Firebase 101: Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Firebase

Isobar’s Technical Architect, Chris Steele explores Google’s Firebase beyond it’s analytics capabilities. Is it worth implementing for your business? Read more to find out the key features of Google’s secret weapon and what it has to offer beyond just analytics. From complex back-end systems to front-end campaigns, Isobar’s team of creative and technology experts are uniquely suited to solving your business needs. Contact us for a one on one conversation with experts like Chris Steele to talk through how we can help your business succeed. 

Follow along with this series to learn more about:

  • What can Firebase do and why should you consider it while considering the other big names like AWS and Azure?
  • What a NoSQL database is and how it works.
  • Why Firebase is a great choice for custom web applications.
  • How key features of Firebase can afford your brand 
  • Inquire about Isobar’s own data and optimization services

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If you’re working in the cloud computing space, you are likely familiar with or considered using AWS and/or Azure (Amazon’s and Microsoft’s cloud platforms respectively). But you probably have not considered Google Cloud Services. This makes sense since Google was pretty late to the game for this type of offering. But what Google has been doing, almost silently, is building a product on top of their platform called Firebase. And Firebase is worth taking a look at. In this article, and the series that follows, I’ll cover many of the core features of Firebase and highlight why you should  consider it.

Before we get into all of the cloud services Firebase has to offer, I need to talk about Google Analytics for mobile as that’s likely where most people have heard of Firebase (if you’ve heard about it at all).  Google previously had  a mobile version of their web based analytics.  Then they added a more mobile centric version of their analytics and called that Firebase analytics.  Firebase analytics has since been improved and the old, non-Firebase analytics, started to be phased out in late 2019.  By February of 2020, it was turned off completely and now Firebase analytics is the new mobile analytics solution.  Oh, and it’s been rebranded to Google Analytics again and now supports web too.  I bring this up because this series of articles has nothing to do with analytics.  So if you want to know what Firebase can offer beyond analytics keep reading (and you should).

OK! Let’s get to the good stuff.  What can Firebase do and why should you consider it while considering the other big names like AWS and Azure?  The short answer, it’s easy, it can be free (we’ll talk about pricing as we talk about the features), and it probably does everything you need with minimal setup.

Some of the core features I’ll cover in this series include authentication, the NoSQL database (Cloud Firestore), storage, web hosting, functions, and remote configurations.  These features are useful for any type of project, backend, web, or mobile.  And for mobile specifically, I’ll talk about cloud messaging which handles push notifications for both iOS and Android.

But before we get to features, let’s talk about how we set up a Firebase instance.  

Step 0: Create a Google account if you don’t already have one

Step 1: Go to https://firebase.google.com

Step 2: Login with a Google account 

Step 3: Click “Go to console” in the upper right.

Step 4: Click “Create a new project” and give it a name (and a unique identifier that will be used in your URLs, so make it meaningful) and accept the various terms and agreements.

Step 5: You’re done with setup, there is no step 5.  You don’t even need a credit card as you’ll default to the free plan and will only need to upgrade for specific features, most of which is pay as you go.

 

That really is all you need to do to be presented with the following Firebase dashboard.

In the next part of the series I’ll be focusing on what is under the “Develop” menu on the left side.  I won’t be going in order, instead I’ll start with Cloud Firestore, the NoSQL database I mentioned above.  So if you want to know what a NoSQL database is, how it works, and why it’s the first thing I’m covering, stay tuned for my next article.

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