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When to use (and not use) firebase?

allanjeremy profile image Allan N Jeremy ・1 min read

So, firebase is a pretty big deal. Wonder how many people know when to use it and when not to use it

Feel free to share your sentiments

Discussion

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Tried it in a side project, very cool. If you, like me, build a small app like a To-do list it is nice because you do not need a database server opened. Also used firebase Auth and this blew my mind how easy it is to bring those "connect with Google" feature.

I guess I would not rely on it for a project with a complex schema because I still have the feeling storing my key pairs is volatile (no foreign keys, no constraints, I prefer relational databases).

I do not know at this date if they dispose of a relational store, but if they could come close to Google Cloud SQL, I think they would engage more developers to use this great tool.

 

When I use a tool, it is usually to solve a problem.

Firebase (Auth and Firestore) are a nice way to deal with authentication so I am using it for that. I was using an open source solution (JEE and Postgresql based) before but scaling up was a pain (both in configuration and cost), I also had to monitor it.

I also use Firebase hosting for my static HTML app because it is convenient and I am planning to use a Google function to add a small dynamic functionality (monitoring outbound traffic).

My API is hosted in GCP App Engine so that I don't need to deal with maintenance or monitoring.

 

I wrote an article that discusses most of my gripes with firestore. I think the rest of the Firebase stack is great, but consider using something else for the database.

medium.com/@spencerpauly/why-i-swi...

 

I wouldn't use it for anything period. Here's why:

  • It's Google
  • It uses your Google account, that means your youtube, your email, your adsense, etc is all tied into one single account. What happens if you're banned from youtube for uploading something you're not supposed to and your business is affected because you use firebase? This isn't a hypothetical. I've been banned from youtube for uploading a dexter's laboratory episode, suddenly my youtube doesn't work, I can't watch videos above the age limit because you need to be signed in to view. Who knows what other limits my account has now. Will you bet your business on this? Hell no.
  • You are tied into Google forever unless you move out of firebase. At least with postgres, or mysql, you can take your business elsewhere. Vendor lock-in danger is clear here. (This same con affects dynamoDB imho)

I don't see enough positives to outweigh these extremely negative aspects of firebase.

 

Appreciate the honesty

Fair enough. Does your google account status affect how you access firebase though? Also, why not create a purely developer google account? Only used with developer services that is

Also, what about real-time databases? Would you use something like rethinkdb instead? What are your thoughts on this?