In today’s episode of Tech-Talk, we shall discuss Firebase – the technology that is attracting the Android developer community and is helping them to create more remarkable and reliable products. I am Anjani Joshi, Project Manager – Team Android at Octal IT Solution and I have a few questions asked by fellow Android developers. Let’s begin:

Q. How is a Firebase-based project developed?

Before speaking about how to add Firebase into your Android Project, let’s discuss the basic requirements that your project must have:

  • Device must be running on Android 4.0 or higher versions and supporting Google Play Services 11.2.0 or higher
  • The SDK of Google Play Services from the Google repository should be available in the Android SDK Manager. The code is delivered to us by Google and we import it in Build .gradle file.
  • You must be using the latest version of Android Studio (1.5 or higher)

In case you are not having your own Android project, you can download it from the quick start examples if you just want to learn, how to add a Firebase feature. So, if your device meets all the perquisites, follow these steps for adding Firebase into your project. If you are using the latest version of Android Studio (2.2 or later), you can simply use the Firebase Assistant to connect your app with the Firebase. In case you are working with the older versions of the Android then the steps are different. Have a look here.

  1. Click on tools -> Firebase-> and open the assistant window.
  2. Click on expand and view the features that you require for example analytics, authentication etc.
  3. Click the Connect to Firebase button and add the necessary code into your app.

These were the few simple steps that allow you to add Firebase into your app. However, the steps differ in case you choose to add Firebase manually, without using the Firebase assistant.

Q. What are the advantages of using Firebase into mobile app development?

Firebase comes with the ample of remarkable features. Here are some of them can prove to be of great help for the developer community.

1.) Real-time database – Usually, while developing cross-platform apps the only option left is to develop a separate database or an API for handling all the real-time data updates. Eventually, Firebase handles all the components that are required to handle all the backend components. It provides adaptable and expression-based rules to organize or compress the data.

2.) Authentication – Firebase authenticates your back-end activities with simple to use SDKs or instant UI libraries for preserving the client control over your existing application. It uses the sign-in techniques such as using passwords or email id for making your app secured.

3.) Remote Config – It allows you to change the display and appearance of your app without compelling the users to download your app or get it updated. Your application controls all the updates and makes zero impact on its execution.

4.) Crash Reporting – It helps you create detailed crash reports that describe the effect of the errors on the user activity along with the severity issues. Does it allow registering into the custom reports that provide the reason why the crash happened?

5.) Dynamic Links – These are of great importance in gaining maximized user retention, acquisition, understanding user behavior etc. Dynamic URL optimizes the user experience across the various platforms, thus keeping them engaged.

There are many more advantages of using a Firebase, but these were some of the finest uses of Firebase that can make your app development really enriched and empowered.

Q. What are the major challenges that the developer community faces while in development?

Every app development is itself a challenge, but in case you are developing it with Firebase, you must be careful while handling these.

  1. It is very difficult to migrate it from the existing SQL database easily.
  2. REST API cannot be easily implemented on embedded platforms
  3. Firebase is costly- it is limited to 50 connections at a time, hence you need to work smartly for saving money

These were some of the major challenges, hence it is important to make sure that you are using a centralized database for at a time; else using the Firebase is not justified.

Q. What impact can this technology have on the app development?

Undeniably, Firebase is making the app development faster, reliable, authenticated and sophisticated. It is having a positive impact on app development and provides reliable approaches to manage the backend. Thus, implementing it in the right way can help the developer community to focus on the areas that are complicated. It is a clear measure to save time and energy for developing and deploying the code plus the major factor, it serves the quality to your user base. Micro apps are trending now, and with Firebase, their development will undeniably prove quite beneficial and excellent on the grounds of operability and scalability.

Q. What is the scope of Firebase in all the future virtues?

Firebase works great for real-time apps. It can fit any of the following:

1.) Instant Messaging – You can get a message anytime. Firebase works well and delivers the message at that particular moment. Using its Chat SDK, an open-source messaging library you can build great chat apps.

2.) Games – You can develop multi-player gaming apps, as it updates the real-time scores with no delay. With Firebase your games app remains secure, as there is no need to send the notifications quite often.

3.) Apps for the current generation – You want your mobile app to be scalable, Firebase will do it all. It will manage all your data, will update it, and secure it.

4.) Where Clients are the priority In case you need an urgent app solution for your clients without keep them waiting, go with Firebase. It will cut down your cost, deployment efforts and will itself manage all the servers and storage. Owing to the current industrial revolution it will dominate all the foreseen market standards and will deliver the products that are required by the second generation users. The power of Firebase is extending and will soon be found embedded in the developed mobile apps.

Q. Are there any disadvantages of using Firebase?

I really think Firebase addresses all the requirements of the app development if used properly. Otherwise, you are liable to face some problems. In order to make it work your way, just manage it your way, it is as simple as that. Let me tell you some of the Disadvantages:

  • Firebase is good enough for MVPs or the small projects, but in case you are having complicated project requirements, then you should by side manage the app backend with the Firebase.
  • In order to make it customized and fine-tuned, you need to learn it from scratch.
  • Sometimes you need to deal with the conflict resolution as well.

These were some of the major challenges, but in case you have a big picture and a bigger project obviously extra effort is required to be put upon, that all that Firebase demands.

Q. Any message for Android Developers?

I myself being a developer would like to say a single line-

App development is not only about delivering the product to the client but is the art of presenting your creativity and ideas into a single product.

Make it clean with the right technology may be any but in the end, you should be able to explain yourself and to the client, that the product you have developed is best and it has no substitute. I wish you all a very happy app development journey!!!

Technical Writer

Mike Brin is a tech-savvy writer and a passionate advocate for the transformative power of technology. With a background in Information Technology and a love for all things digital, Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to his tech blog.

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