcelerator belongs to "Mobile Backend" category of the tech stack, while Firebase can be primarily classified under "Realtime Backend / API".

Some of the features offered by Appcelerator are:

  • Library of over 20 pre-built common services that are both proven and robust, to reduce integration time and risk, services such as push notification, status updates, photo storage, and social integration, or create your own custom cloud services.
  • Client-side APIs for any development platform (e.g. Titanium, iOS SDK, Android SDK)
  • Extensibility enabling you to build your own custom cloud application development services in Node.js on the Appcelerator cloud for all your mobile apps.

On the other hand, Firebase provides the following key features:

  • 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.

"Easy to learn" is the primary reason why developers consider Appcelerator over the competitors, whereas "Realtime backend made easy" was stated as the key factor in picking Firebase.

According to the StackShare community, Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 859 company stacks & 992 developers stacks; compared to Appcelerator, which is listed in 12 company stacks and 3 developer stacks.

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What is Appcelerator?

Appcelerator is the first mobile platform to combine the flexibility of open source development technologies with the power of cloud services.

What is Firebase?

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.
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    What are some alternatives to Appcelerator and Firebase?
    Xamarin
    Xamarin’s Mono-based products enable .NET developers to use their existing code, libraries and tools (including Visual Studio*), as well as skills in .NET and the C# programming language, to create mobile applications for the industry’s most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based smartphones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
    Android Studio
    Android Studio is a new Android development environment based on IntelliJ IDEA. It provides new features and improvements over Eclipse ADT and will be the official Android IDE once it's ready.
    React Native
    React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
    Ionic
    Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile and desktop-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Use with Angular, React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.
    PhoneGap
    PhoneGap is a web platform that exposes native mobile device apis and data to JavaScript. PhoneGap is a distribution of Apache Cordova. PhoneGap allows you to use standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development, avoiding each mobile platforms' native development language. Applications execute within wrappers targeted to each platform, and rely on standards-compliant API bindings to access each device's sensors, data, and network status.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Appcelerator and Firebase
    Tomáš Pustelník
    Tomáš Pustelník
    Firebase
    Firebase

    We use Firebase at work (and I use it for my personal projects) for several reasons:

    1) it is not just real-time DB with subscriptions but a lot more (storage for files, push notifications for mobile, cloud functions etc.) so it allows to build quite a robust solutions, but still possible to use just a minimal set of what you need

    2) In most cases it's pretty cheap (unless you messed up you DB structure, reads/writes etc. - could be problem for a lot of traffic - so in such a case ready pricing and related guides properly), for side projects basically free.

    3) offers free hosting with SSL certificates for static files

    4) you can bootstrap functional prototype really quick and for the production, you do not need to worry about scaling.

    See more
    Jared Wuliger
    Jared Wuliger
    Contractor at Insight Global · | 9 upvotes · 20.7K views
    Firebase
    Firebase

    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.

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Appcelerator and Firebase
    Review ofFirebaseFirebase

    Firebase is great, cheap and very flexible. Their docs are very helpful and so is the customer support, but the one thing that is so awesome about firebase is that everything is done in realtime!

    Review ofFirebaseFirebase

    We were looking for a solution to find out about all the errors our customers experienced but never informed us about.

    How developers use Appcelerator and Firebase
    Avatar of Instacart
    Instacart uses FirebaseFirebase

    We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

    Avatar of Instacart
    Instacart uses FirebaseFirebase

    We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

    Avatar of ttandon
    ttandon uses FirebaseFirebase

    Used for storing results of users (malaria predictions) and displaying to user in the app. Although the realtime aspect wasn't huge in this project, it was much quicker to push data elements for each user as firebase elements since they were purely numerical and very small. And again, the idea of familiarity - I've worked with Firebase at previous hackathons, so no need to spend time going through docs, just straight to the coding.

    Avatar of NewCraft
    NewCraft uses FirebaseFirebase

    Firebase let's us iterate quickly. We've used the Realtime Database to build rich UX features– like push notifications– fast. Likewise, Firebase Authentication and Cloud Functions save us from having to rebuild redundant server infrastructure. Even though Firebase can get pricey, we've saved money in developer time.

    Avatar of Addo
    Addo uses FirebaseFirebase

    Still in development, but we will soon (January 2016) be releasing a version that uses Firebase to keep the front end up to date in real time. Certain data are synchronised across RDS and Firebase to optimize the user experience.

    Avatar of Grupo Gamma Peninsular, SA de CV
    Grupo Gamma Peninsular, SA de CV uses AppceleratorAppcelerator

    Desarrollo de aplicaciones multi-plataforma con componentes nativos para iOS y Android

    Avatar of BrightMachine
    BrightMachine uses AppceleratorAppcelerator

    For building cross-platform mobile apps.

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