Introduction to Firebase
The advent of smartphones and high-speed internet has led to the birth of mobile applications. On any given day, you can be sure that a new developer is creating a new application to solve user’s problems. As of 2020, Google Play has more than 2.56 million apps, while Apple’s App Store has more than 1.85 million apps ready for download. If you’re an app developer, there’s no better time to be than now.
But app development comes with the challenge of writing complex codes for your backend servers. But fear not, as Firebase allows you to develop apps without the need for spending time on writing codes for the backend. If you’re interested to know more, turn your reading mode on and start scrolling ahead. In this post, we are going to understand what is Firebase and what all you can do with it.
Table of Contents
- What is Firebase?
- How did Firebase evolve?
- How is Firebase different from traditional app development?
- What can you do with Firebase?
- Grow your application with Firebase.
- Wrapping Up
What is Firebase?
Firebase is a tool that allows you to build, develop, and grow your application without the need for complex codes for backend development. Firebase helps you supercharge your app development and management needs with a set of pre-built tools.
If you’re a developer, firebase can help you save tons of productive work time with the help of tools that automate processes like:
- In application authentication
- Database management
- File Storage
- Push messages
The core concept of Firebase is to help make the lives of developers efficient and highly productive. It does this by helping you manage the backend with server-side services.
How did Firebase evolve?
Firebase began as 'Envolve', an API integration that allowed developers to integrate the power of online chat into their websites. As Envolve evolved, developers started using it for more than its intended purpose. Avid Developers started using the Envolve to sync real-time data across their users.
This led to the ‘Aha’ moment with the co-founders of Envolve, as they separated the online chat and real-time information sharing capabilities.
This decision paved the way for Firebase - an application that provided developers with a backend as a service model. Firebase got a whole lot better as a software. In 2014, the tech behemoth ‘Google’ decided to acquire it.
How is Firebase different from traditional app development?
When you’re looking to develop an application in the traditional method, there’s an inherent need to write codes for frontend and backend software. Firebase triumphs over traditional methods, as it allows you to develop applications without the need for backend codes. The below diagram clearly depicts the difference between Firebase and traditional app development -
Firebase provides you with backend Components that are hosted and maintained by Google over a cloud platform. After registration Firebase provides you with Client SDK’s to interact with the Backend services directly. This allows you to run clients apps without the need for any middleware between them.
What can you do with Firebase?
Firebase provides you with a bunch of tools that will help you supercharge your app development process. Some of these tools will help you save hours on testing and development, while some will help you improve the quality of your user experience. Here’s a look at some of the tools that will help you test and develop better applications.
Developing an authentication system for your application generally takes immense manpower and time. Even after development, you need to deploy personnel to maintain the efficiency of the authentication system.
Firebase provides an authentication management tool that helps you build a secure and error-free authentication. It allows you to create and manage a custom authentication system in no more than 15 lines of code at the extreme.
You can allow the user authentication in a variety of ways including
- Email Login
- Facebook Account login
- Phone Numbers
- Twitter account Login
And much more.
In short, firebase’s authentication system allows you to create a code-free way to provide a stellar authentication experience to end-users.
Firebase Real-Time Database
This is one of the first services offered by Firebase after Google’s acquisition, so it’s safe to say that it’s one of the oldest services offered by the platform.
It is a real-time database and allows developers to send updated data across all the applications in real-time. This is possible with the help of multiple bidirectional communication between the client and the database at all times.
You should also know that the data here is stored in the form of JSON.
Cloud firestore was released in 2019 and is considered to be the big brother of Firebase’s real time database. The difference between Cloud Firestore from Firebase real-time database is that the data in here is stored as a field and value pair. It is the best NoSQL database that allows you to store and query data across all your applications.
ML kit allows developers to integrate Google’s Machine Learning Algorithms into their applications without the need for extensive coding or deep understanding of ML. You can use ML Kit to integrate ML features into your application effortlessly. Some of them include:
- Text Recognition
- Face Recognition
- Image labeling
- Landmark Recognition
If you are an expert in ML, firebase’s ML kit allows you to create custom models for your applications.
Firebase hosting allows you to host web applications without the need for Coding. Firebase hosting also supports you to host microservices on its platform, by pairing it with Cloud Functions.
Grow your application with firebase
Here are some of the ways in which you can use Firebase to expand the utility of your application and make the most of out of it -
Google Analytics for Firebase
Google Analytics allows you to take a look at your users and how they use your application. To create a successful application, you need to own data about your users to make valid choices. This is exactly where Google Analytics helps as you decipher the data from all your user actions in your application. With Google Analytics you can build audiences for your applications and use that specific data to improve your User Experience.
Firebase Cloud Messaging
FCM allows you, developers, to send and receive notifications across all their application with no cost. This tool allows you to segregate end-users based upon demographics, behavior, interests and many other characteristics. With segregation, you can send targeted messages to your audiences using your application. As FCM is integrated with Firebase analytics, you can keep track of your notifications to measure conversions.
Firebase predictions analyze the data about your existing users from Google analytics and make predictions about them. The predictions are calculated with the help of ML concepts and help you identify the audiences that will actually end up using your application.
Firebase In-App messaging
This Tool helps you show Customized messages to your users while they are using your application. This might lead you a question - How is Firebase Cloud Messaging ( FCM ) different from Firebase In-App Messaging ( FIAM )?. The difference between them is quite simple. In FCM the notification is controlled from the Dashboard, while in FIAM the notification is controlled by pre-defined criteria. In simple words, FCM originates from the server which is under your control, while FIAM originates from the application.
Firebase is ideal especially if coding is not your forte and with Firebase, anyone can become an app developer. In this post, you have seen what is Firebase and what all you can do with it. Now that is done, it’s time to start using Firebase and make your next application building a seamless process. So go ahead and try it out.