Cloud technologies become more and more popular as robust and universal solutions for many digital needs of modern companies. Their benefits are truly exquisite – lower maintenance costs, impressive scalability and a multitude of possibilities are always appreciated in the IT industry.
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There are many databases to choose from. Amazon DynamoDB and Redis are two famous players on the market. Google has two products to offer in that area – Realtime and Cloud Firestore. Why? Because the latter is an improved option with lots of functionalities, high-performance rates and flexible scalability.
We will compare two Google databases in this article. You can also expect a couple of reasons why Cloud Firestore is beneficial for its users. Let’s jump right in and talk about specifics.
What is Cloud Firestore?
Developing a mobile and web application these days usually requires cloud data storage. That’s because users want to share their files with other people or synchronize their work on multiple devices. Having your own infrastructure for doing just that can be time-consuming, pricey and problematic in general. You need to take care of security, technical malfunctions and future expansion if your business skyrockets at some point.
So when we are building an app, we want to use solutions that are safe, simple to use, easy to implement and robust when used. And that’s precisely what Google Cloud Firestore brings to the table. This NoSQL cloud database for server-side and client-side development offers libraries for Android, iOS and web apps, full offline support for software to work without internet connection and excellent security measures.
The users of Cloud Firestore can structure their data the way they prefer and easily browse it via a user-friendly tool. Almost real-time updates allow automatic synchronizations. Basically, Cloud Firestore is a mix of all functionalities sought by people who require databases in their app projects. It also integrates with Firebase and Google Cloud products to create a complete solution, whatever your needs can be.
Cloud Firestore key features
Before you get started with Cloud Firestore, you should know what functionalities it can offer. Why is this database solution one of the preferred? Let’s find out.
Flexible data storage
Data organization in Cloud Firestore is a piece of cake – you create documents that are batched into collections and subcollections. Each document can have different objects inside of it. This hierarchy allows us to manage data in a flexible and scalable way.
Cloud Firestore can scale in every possible way, so you don’t have to worry if suddenly your business rapidly grows. No matter if you operate in one country or globally, you can count on multi-regional automatic scalability and still maintain consistency in your data.
To retrieve data from your database, you need queries. In Cloud Firestore, you can do them for single documents or all collections, depending on your requirements at the moment. In the queries, you can sort and categorize the results you want to achieve.
Offline application access
You can use every web and mobile application, even if you are offline, thanks to caching.
Updates in real-time
Your database is constantly updated and you can access it on all devices.
Should I use Firebase or Firestore?
There might be a bit of confusion in this department, so let us explain what is what. Firebase is a Google service that offers two cloud options to choose from: Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore. They both have similarities but also a couple of distinctions. These are two fantastic products by Google, but they can apply to different types of business needs and goals. Let’s compare them to see exactly what they are and when you should pick one or another.
What is the difference between Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore?
Realtime was the first product of that kind in Google’s portfolio. It is still relevant and used in many products as it offers efficient service. It is usually recommended for enterprises that need simple database services – basic synchronization, small storage space and non-complex organization. Firebase Realtime Database will also be great for companies that don’t need more than a single database and don’t necessarily need offline support.
Cloud Firestore, on the other hand, is suitable for brands that need terabytes of storage, complex databases and documents organization that allows advanced structures. It is a successor of Realtime that provides a new, intuitive data model for its users. Its scalability is also much more sophisticated. As for offline support, Cloud Firestore offers it for iOS, Android and web apps – unlike its previous competitor, who only did that for mobile products.
What’s interesting is that you can use both Firebase databases in one project. They have similarities, but you should keep in mind the differences when implementing them into one app. If you are outsourcing your software development needs, your team should know what to do to achieve the best results.
Realtime vs Cloud Firestore database comparison
Here are the main differences you should remember about when choosing a database by Cloud Firestore or Realtime.
Why to choose Google Cloud Firestore as your database?
Here are the main benefits and advantages of using Google Cloud Firestore in your next web or mobile app project.
It’s Firebase and Google Cloud platform combined
Having Google Cloud functions and Firebase features in one place is quite convenient and it helps to bring the best out of both. As mentioned above, this product derives from Firebase Realtime’s legacy. It takes the best out of it to join with the Google Cloud platform, which is flexible, scalable and offers many app development services.
It’s a serverless solution for app development
Using a cloud platform for developing applications is always a great idea. It provides an excellent experience for the programmers, quickens and simplifies app coding and brings easy access to data without a need for owning one’s own server.
Setting up a production environment for the app and prototyping become time-saving tasks when you use the Google Cloud platform. It synchronizes in real-time to make the data always available and updated.
It offers efficient pricing
Google Cloud Firestore offers an interesting pricing model based on three elements: network bandwidth, storage space and the number of operations. And these operations include reads, writes and deletes. It might seem like a lot be charged for, but still having a database powered by Google Cloud Firestore is quite cheap. Every user can also control their current usage in a special tab that provides a graphic representation of all the cases when someone read, wrote or deleted something.
It provides security measures
Cloud Firestore security system is based on rules taken directly from Firebase – it is not available in Google Cloud itself. These rules put limitations on the server for all read and write operations so the clients can’t break them whatsoever. You can even write your own security rules that will allow access only to certain people that fulfill the required conditions.
There are two methods of authentication that are used depending on libraries. Rules apply to Android, iOS and web client libraries and they use Firebase Authentication to authenticate, authorize and validate the data. As for server libraries, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is used to handle database access.
All this is caused by the fact that giving API keys to the clients doesn’t make any sense for serverless cloud solutions. This way, they could access and copy any data they would desire.
It supports offline operations
Offline support in Google’s Cloud Firestore database is available for mobile and web products. What does it mean exactly? When there’s an internet connection with the right speed, everything updates in almost real-time. But if the connection is low or the user is entirely offline, access to all information is still available. Everything can be read, edited and added to the database and it will be synchronized when the connection is restored. Offline support is a comfortable solution for people who have to work with data in changing conditions.
It is destined to be scalable
With Google Cloud Platform, Firestore elicits a possibility of automatically scale even the most complex data collections in multiple regions. Its availability around the globe allows companies to redistribute their document database in many locations and rely on it always to be available there. Because of the structure that Google established for Firestore, scalability is applicable even for massive amounts of data.
It handles data perfectly
Cloud Firestore stores data in such an organized and consistent way that using it is precise and intuitive. It is “atomic” in its nature, which means every part is the element of a more significant element and they all create a construction that is one big organism. All operations can be batched and completed in a repeatable, automatic way. Data can be filtered and sorted to present the best results.
Cloud Firestore – conclusion
Having Cloud Firestore as your database for web and mobile app development is not a bad idea. It offers many benefits, advanced functionalities and robust performance. This Google Cloud platform and Firebase hybrid bring all the advantages of both to life and thanks to that, it can offer not only complex database solutions but also additional services.
This product is terrific for both software developers and their clients – companies that need applications for their businesses. The programmers can quickly build impressive products that meet all the requirements of the projects they receive. The enterprise gains a database that is easy to access and manage. Cloud Firestore is really worth trying.
And if you need an application and want to collaborate with a company that knows how to implement the Cloud Firestore database or any other solution you need – contact us. We can help you achieve your goals in the best way possible.