We have always seen websites or web apps as these complicated structures that perform some type of magic. Every time we visit a website, it shows up information from various sources. There are databases, codebases, multiple programming languages involved in running that website or app.
The complexities involving the creation of a web-based service like a website or a mobile app are vast. This is where Firebase comes in.
What is Firebase?
In the easiest of terms, Firebase is a BaaS(Backend as a Service). It is a service that can help you create web and mobile apps in no time. Firebase takes away the complexity and hassle of owning and maintaining a back-end server and give you easy to use features that can help you build your idea. Firebase is owned by Google and it syncs pretty well with the Google Cloud platform.
Features offered by Firebase
Firebase can be considered a service that offers various interconnected features that you would otherwise have to write code for yourself. Some of these include the following.
- User Authentication
You can authenticate users via multiple methods namely Facebook, Google, phone-based or generic email and password authentication.
- Real-Time Database
Real-Time Database is one of the most interesting features offered by Firebase. It is a database with push and subscribes support to clients. The database is built on top of NOSQL and uses the document store model. So you cannot only store data in databases but deliver new data to the client as an when it is available
- File Storage
Firebase also supports saving of files into its platform. This allows developers to use the firebase API to allow users to upload files to their platform.
- App Deployment
With Firebase, you won’t have to write a single line of back-end code ever. This means all you gotta do is write code for the front end. For web apps, firebase allows hosting of front-end code which is a great move as one can deploy a firebase app from within firebase without any external dependencies.
- Firebase Cloud Messaging
The Firebase Cloud Messaging platform commonly abbreviated as FCM is a workaround for sending push notifications to your users. It can also be used for communication between various users of the app.
- A lot More
Firebase just doesn’t stop there. It has analytics that provides a lot of statistics on various aspects of your app. You also get access to Google’s machine learning library and a host of other functionality to make a feature rich web or mobile app.
“Just when you thought water was free, they put it in a bottle”. Firebase is free for hobby developers. The initial spark plan costs nothing and is great for people who are testing new projects or have an application in development. There is another plan called the Flame plan. The Flame plan has higher limits on the number of API requests that can be made to Firebase and costs $25. Finally, we have Blaze plans that work as pay as you go. You can get the full pricing details here.
The Impact of Firebase
Firebase has been around for quite some time now and it has powered some of the really famous apps in their beginning phases. Till date, many companies use Firebase to run parts of their service. Firebase has really given web developers a great head start in building their dreams as it is extremely quick to take an idea from concept to product with firebase. However, Firebase has seen some criticism by many developers. But we shall discuss that some other day.