Firebase Open Source Alternatives

Firebase Open Source Alternatives

The Best 5 Open Source Alternatives to Firebase

Is Firebase Open Source? No, Firebase is a proprietary platform from Google and runs exclusively on Google Cloud.

This blog will provide a list of Open Source alternatives to Firebase and the benefits of using open source technologies for backend development.

This article will explore the advantages of using Parse, Back4App, AWS Amplify, Kuzzle, and Hoodie as open-source options to Firebase.

Even though Firebase is a feature-rich platform and great product, a proprietary framework has the following disadvantages over open-source platforms:

  • Vendor lock-in
  • Firebase owns the intellectual property over its framework
  • Lack of customization and flexibility to adapt the code
  • Dedicated hosting and private clouds are not an option at Firebase
  • Firebase base does not offer Enterprise contracts

Here is why you should use an open-source platform vs. a proprietary one:

Transparency/Reliability/Security/Freedom

Using an open-sourced framework instead of its closed sourced competitors brings a few key advantages that users should understand before committing to a platform. Open-source software relies on a few characteristics, such as transparency, reliability, security, and freedom.

Transparency because you have full visibility of what the framework is doing. Along with that, you have full access to community policies and a full history of how developers address bugs and improvements—no black boxes. You know exactly how your data is handled.

Reliability is present because everyone is watching. When you have a community accepted software, your developers and all others using that framework are continually looking for bugs and improvements. A problem manifested somewhere else can be fixed and the fix delivered to you before it ever manifests in your systems.

Security because developers thoroughly review the framework. People are always watching for security standards changes and deploying the latest and greatest open-source frameworks as nobody wants to stay behind, and you benefit from that collaboration.

Freedom because you are not under the risk of becoming locked in by the vendor of the technology. When you get too attached to closed source software, you might become dependent on it and subjected to their vendor’s decisions. They know you can’t just go away without vast amounts of re-development and its costs. Proprietary locks are the chains of the software world.

Customization/Flexibility

Firebase customize code

It’s your company, your product, and your code! Open-source technologies will let you play with the software much more freely, and you will have full control over the source code. You will be able to adapt the source code for your application’s specifics needs and change it at any given time.

The examples to illustrate customization possibilities are broad and comprise managing framework versions, installing security patches, and performance optimization.

Example #1: Integration with legacy systems

For instance: let’s suppose you have a report generating an application that must retrieve data from different data sources. A few of those data sources include legacy systems that need specific drivers that work well but are not maintained.

When working with open-sourced products, you can use the compatible version, and your reporting application will keep working as it always did.

On a closed-source platform, you have two options: hope and pray that the maintainer of that platform will support those drivers, or remove that feature from your application, losing functionality and potentially losing users that need that functionality.

Open-sourced platforms can also rely on the community’s power for finding and fixing bugs in the code. If you choose a widely used platform, the chances are that someone will find any potential issues before you do, and sometimes even fix those issues before you also know they existed.

Closed source platforms rely only on their development teams, which are much smaller and limited to testing and fixing code. A few issues might take months before they are set, while others might never be fixed at all.

Intellectual property

Firebase Open Source

That’s another essential aspect you need to take into consideration before using proprietary technologies. In general, open-source licenses will allow the source code to be used freely, modified, and shared. Please make sure you read the open-source license before starting using it and understanding the licensing limits.

Deploy in any cloud

Firebase AWS Azure

That’s another benefit of Open Source frameworks over proprietary frameworks. You will choose an adequate cloud provider to run your application and not be restricted to a single option. The options can vary from general purposes cloud services like AWS or Azure to niche players like Back4App.

Example #2: Scaling your app

When your App needs to scale up quickly, it will probably need some customization to keep up with the new information handled. Queries might need to be re-written to perform faster, which can help.

Still, depending on the original amount, even OS customizations might be needed: the number of TCP/IP connections can become the next bottleneck or even the number of file descriptors on the hard drive.

A fully scalable system must be fine-tuned to be reliable under heavy load. Just spinning up new machines is one solution, but it is far from the very best solution available. Using efficiently every available resource is what makes scalability beautiful.

No vendor lock-in

Firebase-vendor-lock-inYou will never be a hostage and can move away at any given time. On top of that, you can update your product according to your needs and won’t need to follow a pre-defined schedule determined by Firebase.

Lower Cost

Firebase Cost

The total cost of ownership of an open-source product is usually less expensive than a proprietary product. A proprietary product requires a single company to invest heavily in Research & Development, and this cost offsets with profit among the users of the product.

On the other hand, an Open Source product is created/managed by developers that spontaneously invest time and effort in favor of the community.

Firebase Open Source Alternatives

Here is some excellent Open Source backend as a service alternatives to Firebase.

Parse

Parse - Firebase Open Source Alternative

Here is the most used Open Source backend open-source framework. The product is feature-rich, and the repositories include:

  • Parse Server – API server for Node/Express
  • Parse Dashboard – A console to manage the applications
  • Parse SDK JavaScript
  • Parse SDK Android
  • Parse SDK iOS

Parse features include database management, cloud functions, social login, email notifications, real-time notifications, REST and GraphQL APIs, etc. Also, Parse is an excellent self-hosted Firebase alternative and can be deployed on any server.

