My First Experience with Google’s Firebase

Firebase

I am in my final semester of college and the seminar course I am taking requires small teams of students to create a web application based on a given set of business and software requirements. As a group of computer information systems majors the task seemed daunting to most, because most of us hadn’t built anything from scratch. I have some professional experience as a junior frontend developer, so I wasn’t as nervous at first. The professor wanted us to create a database week 1, so we did. He wanted HTML and CSS week 2, so I got it knocked out no problem. But the end of week 3 was quickly approaching and I had no fathomable idea what we were going to use for the backend of this application. I have some experience with ASP.net, but the school IIS server just wasn’t going to cut it. That’s when I remembered an API that a fellow frontend developer had done a lunch and learn on at work.

This API is called Firebase and it’s owned and developed by Google. Firebase is very cool. You simply initialize the API within your first JavaScript file and you have access to a noSQL database, authentication, real time chat, and a slough of other awesome backend functionality. Plus, since Google owns it, it makes it very easy to add advertisements into your web app to earn additional revenue. The Firebase console is very user friendly and easy to navigate. Once you link your app and your Firebase project, you can see your database, manage user accounts, and so much more. It really was a lifesaver when I needed to come up with a way to sort out authentication in a couple days and just have something work.

My app ended up scoring well and the authentication worked without a hitch. In fewer than 30 lines of code in a JavaScript file I had the solution I needed. If there was ever a point when I got stuck I simply had to go on YouTube (knowing that Google owns that too) and looked up a “firechat” or a Firebase video tutorial. If you know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and you are ever thinking about trying your hand at your own web application, give Firebase a shot. It’s free and it has a lot of functionality that just about anyone could benefit from.

For more information check out firebase.google.com and take a look at their console or their documentation.

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