The market of various apps is growing progressively. The competition in mobile apps development is too high to let yourself spend too much time on your product. Moreover, it’s very important to see the customer’s reaction and how your idea works in real life. That’s why it’s so important to release your application as soon as possible. And one of the best decisions to manage all that is to use Firebase as cloud backend for your mobile apps.
Firebase is a BaaS (Backend as a service), which provides RTDB (real time database) services for mobile apps and web developers. It was established in 2011 and was purchased by Google in 2015.
Why use Firebase?
Why is it useful and why you may need Firebase? Let’s make a brief of its capabilities for developer’s needs.
Firebase can be your only service to manage your web products and apps if:
- There is no need for integration with 3rd-party environments (log-in process via social nets, any kind of Maps or payment services)
- The aim is to create a lightweight app or upgrade an old one.
However, there may be situations which involve adding a server code:
- The app is complicated and cannot be managed by a front-end code only. A reliable server is needed to run the back-end code;
- There is a necessity for embedding 3rd-party APIs;
- Advanced level of safety is needed, and Simple Login service is not enough in this case.
If your app has all or several characteristics listed above and you develop a Firebase-powered app with a back-end code, your server becomes an agent between the client and Firebase. But Firebase itself continues dealing with real-time changes and scaling.
Firebase is RTDB (Real Time Database)
Except traditional auth scheme (login/email-password), 100% Firebase powered app supports simplified login process through different networks. In this situation there is still no need for writing any server code.
Firebase Storage Reliability
Using Firebase SDK to store and scale your data, you may be totally sure of its safety and reliability. The information can be sent directly from the client to Firebase Cloud, various privacy settings can be adjusted to limit access to defined groups or files. Being supported by Google Cloud, Firebase Storage can offer you almost endless storage space for keeping your data.
Firebase Cloud Messaging
Google Cloud Messaging is incorporated into Firebase and works perfectly for web and mobile solutions. C2DM (cloud to device messaging) from Firebase is toll-free.
Speaking about mailout targeting, there are 3 ways how it can be done:
- To specified devices;
- To some groups of devices;
- To devices which are joined by some attributes.
The Firebase service can let you send up to 4 KB to the application but yet save the battery charge.
After messages to various users have been sent, it’s very desirable to let recipients know they have some info to check. For this purpose, there is Firebase Notification Console. The principle is similar to the messaging process. Firebase handles notifications without any additional coding. Very handy and time-saving decision to reach your clients.
Firebase Remote Config
As it was mentioned at the beginning, Firebase is incredibly useful when you need to make an application faster. But this also means, in all likelihood, that a capability to upgrade the product without new release is very essential. Remote Config will be very helpful in such circumstances. With assistance of Firebase Console it’s easy to update your app’s design or its behaviour on the fly.
Simplified debugging with Firebase
Test Lab for Android
If you have an Android application, you get an additional bonus from Firebase. Test Lab is great for testing a newly developed app or check it after adding a new feature. Robo test is great for performing tests and emulating user’s behaviour, exploring your app’s UI. Moreover, Test Lab cooperates with various services, like gCloud command line, Android Studio and has extended facilities for testing your product on devices located in Firebase data centers.
After testing your app, you can continue with one more tool to finish the testing process – Crash Reporting. With this instrument, all found errors are joined into groups, rated by severity and can be tracked by logs.
Extending the capabilities with Firebase for built apps
If your application is being successfully used by your clients, there are still many spheres where Firebase can be helpful.
How to bring customers from the web right to your mobile app to download it? Dynamic Links can assist with that. Comparing to deep links, this service not only directs users to the app, but navigates to the desired feature after its installation or shows some additional info about the advantages of your product.
Dynamic Links provide the most important info without extra searching steps.
Your users can share some info from your app or promote it via invites. This function also works on the basis of Dynamic Links, so if one user shared some info or promo code, or anything else, the invite will lead exactly where it was supposed to (web, App Store or Google Play, etc).
Exhaustive information and further growth of your product
But how to find out the statistics of your app’s downloads and where people found it, which banner was effective or how often a certain link was clicked?
All that and much more can be done by Firebase Analytics. You will be provided with almost unlimited reports on the following topics:
- Crashes and fixes;
- Efficiency of your advertising campaign;
- Customers’ behaviour.
The service is very precious because of its flexibility. You will not have to use different tools to analyze various attributes. Firebase Analytics gathers all the essential data by means of SDKs. All the information will be available for a survey on the Firebase Console. You will see a really wide range of info, starting from geography of downloads and demographic information up to the weak sides of your product.
FA is pretty similar to Google Analytics, just intended to improve your iOS or Android app and toll-free as its older friend as well. With this service, you will surely make your app shine.
AdMob + AdWords
After having analyzed the info about your product, you may want to continue promoting it. And for these needs there are AdMob and AdWords which are now integrated with Firebase. The next step is to make up your choice with the tools that you may want from a huge amount of Google advertisers, define the core users in the Console and enjoy watching the growth of customers.
If you have not only a website but an Android app too, you can associate them to make your users launch the mobile app more often. There is a possibility to connect them in such a way that you may bring the users to your app. Moreover, there is an instrument to define mistakes in your content indexing to make your products appear in search results more often.
All the services and advantages of Firebase, described above will pleasantly surprise with their reasonable prices:
- Android Test Lab, RTDB and Storage have very reasonable pricing grid;
- Analytics, Dynamic Links and crash Reporting are distributed without any limitations.
And again, Firebase is suitable for Android, iOS and web, which lets you create and manage products all together, using one multi functional service for all your needs you could ever imagine and get more tremendous results day by day.