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Firebase vs RxDB: What are the differences?


Firebase and RxDB are both popular technologies used for building web and mobile applications. While Firebase is a cloud-based platform that offers various services for backend development, RxDB is a client-side database that provides seamless data synchronization between devices. Although they serve different purposes, there are several key differences between Firebase and RxDB.

  1. Scalability: Firebase is highly scalable and can handle a large number of concurrent users and data requests. It automatically scales resources based on demand, making it suitable for applications with high traffic. On the other hand, RxDB is more focused on client-side storage and synchronization, making it ideal for applications that don't require the same level of scalability as Firebase.

  2. Real-time Data Sync: Firebase provides real-time data synchronization out of the box. Any changes made to the database are instantly propagated to all connected devices, allowing for real-time collaboration and updates. RxDB also supports real-time data synchronization, but it primarily focuses on peer-to-peer data replication between the clients, providing offline capabilities and conflict resolution.

  3. Data Retrieval: Firebase offers powerful querying capabilities for retrieving data from the database. It supports complex queries, sorting, filtering, and indexing, making it easy to fetch data based on specific criteria. RxDB provides basic querying capabilities, but it doesn't offer the same level of flexibility and advanced querying options as Firebase.

  4. Authentication and Authorization: Firebase provides a comprehensive authentication and authorization system, supporting various authentication methods like email/password, social login, and custom authentication. It also offers fine-grained access control using Firebase's security rules. RxDB, on the other hand, is a client-side database and does not provide built-in authentication and authorization features. Developers need to handle authentication separately when using RxDB in their applications.

  5. Data Storage: Firebase offers cloud storage services where you can store files and static assets securely. It provides features like file metadata, access control, and integrations with other Firebase services. RxDB, being a client-side database, does not provide direct support for file storage. However, you can still use other cloud storage solutions in conjunction with RxDB to handle file storage requirements.

  6. Development Environment: Firebase provides a comprehensive development environment with a web-based console, SDKs for various platforms, and integrations with popular development tools like Firebase CLI, Firestore emulator, and Firebase hosting. RxDB, being a client-side database, is more lightweight and does not require a complex development environment. It can be easily integrated into existing projects without the need for additional setup or infrastructure.

In Summary, Firebase is a scalable cloud-based platform providing various backend services and real-time data synchronization, while RxDB is a client-side database focusing on peer-to-peer data replication and offline capabilities. Firebase offers advanced querying, authentication, and storage options, whereas RxDB is lightweight and easy to integrate.

Advice on Firebase and RxDB
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 · 475K 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 Firebase
Pros of RxDB
  • 371
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 270
    Fast and responsive
  • 242
    Easy setup
  • 215
  • 191
  • 134
  • 128
    Backed by google
  • 83
    Angular adaptor
  • 68
  • 36
    Great customer support
  • 32
    Great documentation
  • 25
    Real-time synchronization
  • 21
    Mobile friendly
  • 19
    Rapid prototyping
  • 14
    Great security
  • 12
    Automatic scaling
  • 11
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
  • 6
    Firebase hosting
  • 6
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    Free hosting
  • 2
    Cloud functions
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    Push notification
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 2
    Free authentication solution
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration
  • 1
    Google's support
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    CDN & cache out of the box
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Simple and easy
  • 15
    Good documentation
  • 13
    Subscription to queries
  • 11
    Example projects
  • 10
    Typescript support
  • 10
  • 3
    Offline first
  • 1

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Cons of Firebase
Cons of RxDB
  • 31
    Can become expensive
  • 16
    No open source, you depend on external company
  • 15
    Scalability is not infinite
  • 9
    Not Flexible Enough
  • 7
    Cant filter queries
  • 3
    Very unstable server
  • 3
    No Relational Data
  • 2
    Too many errors
  • 2
    No offline sync
  • 4
    Bulk operation for updates and other operation

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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.

What is RxDB?

💻 📱 Reactive, serverless, client-side, offline-first database in javascript. Client-Side Database for Browsers, NodeJS, electron, cordova, react-native and every other javascript-runtime.

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What companies use Firebase?
What companies use RxDB?
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