Building an application may seem to be a very mysterious process at first sight. It is true to a great extent however, there are numerous services which can facilitate the work a lot. Firebase is one of them. This giant is ready to take much of the heavy burden from your tender entrepreneur's shoulders.

Today each and everyone is going to learn something new. Because right now, we will be over-viewing Firebase and its services to finally find out how it can help you out with building your product.

Basics of Firebase

Traditionally, we start with the history of a brand. So let's do it the same way.

Firebase was founded by Andrew Lee and James Tamplin in 2011 but was launched officially in April 2012. Originally, the system was intended to be a real-time database providing its APIs enabling users to store and sync data across different clients. However, the plans changed a little bit when Firebase was acquired by Google two years later after its release. Today, the service has a number of functions a wise entrepreneur may find very useful. I'm sure you are one of them, so let's finally figure out how and where you can apply these gifts.

Firebase development

There are usually two ways: you either want to develop a completely Firebase-powered application or resort to some of the service features to create a partially powered one. Now I'll try to explain what it actually means

A completely Firebase-powered application

The thing is, your future app may consist of a client code only. In this case, all you need is Firebase and its ability to distribute your product. If the description of your application matches one of the following, then Firebase should be your #1 choice:

  • • Your app is not about heavy data processing and doesn't have any complex user authentication needs.
  • • Your app doesn't need the integration with any third-party systems (payment gateway, GPS, log-in via social networks, etc.) and legacy systems (gross, outdated ones).
  • • You are trying to create a new application (not complex!) or give the second chance to an existing one by rewriting its code.

What happens is that the dynamic content of your application (the one that cycles constantly) and user data are stored and retrieved from Firebase. The static content of your app (the one that never changes) is packaged up into a client-side code. So here comes the first feature which makes all of the above said possible

1. Firebase Realtime Database

Realtime Database is a cloud-hosted database that allows you to store and sync data across all clients in real time.

But what is the Firebase Database secret? Nice question, actually. The thing is, Realtime Database uses data synchronization instead of usual HTTP requests. So every time any data is changed, a connected client receives these changes in no time.

Moreover, the database is accessible directly from any client, be it a mobile device or web browser. What it means is that your application doesn't need any server-side code. Data are stored locally, which makes Firebase-powered apps responsive even though they go offline. Don't worry, thanks to Realtime Database data synchronization, clients will receive all the data they missed during their absence once connectivity is renewed.

2. Firebase Auth

What about non-complex user authentication needs? And again, a very nice question. In case we deal with a 100% Firebase-driven app, user authentication may be performed with the help of Simple Login service which supports different networks; among them are Twitter, Facebook, Google, and GitHub. All these are in addition to a traditional email-password registration scheme. The nice thing about it is that in this case, you still don't have to write any server-side code

A partially Firebase-powered application

However, sometimes a client is not capable of doing all the work on its own. Below we have such extraordinary situations:

  • • Your app is a more compound solution that couldn't get along with writing a client-side code only. What's more, your server-side code should be run on a credible server.
  • • You want your app to be integrated with some third-party APIs (to make it geo-location aware or to let it send SMS and emails)
  • • Your application is about advanced authentication needs, and Firebase Simple Login service is just not enough in this case.

3. Firebase Storage

Need to give your users an opportunity share and store multimedia through your application? No problem! Firebase Storage is always at your service. It provides secure uploads and downloads of users' files even in poor network conditions.

Using Firebase Storage SDKs, developers can upload and download content right from clients to Firebase Cloud, so they could be shared with anyone else. Firebase Auth and Storage work together to provide a secure sharing of the files on your app. Hence, you can make files either public or private, limit access to certain groups of files, and control individual files see, you rule!

4. Firebase Cloud Messaging

Google Cloud Messaging becomes integrated with Firebase! What it means is that company's cloud-to-device messaging is available for Firebase users for free now.

The service is equally great for iOS, Android, and Web solutions. So your users are going to benefit from a secure, real-time message exchange no matter what kind of device they use.

5. Firebase Notifications

The next question how to make your users know that there is a message or other data to check? Easily! With the help of Notifications.

You use Firebase Notification Console to compose and send notifications to your client apps. In this case, no additional coding is required. FCM takes care of the notifications routing and delivery to targeted devices. They are the same: single, grouped, and unified by Firebase Cloud Messaging topic. User retention has never been so easy!

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