What is Cloud Firestore?

What is Cloud Firestore?
Cloud Firestore

One of the functions that support high-performance web or mobile applications is a robust database. An excellent database makes it easy to store information in a well-organized manner. It also creates an avenue to retrieve and manage the data effortlessly while providing functions that help automate various database management tasks. All these qualities make the database an indispensable tool for business across industry verticals.

One of the database platforms preferred by businesses around the world is Google Firestore. It provides features for advanced data management and realtime functions that enhance application development. In this discourse, we shall make an overview of the Google Firestore and the benefits it brings to developers.

Here is what you will learn reading this article:

  • What is Cloud Firestore?
  • Advantages of using Cloud Firestore
  • Cloud Firestore Features
  • How Firestore pricing works
  • Cloud Firestore Alternatives

What is Cloud Firestore?

Cloud Firestore, which is also referred to as Google Firestore, is an integral part of the Google Firebase platform. It takes the form of a cloud-based NoSQL database server that does an excellent job of storing and syncing data. In fact, web and mobile apps can interact directly with Firestore with the use of native SDKs. Firestore is a high-performance database that supports automatic scaling. Besides, it is quite easy to use and very reliable. Developers can work with Firebase using a wide variety of technologies such as Java, C++, Unity, Go, Node.js SDKs, REST, and RPC APIs.

One of the unique features is the syncing of data across multiple client apps using realtime listeners. Firestore leverages the Cloud Identity and Access Management technology of Google to handle authentication. Firestore literarily stores data as documents that are logically classified into collections. The Firestore document offers support for multiple file types, numbers, strings, and nested objects. It is secure, reliable, and also integrates seamlessly with Firebase and the Google Cloud Platform. These excellent features explain the reason why lots of businesses chose Firestore as their preferred database. 

The Advantages of Firestore

Offline Syncronization

Web, Android, and iOS applications enjoy the Offline feature of Firestore. It allows the user to store data offline and sync it to the database immediately connectivity is restored. 

Fully Integrated with Firebase and Google Cloud

Works Seamlessly with Firebase and Google Cloud:  Firestore is an integral part of the Firebase and Google Cloud platforms. So, Firestore provides dual access that allows users to enjoy the realtime database function of Firebase and the scalability of Google Cloud.

Serverless and Scalable Architecture

The serverless function that negates setting up a server and data access management makes development tasks easier for programmers. Firebase and Google Cloud integration allow access to offline support, prototyping, iterations, and advanced synchronization.

The integration with Google Cloud makes Firestore highly scalable. Users can choose horizontal scaling that enables apps to scale based on their workload per time. As a result, it becomes easy to manage massive complex data stores in documents and sub-collections without hassles.  

Improved querying compared to the Realtime Database

Firestore supports indexed queries. This means that users can sort, combine, and create filter functions in a single query. Also, all documents and collections use the ACID transactions earlier discussed.

Pay by the usage

The “pay as you go” pricing structure is a cost-efficient option preferred by developers. It costs less to host a new app, but the price increases as the app users start to scale. So, you only pay for the server resources that your app use.

Firestore Key Features

Built for Native Cloud Applications

Firestore is purpose-designed for cloud and native apps. That is why it is an excellent choice for mobile apps, retail catalogs, social media apps, leaderboards, corporate apps requiring real-time communications, etc.

ACID Transaction

One of the core features of the Firestore is the ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) transaction. It works by terminating an entire transaction when one of the operations within the transaction fails.

Multi-Region Replication

Firestore offers multiple region data replication that enhances the security of the platform. This automatic replication feature helps minimize latency and ensures that user data is available and accessible in a disaster.

Serverless Development

The need for writing codes is reduced because Firebase provides a client-SDK that takes care of networking and authentication.  It also has backend security controls that handle advances validation logic on data while allowing seamless access to data.

Autoscaling

Firestore can scale automatically when the user’s demand for data increases. The database performance is consistent. Even when the size of the database has increased, the response to query time does not degenerate.

Offline Mode

Firestore provides support for offline usage, thanks to the massive number of supported user devices. This feature allows user apps to run flawlessly when they are not connected to the internet. iOS, Android, and web apps can take advantage of the offline database features of the Firestore.

Powerful Query Engine

One of the factors that made Firestore successful is its high-performance query engine that allows developers to run complicated queries against the NoSQL data. It also provides extensive flexibility in data structuring. The best part is that the database performance does not degrade, even when handling complicated queries.

Top-Notch Security

Firestore leverages the Google platform’s well-established security to provide excellent security features for web and mobile apps. Some of these security-related functions include automatic data validation, non-cascading rules, data protection, and functional disaster recovery features.

Firestore Pricing Structure

Firestore charges its customers based on a Pay as you Go model. So, the more you use the product, the more you will be charged and vice-versa. It provides a generous Free tier, and the charges only happen after certain thresholds.

The main variables that delineate the pricing structure are:

  • Database Location
  • Data Stored
  • Bandwith
  • Operations

Firestore Alternatives

Even tough Firestore is a fantastic product, it has vendor-lock in, works only with NoSQL database, does not work with GraphQL APIs, and has no Enterprise support. So, here are some alternatives that are worth evaluating.

Back4App

  • Open-Source
  • Relational Queries
  • SQL and NoSQL databases
  • GraphQL and REST APIs

Kinvey

  • Enterprise focused
  • Native digital experiences
  • Connectors to Enterprise systems

Managed Postgres Services

  • Open-Source
  • SQL
  • Flexible full text search

Conclusion

The scalability, user-friendliness, offline sync, multi-region deployment, automatic scaling, and other advanced feature of the Google Cloud Firestore make it a robust database for app development. Firestore uses a “pay as you go” pricing structure that charges based on the app size and usage.

Firestore is a proprietary technology from Google and has vendor lock-in, it’s not ideal for users looking for SQL databases, and has no tailor-made plans for Enterprises. In this regard, the best alternatives for Firestore are Back4app, Kinvey, and Managed Postgres Services.

General FAQ

What is Cloud Firestore?

Cloud Firestore, which is also referred to as Google Firestore, is an integral part of the Google Firebase platform. It takes the form of a cloud-based NoSQL database server that does an excellent job of storing and syncing data.

What are the advantages of Cloud Firestore?

– Offline Synchronization
– Multi-region deployment
– Serverless Architecture
– Scalability
– Security

What are the alternatives to Cloud Firestore?

Firestore is a proprietary technology, has vendor lock-in, and does not support SQL databases. Competitors worth considering are:
– Back4app
– Kinvey
– Managed Postgres Services


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.