Firebase – best solution for MVP
When it comes to building a minimum viable product (MVP), the choice of the database can make or break the success of the project. Due to the fact that the MVP is not a final product, but only a test of project adoption in the market, we would like to not spend a lot of time and money on server-side solutions. And here comes the Firebase - a solution that includes many tools that will take care of your application at a small cost.
What exactly is Firebase?
Firebase is a Backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platform that can be used to quickly and easily build an MVP for your business. As we mentioned in the introduction, Firebase offers a wide range of features which includes authentication, analytics and also databases, making it easy to build a complete MVP in a short amount of time.
BaaS means that programmers can focus only on the frontend part of your app, because all server-side aspects run in the cloud without the need to create a backend part of the project.
The biggest advantages of using Firebase
- Easy authentication – users can be easily authenticated via their email and password and also if we need, we can connect SSO (Single sign-on) services like Facebook, Google and Apple sign in.
- Manage your builds in an easy way – Using firebase, we can share builds with our clients and testers very easily. Each person added will receive a link in their email to download the build. If necessary, we can automate this process and connect firebase with our CI/CD, so that the builds will automatically appear in the distribution section
- Analytics – Thanks to the Firebase integration with the Google Analytics platform, we are able to track user engagement and also see how users interact with the app (E.g., which app screen is most visited). In the future, such information can help plan further development of the app.
- Crash reporting – Firebase offers a tool that allows us to catch any errors that occur in the application, from the smallest ones that do not prevent the user from using the application to those that make the application crash. Information about all the bugs reduces the time to look for the cause of the problem, and also helps improve the application in future updates.
When creating an application, you will have to choose where all the data will be stored. Firebase offers two solutions and Cloud Firestore is just one of them. Firestore is easy to set up and integrate into a mobile app noSQL database. Its non-time-consuming integration and simple API allow for easy data manipulation, making it a great choice for quickly building MVPs.
The advantages of using Cloud Firestore are:
- Real-time capabilities – Firestore allows for seamless collaboration and syncing of data across multiple devices and users, which is especially useful for mobile apps where multiple users may be accessing and modifying the same data.
- Security – Firestore provides a variety of security features, including user authentication and access controls, which are crucial for any mobile app. These features allow developers to ensure that only authorized users can access and modify data in the database.
Firebase got 2 main price plans: No-cost Spark Plan and Pay as you go Blaze Plan. In the beginning, you can start with using the Spark Plan, which is completely free, but has its limits. If you notice that your application may exceed these limits, you can think about switching to the Blaze Plan.
You will pay only for the resources you use and you can scale your usage up or down as needed. It’s suitable for every size of business from startups to large enterprises. The Blaze Plan includes all of Firebase core services and as we mentioned, the cost is based on usage and is calculated based on factors such as data storage or the number of requests.
Firebase disadvantages worth mentioning
Firebase can really be a very good solution for many applications, but there are a few things to keep in mind that may become problematic after implementing this tool. It all depends on what you expect from your application.
There are potential disadvantages of using Firebase:
- No direct control over the backend infrastructure – if you need to customize it or you want to integrate your app with other services that are not supported by Firebase, then it can be a disadvantage. Firebase is a fully managed service so control over backend infrastructure is limited.
- Limited querying capabilities – Firebase is a NoSQL database, which means that it has a different data model and querying capabilities than a traditional relational database. Firebase has a powerful query system but it may not be suitable for complex queries or for applications that need to retrieve data based on multiple conditions. It's important to consider the specific needs of your MVP before choosing a database.
In conclusion, Firebase is a powerful platform that can definitely reduce the amount of time needed to build your MVP. Of course, like any tool, it has a few weaknesses to keep in mind when deciding to use it, but for the most part, its advantages show that it is worth it to implement Firebase for our application.