What is your experience with Firebase?

App development with Google Firebase - how to save costs

What is a backend?

Most apps these days have a login area. A user can therefore create an account with his email address, which is secured with an individual password. All personal data of the user are linked to this account. The storage and management of these user accounts is usually done in one central database, the so-called Backend. In contrast, the app's interface is called Front end

Backend for apps - what for?

In addition to the Storage of user accounts A backend is also suitable for many other tasks of apps. For example for the Provision of content such as images, texts or videos in one app. So-called content management systems (CMS) are usually used in the backend for this. The operators of the app can manage content centrally in a CMS. It is often a simple web interface in which texts and media content can be created, adjusted or deleted. Wordpress, for example, is one of the most famous CMS. An app or website can then dynamically load and display the content. Well-known apps that work this way are, for example, Netflix, Spotify or the Tagesschau app. Even complex calculations or communication between several devices, for example in one Chat app such as Whatsapp or Telegram can be implemented with the help of a backend.

You will also find out which general advantages an app can offer your company and how you can benefit from an app.

Google Firebase as a cost-effective backend for apps

One of the largest BaaS platforms is Google Firebase. Compared to the competition, Firebase convinces next to the low costs especially by a very high level of reliability and security. Firebase is certified according to the most important data protection and security standards and fulfills, among other things, the ISO 27001 standard, one of the most important Cyber ​​security certifications. In addition, Firebase offers a very large range of functions, which are quickly and flexibly available. With Firebase, many functions can be implemented much faster and cheaper than would be possible if you were developing your own backend yourself. Some of the key features of Firebase are as follows:

  • User administration and authentication (Firebase Auth)
  • Real-time database (Firebase Firestore)
  • Data storage (Firebase Cloud Storage)
  • Push Notifications (Firebase cloud messaging)
  • Outsourced calculation and processing functions (Firebase Functions)

Even a CMS can be created with the help of Flamelink operate in Firebase. The integration of Firebase in an app is quite easy due to the many user-friendly interfaces. That applies to native iOS or Android apps as well as for cross-platform apps in React Native or Flutter. As with most cloud services, Google Firebase bills according to the resources used, with a generous free contingent. Experience has shown that apps with fewer than 5000 active users per day cause costs of less than € 50 per month. Google also offers a cost calculator for Firebase.

A Firebase project is very easy to set up and manage. To do this, you first create a free Firebase account and then create a new project. Most of the functions are then ready for immediate use and can be addressed via one of the programming interfaces. The following programming languages ​​and frameworks for apps are supported, among others:

  • Swift / Objective-C (iOS)
  • Kotlin / Java (Android)
  • JavaScript (web)
  • React Native or Flutter (cross-platform apps)

The documentation is very extensive and enables even less experienced developers to get started quickly.

Find out more about the different types of app development and the programming languages ​​used in our article on “Programming apps”.

Alternatives to Firebase

Google is not the only provider in the field of BaaS platforms. One of the biggest competitors is AWS Amplify from Amazon. This relatively new platform is based on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and has a similar range of functions as Google Firebase. Here, too, bills are based on usage. However, the platform does not seem to be as user-friendly and, similar to other AWS products, requires a little more training time.

Another BaaS provider with a comparable range of functions is Back4App, a startup from the USA. Back4App is based on the Open source system Parse

In addition to Parse, there are also various other open source systems that are hosted themselves and can be used as their own BaaS solution. When choosing a suitable system, you should pay particular attention to the reliability and user-friendliness of the interfaces in addition to the running costs.

Conclusion

Google Firebase is an inexpensive backend alternative and is available as a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS). Despite the lower costs, you don't have to forfeit any functions with Google Firebase. All important backend functions such as a real-time database, push notifications or user management and authentication can be implemented with Google Firebase. In addition, Google Firebase is very beginner-friendly, so that complex functions can be integrated even with little expertise.

There are also experts in the itPortal24 network who have already dealt extensively with Google Firebase and have successfully created numerous reference projects. Our partner Ori App Studio have already relied on Firebase as a BaaS solution in many projects and are professional experts in using the software. You have also gained experience with other products, for example with Realm or completely self-developed backend components. However, Ori achieved the best results with Google Firebase. The platform has proven to be extremely reliable and makes development work much easier thanks to well-structured interfaces and extensive documentation, which is also another factor in reducing the cost of developing an app with Firebase. Firebase enables complex projects to be implemented efficiently and cost-effectively for our customers.