An Overview of Firebase BaaS
The goal of this discourse is to make a detailed analysis of Firebase Backend as a Service. We shall discuss the merits, demerits, costs and features of this popular backend platform.
Besides the developer’s skills and dedication, another factor that fosters the development of feature-rich apps is the platform. One of the excellent app development platforms today is Google Firebase, a feature-rich platform for creating Android, iOS and web-based applications.
Although there are newer platforms with excellent features, Firebase still remains one of the top contenders in the backend for app development industry. We shall proceed to discuss Firebase and the value it brings to app development
An Overview of Backend as a Service
Backend as a Service (BaaS) is a cloud-based model for creating apps. This approach entails outsourcing the backend assignments of an app project to a service provider while the developer focuses on building the app’s frontend. This development method helps cut down the cost of app development.
The modus-operandi of BaaS is quite simple; the service provider offers the infrastructure, apps and scripts for handling backend assignments. A few of these tasks include hosting, authentication, database tasks, and many more. With the backend hassles out of the way, the developer can concentrate on managing client-side development functions. In essence, BaaS streamlines development tasks to make them more manageable.
Benefits of Backend as a Service
- It makes development faster.
- Reduces development costs.
- Negates the need to manage server infrastructure.
The Shortfalls of Backend as a Service
- It is less flexible compared to custom coding.
- It offers fewer options for customization.
- Locks in users on the platform.
An Overview of Google Firebase
Firebase is a BaaS owned by Google. It has extensive features for building, hosting and managing apps. The platform consists of several tools that developers need for building and managing apps. In essence, it provides all the tools developers need to build an app, launch it, and engage with the app users.
Since the backend platform gives the developer access to several ready-made services like file storage, database, authentication, they can put more efforts into building excellent apps. Another superb feature of Firebase it the seamless scaling of apps. All these features work together to make Firebase one of the leading BaaS platforms today.
- Offers a free plan
- Makes app development faster
- Offers comprehensive development features.
- Provide a serverless development architecture.
- The platform is driven by Google.
- Streamlines development tasks to the frontend.
- Supports integration of machine learning features.
- Has inbuilt SEO features.
- Offers functions for monitoring error.
- Provide top-notch security.
Despite the useful features, Firebase does the following drawback listed below:
- It is closed-source
- Locks in user on vendor platform
- It’s not functional in several countries
- Only offers NoSQL databases
- Reply to database queries are slow
- The free plan offers limited services
- Cost is high and unpredictable
- It cannot be self-hosted
- Does not offer dedicated/enterprise plans
- GraphQL not available out-of-the-box
The Cost of Firebase
Firebase users can select from the free Spark Plan or the Blaze Plan that uses the pay-as-you-go pricing model.
The free Spark plan offers several features such as hosting multiple domains, Secure Socket Layer, RTDB, 10 gigabytes of storage, and many other freebies. However, this plan does not offer cloud functions and a few other services.
The Blaze plan offers everything in the Spark Plan. Once the resources are exhausted, the service is billed based on server resource usage. For instance, $0.026/GB is charged per gigabyte storage.
Other services, such as Authentication, Cloud Functions, storage, are billing separately, based on usage. The platform provides a free tool on its website for estimating costs.
Freebies on Firebase
Some services of Firebase that enhances app development assignments are available for free to users of all plans. The freebies are listed below:
- Delivery of apps for testers
- The app indexing algorithms
- App deployments for A/B testing
- Notifications and user messaging system
- Integrated app performance analysis
- Crash detection and logging
- Redirection through dynamic links
- Machine Learning components for identifying returning users.
Premium Firebase Services
Firebase offers a console tab for observing service statuses such as payment and resource usage. These tabs are for:
- Connection: This tab shows the number of incoming connections, including those from WebSockets.
- Storage: Displays the amount of data store across all Firebase services such as database storage.
- Download: The download tab displays the total amount of data download from the database.
- Load: It presents a GUI display of server loads (the data requested by users) per time.
This article discusses more Firebase price structure in detail.
The Key Features of Firebase
Firebase offers a lot of features that bring tremendous value to app development. These services are widely classified under Build, Release and Monitor, and Engage. Developers require all three classes of services at different stages.
- Services under the “Build” category provides various tools for executing application development assignment.
- The Features under “Release and development” provide tools that enable the developers to test, launch, analyze and distribute apps without hassles.
- “Engage” components of Firebase are tools that enhance communication and engagement with the app users.
The following platforms are viable alternatives to Firebase.
This platform is designed to enhance the development of mobile apps on major mobile platforms. It also supports web and IoT app development too. The tools on Back4apps makes app development assignments faster and less stressful. The platform also provides several integration tools that make app development projects more manageable.
This frameowrk is an open-source app development backend that enjoys the support of a massive community of developers. The many excellent features of Parse make it one of the best backend options today. The platform offers tools that enable developers to manage storage, execute custom codes and many more. Since Parse is opensource, it allows developers to customize the code to suit their app development objectives.
KInvey is a provider of premium backend service for app development. It offers a suite of tools that allows developers to build, launch and scale apps without hassles. The platform supplies the infrastructure and other apps required to set up a functional backend. One of the features that attract developers to Kinvey is the top-notch business logic of the platform.
Heroku presents developers with a feature-rich app development environment that offers everything a developer needs to build apps and host them on the cloud. It’s backend development tools enhances development workflow and simplifies complex development assignments. All these features make Heroku a viable alternative to Firebase.
The chapters above made a systematic analysis of Firebase, focusing on features, merits, demerits, and alternative options.
The Google-owned platform allows developers to build apps faster and scale them easily without investing in infrastructure. However, factors like closed-source and lack of SQL databases are shortfalls of Firebase.
Firebase offers two basic plans: the free Spark and premium Blaze plans that charge users based on the server resources used. However, the Spark plan offers many features and limited server resources for free; some features are reserved for Blaze users only.
The features of Firebase are helpful all through an app development cycle. They enhance app development, launching and engaging with users.
While there are many viable alternatives to Firebase, the top ones are Kinvey, Back4app, AWS Amplify, Parse and Backendless.
The information in this article would help you select the right backend for your next app development project.
Can you explain more about Firebase?
Firebase is a cloud-based backend for the development of apps for various platforms such as IoT, iOS, web, and Android. Users benefit from a faster outcome and hassle-free scalability.
What are the main features of Firebase?
The top features of Firebase include cloud code, storage, database hosting, and analytics.
What are the best alternatives to Firebase?
Back4app, Parse, Kinvey, Heroku, AWS Amplify