Some businesses can not afford the cost of developing or maintaining back-end infrastructure, so they can use BaaS or Backend-as-a-Service services. As with other areas of technology, Google has a strong presence in the Baas service with its product called Firebase; In this article, we will review the Firebase platform and introduce its features.
Application development is somewhat similar to letter writing; In fact, we do our best to design the envelope, but in the end it is the content of the letter that will be more important. Of course, back-end programming, hardware management, and hosting are not as easy as writing a letter, and most programmers are looking for people to take care of them.
What is Firebase?
The Firebase software development platform came in 2011 by Firebase Inc. and acquired by Google in 2014. As a Real-Time database, Firebase has 18 dedicated services and APIs, four of which are currently in beta.
The Firebase platform is a BaaS service used by developers to develop, test, and manage mobile and web applications. In fact, the Baas service allows the programmer to connect the required services to the desired application through dedicated APIs without the need to manage the database and related hardware.
There are generally 7 services in Firebase that cover all the back-end components required by an application. Firebase also has the ability to integrate with other platforms such as Android, iOS, Web and Unity. In the continuation of this article, we will briefly review the services of the Firebase platform.
Check Firebase services
Firebase’s main website divides the platform’s services into three categories: App Building, Quality Assurance, and Instruments for Business Growth. The main services of this platform are in the application development section, which we will explain in the following.
Firebase Realtime Database
Real-time database service is the first Firebase product, so it is considered as the most stable service of this platform. The service is a NoSQL cloud storage system that connects to the application for real-time access to data from various platforms. Capabilities such as working offline, caching data in the device memory and synchronizing (Sync) after connecting to the Internet are the most important advantages of this database.
The data is in the JSON web service and can be called by users. Data access is also permission-based, which will be implemented through Firebase Authentication and authorization by user identity or security rules.
Another NoSQL cloud storage system on Firebase is called Cloud Firestore, which, unlike the Firebase Realtime Database service, is used for enterprise projects that require scalability, sophisticated information models, and advanced queries. The Firebase console can be used to view data in both databases; In addition, there are software kits (SDKs) for working with server-side code (Server-Side) that can be used in both databases. These kits are available for developers for Python, NodeJS, Gulang, Ruby, PHP, Java, .NET, and C # programming languages.
This service is actually a Google Cloud that is used to store users’ in-app content such as photos, audio or video files.
2- Authentication and hosting
Firebase authentication is one of Google’s Authentication services, which is designed for applications that use Firebase. This service helps you to authenticate the user using a pre-built or customized user interface (UI), this service also allows users to log in through personalized documents, email and social networks. Slowly
3- Server-less applications
Another Google product is Cloud Functions, which executes back-end code from the cloud based on event-driven architecture, which is server-less architecture. This architecture means that applications will be developed as a set of separate functions in the cloud and will be interconnected through APIs.
4- Machine learning capability
This service is currently working in beta, but it can be for implementing machine learning (Machine Learning) in mobile applications (Android and iOS). In fact, it is possible to use this service in most Google products such as Google Lens, for example, features such as face recognition, barcode scanning and text scanning can be through this service on the device and in the cloud.
5- Firebase testing services
The test lab service gives the programmer physical and virtual access to the application, so the programmer can test his application in a real environment. The service also has the ability to integrate with other platforms such as Android Studio or Internet browser testing tools.This service provides crash reports to the programmer and with its search bots is able to scan the application and notify you of its bugs; Of course, incompatibility with iOS platform testing tools is one of the problems of this service.
This service is actually a crash reporting tool that provides developers with problems with application stability in real-time. Problems identified through this service are according to their importance, so it will be very easy for programmers to organize the troubleshooting process.
The service automatically monitors the performance of the application and also examines other issues such as the quality of the connection to the server and the response time of the application in various networks.
The App Distribution sharing tool is currently available to users on a trial basis. In fact, developers can use the service to develop a hub for both Android and iOS applications and manage the pre-release version using the command line interface (CLI).
6- Analytics service
When your app or website is running live, you can use Google services to manage how users interact with it.
Google Analytics is one of the tools that is compatible with the Firebase platform, this service provides developers with valuable criteria for measuring the retention and motivation of users and their other behaviors with the application. Firebase reporting in this area is free and unlimited. You can also select specific events to follow and share them on other analytics tools.
7- Configuration and upgrade
You can send notifications between the server and the digital device via cloud messengers. You can also send group messages to users depending on the type of subscription, behavior pattern and profile settings. This service is compatible with the Google Analytics tool, so it gives you the ability to track and configure messages without the need for coding.
You can not predict which version of the application (web or mobile) users will use. In fact, dynamic links transfer user information from one platform to another; For example, using this feature, the user can also see what he searched for in the mobile version in the web application.
Remote Config service allows you to update your application without republishing; For example, changing color patterns and content can use this tool.
Prediction Service is a machine learning plugin that uses analytical data to help you predict customer churn or conversion rates and calculate customer revenue and retention.
Firebase A / B testing
This beta service helps developers test their marketing strategies using A / B testing. Since this service interacts with Google Analytics, you can immediately measure the test result.
Developers can use this service to send targeted and customized messages to those users who rarely use the application. Although the service is currently in beta. It can be in conjunction with Google Analytics and Predictions to perform Smart Targeting.
Benefits of Firebase
Using the products of large companies will often benefit users. Of course, this is not always true, for example, large projects such as Facebook’s Baas platform called Parse have also failed. However, Google’s Firebase product has many advantages, which we will introduce in the following:
- Firebase 2 provides developers with a very powerful database (Realtime and Firestore). In addition to these, there are numerous other services and features on this platform.
- You can start your business with Firebase for free; Of course, having more storage space in the database and using other facilities is subject to a fee.
- All technical information, APIs and SDK resources are on this platform. In addition, the latest information and news are on its social networks.
- Working with Firebase is so easy that people with minimal knowledge of programming languages can integrate other tools with it using the Firebase user interface.
- Firebase Hosting has a content delivery network (CDN) that is with the Google Cloud platform.
Disadvantages of Firebase
- The Realtime database is available to you as the main storage space and is in creating complex queries. In addition, it is very difficult to execute relationships between data in the Realtime database. Of course, such restrictions will not exist in the Firestore database.
- The Bass platform generally has a cloud dependency problem. It is not possible to transfer data from it to another platform.
- Although Firebase has a cross-platform feature, it focuses more on the Android operating system in the mobile section and does not support iOS applications.