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Socket.IO vs Back4App: What are the differences?

What is Socket.IO? Realtime application framework (Node.JS server). Socket.IO enables real-time bidirectional event-based communication. It works on every platform, browser or device, focusing equally on reliability and speed.

What is Back4App? An easy-to-use, flexible and scalable backend based on Parse Platform. It allows developers to create apps faster building the backend with no code, host with no infrastructure hassles and scale with no technical locks.

Socket.IO and Back4App can be categorized as "Realtime Backend / API" tools.

Some of the features offered by Socket.IO are:

  • Real-time analytics - Push data to clients that gets represented as real-time counters, charts or logs.
  • Binary streaming - Starting in 1.0, it's possible to send any blob back and forth: image, audio, video.
  • Instant messaging and chat - Socket.IO's "Hello world" is a chat app in just a few lines of code.

On the other hand, Back4App provides the following key features:

  • Cloud functions
  • Push notifications
  • User management

Socket.IO is an open source tool with 47.3K GitHub stars and 8.62K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Socket.IO's open source repository on GitHub.

Advice on Back4App and Socket.IO
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 · 375.2K 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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Pros of Back4App
Pros of Socket.IO
  • 3
    Graphql support
  • 2
    Great documentation
  • 2
    Fastest and most complete backend as a service
  • 2
    Open source backend as a service
  • 2
    Easily clone an app
  • 1
    CLI tool
  • 1
    Support via chat
  • 1
    Partner program
  • 1
    Free database backup
  • 1
    Run cloud code
  • 1
    Push notification made easy
  • 1
    Data export and import
  • 217
  • 141
  • 141
    Event-based communication
  • 102
  • 101
    Open source
  • 26
    Binary streaming
  • 21
    No internet dependency
  • 10
    Large community
  • 9
    Fallback to polling if WebSockets not supported
  • 6
    Push notification
  • 5
    Ease of access and setup

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Back4App
Cons of Socket.IO
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 11
      Bad documentation
    • 4
      Githubs that complement it are mostly deprecated
    • 3
      Doesn't work on React Native
    • 2
      Small community
    • 2
      Websocket Errors

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Back4App?

    Back4app accelerates backend development, improves development productivity, reduces time to market, and let you scale applications without managing infrastructure.

    What is Socket.IO?

    It enables real-time bidirectional event-based communication. It works on every platform, browser or device, focusing equally on reliability and speed.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use Back4App?
    What companies use Socket.IO?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Back4App or Socket.IO.
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    Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

    What tools integrate with Back4App?
    What tools integrate with Socket.IO?

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    What are some alternatives to Back4App and Socket.IO?
    Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
    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.
    With Parse, you can add a scalable and powerful backend in minutes and launch a full-featured app in record time without ever worrying about server management. We offer push notifications, social integration, data storage, and the ability to add rich custom logic to your app’s backend with Cloud Code.
    It is a development and runtime platform which simplifies and shortens mobile application development process. The platform removes the need to develop backend functionality by providing reusable server-side services via APIs. The APIs are packaged into native libraries available for all major client-side environments - Andoid, iOS, JavaScript, .NET, ActionScript and REST. The default backend logic can be modified with custom server-side code. The platform is available as an online service and a downloadable Enterprise product which can be deployed in any environment.
    Kinvey makes it ridiculously easy for developers to setup, use and operate a cloud backend for their mobile apps. They don't have to worry about connecting to various cloud services, setting up servers for their backend, or maintaining and scaling them.
    See all alternatives