In 2016, Facebook decided to open-source the framework, and more than 600 thousand applications were benefited from this decision. You can download the Parse Server framework on Github, and the link is available below:

Parse Server

Here are the options to host Parse Server:

  • On Premisses: Download and install on your local servers. 
  • Self-Hosting (Self-Hosted): Download and install on your preferred cloud provider (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, Alibaba)
  • Parse Hosting: Run the open source-source framework on specialized hosting services. See Back4App below.

The advantages of Parse are:

  • It’s a proved open-source technology that has thousands of users.
  • Large open-source community with 18k stars and 4.4k forks on Github.
  • Feature-rich framework. Some cool new features like GraphQL APIs available.

Parse is free to download, and there is no cost associated with it.

Back4App

Back4app - Firebase Open Source Alternative

That’s the company I work for, and please give it a try! You enjoy it for sure, and please feel free to email me your feedback at [email protected]

Back4app is a low-code platform that helps teams accelerate application development and reduce the overall time to market a software project. It is the amalgamation of open-source technologies and extremely easy to use.

Back4app provides a multitenant environment that allows users to deploy apps on any cloud. The core features include a relational database, GraphQL and REST APIs, Notifications, and Cloud Code functions.

The benefits of Back4App are:

  • Ease of use
  • Low latency and fast performance environment. 
  • Multitenant environment.
  • Cache/CND implemented by default.
  • Fully managed service with 24/7 support.

Back4app provides a free tier for development, and the pricing starts at $5 per month.

AWS Amplify

aws amplify - firebase open source alternative

AWS could not be out of this game and provide an Open Source backend as a service framework. Amplify is a JavaScript library that can be accessed here

By default, it has pre-built integration with Amazon Web Services. The features include analytics, authentication, push notifications, APIs, etc.

The benefits of AWS Amplify are:

  • Fully integrated with AWS.
  • CLI plugins
  • UI components available

AWS Amplify provides a free tier, and paid applications are charged based on the actual usage of the service (pay as you go billing).

Kuzzle

kuzzle - firebase open source alternative

It’s an open-source framework that runs on any hosting service compatible with Linux or Docker. The repositories include:

  • Kuzzle – backend for IoT, web and mobile apps
  • Kuzzle Admin Dashboard
  • SDK Javascript
  • SDK Go
  • Koncorde – Real-time engine
  • Documentation

The features include authentication, real-time database, IoT, security, geofencing. Kuzzle does also offer the option for managed services.

The benefits of Kuzzle are:

  • IoT communication protocols.
  • Support Plans.
  • Professional services to implement POCs.

Kuzzle is free to download and provides managed hosting at $1,200 per month.

Hoodie

hoodie - firebase open source alternative

It’s an offline JavaScript backend, and the repositories include:

  • Hoodie
  • Hoodie Account Client – API for the browser
  • First Times Bot
  • Hoodie Website
  • Hoodie Store Client – Offline synchronization and data persistence
  • Hoodie Logs
  • Several other repositories
  • The features include user sign-up, data storage, off-line synchronization, emails, etc.

The benefits of Hoodie are:

  • Focus on Node.JS developers that want to extend the product.
  • Offline first concept. That is, users’ data are stored locally.
  • Runs on Apache CouchDB.
  • Firebase alternative self hosted

Hoodie is free to download, and there is no cost associated with it.

These are all open source Firebase alternatives we have available for now. 

Firebase Open Source Alternatives | Comparison Table 

SolutionCore FeaturesFree TierPricingHosting
ParseDatabase, APIs, NotificationsYesFreeDownload Only
Back4appScalable Database, APIs, StorageYes$5/moMulticloud
AWS AmplifyStorage, Authentication, NotificationsYesPay as you goAWS
Kuzzle Realtime updates, APIs, GeofencingYes$1,200Multicloud
HoodieOffline first, APIs, DBYesFreeDownload Only

Conclusion

A vital aspect that every developer and company needs to consider before using Firebase is that it’s not Open Source. Proprietary platforms have vendor lock-in, are less flexible, and restrict the possibilities of optimizing app performance as soon as you scale usage.

So, if these aspects are essential for you, an open-source backend may be an excellent path to follow.

This article highlighted the best five open-source backends to replace Firebase. The list includes Parse, Back4app, AWS Amplify, Kuzzle, and Hoodie.

General FAQ

 

What are the Firebase Open Source alternatives?

The open-source alternatives to Firebase are Back4app, Parse, AWS Amplify, Kuzzle, and Hoodie.

What are the Open Source advantages?

– Transparency
– No Vendor Lock In
– Lower Cost

What are the disadvantages of Firebase?

– Vendor lock-in
– Owns the intellectual property
– Lack of customization and flexibility to adapt the code
– Dedicated hosting is not available


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