Mobile App Development

The Benefits of Firebase Alternative Supabase for Your Backend Infrastructure

21st Mar 2024
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Backend-as-a-service or BaaS refers to the software service that enables mobile and web app developers to streamline the backend part so that the developers can focus on what goes on the front end. Think of it like a movie. A director is supposed to manage the lighting, camera, costumes, dialogues, and other backend processes, along with directing each scene.

If the backend was outsourced to someone, the director could focus better on action, which is what the user sees. That’s exactly what BaaS does. It’s the ready-to-use backend development solution that manages the entire backend infrastructure of your app development. In other words, it handles all the server-side development parts and the complexities associated with the development process.

Two of the popular BaaS solutions for mobile app development service providers are Firebase and Supabase. These are designed to help designers develop a mobile app faster, improve cost, and focus on developing features that enhance the end-user experience and add value to the app. They offer a range of features that help you achieve a scalable, customizable, and cross-platform-compatible app. In this post, we’ve compared the two solutions. Read till the end to know which backend-as-a-service platform is a good choice and why you should pick one over the other.

Firebase by Google

Firebase is the first name that comes to our mind when we think of the BaaS platforms. It’s a cloud-based service equipped with a vast range of features that make the development process a breeze. Its excellent compatibility with other Google Cloud services and strong community support make it an ideal choice for developers who want to automate most of the backend process.

Pros

  • Authentication: The biggest advantage of Firebase is its authentication implementation. With the growing risk of security breaches, it’s become important to implement a strong multi-factor authentication system to secure your app or other digital services. Firebase helps streamline the authentication process. It allows seamless user registration, identity management, password implementation, password reset, phone verification, and email verification options. It also supports social integration, i.e., the ability to log into your mobile app through social media platforms.
  • Real-time Database Management: Firebase’s real-time data synchronization between the user’s device and Firebase helps make database storage and management easier. It uses WebSockets to ensure a seamless connection between your device and the Firebase server.
  • Scalable: Startups might have limited requirements from the app development services, but as their venture grows, they need more resources to extend their solution. Firebase offers scalability, allowing users to handle larger projects efficiently and grow their apps with its extensive set of features.

Cons

While Firebase is a scalable and reputable backend solution, it doesn’t offer the best developer experience. Limited options to customize the system and expensive subscription plans are a few drawbacks of Firebase. Here are some other downsides to this framework.

  • Security Issues: Firebase offers security tools to mitigate the risk of cyber threats, but these can be inefficient if your company’s security policy is not robust enough to prevent unauthorized access to your system.
  • Limited Querying: Firebase doesn’t use SQL database, which is considered the most powerful database management system. While it can handle simple queries, you will need to switch to another BaaS platform or integrate the system with a third-party backend solution for complex queries.
  • A Lock-in Service: Once you have chosen Firebase, it’s difficult to migrate to another backend solution. This Google-owned BaaS platform has a vendor lock-in system in place that prevents Firebase users from switching to a different BaaS solution.

Supabase—A Perfect Alternative to Firebase

If you are looking for an open-source, SQL-powered backend-as-service solution, Supabase is your best bet. The platform offers all the capabilities and functionalities of the Firebase, except that it’s an open-source platform. It has made its code publicly available, making it easier for developers to integrate the system into their unique infrastructure.

  • Postgres Database: Supabase is built on Postgres SQL, which is far more reliable and safer than Firebase’s NoSQL database. This storage solution supports simple to complex queries, making database management a breeze for the developer.
  • Authentication: Supabase supports authentication implementation, including login, user registration, social media integration, access control, and other powerful authentication tools.
  • Storage: With Supabase, developers get access to excellent cloud storage that offers unlimited space to store your database efficiently.
  • Real-time Updates: Supabase supports real-time updates, just like Firebase does. It supports real-time capabilities through WebSockets, which enable developers to build an error-free and interactive mobile application.

What’s the Difference Between Supabase and Firebase?

Both Firebase and Supabase serve as popular backend-as-a-service solutions and offer the same range of features but with different approaches. As mentioned earlier, Supabase is an open-source platform, the code of which is available to the public. People can modify the code and add it to their infrastructure. Firebase, on the other hand, is a Google-owned solution that has a vendor lock-in protocol. You will be locked in for a fixed-term contract with Google and will most likely face difficulty getting out of the contract before it terminates. With Supabase, you can switch the BaaS providers any time you like.

Firebase is built on NoSQL database storage, which doesn’t support complex queries. Supabase is a more reliable option, as it’s powered by a Postgres SQL database. Pricing is another crucial factor you will consider when choosing a BaaS solution. Fortunately, both providers offer a free version of the software, enabling developers to use its features without spending anything on the service. However, they both come with a paid plan. Supabase charges you for the storage, while Firebase has implemented a paid subscription for its requests.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a mobile app development company in India, pay attention to the BaaS solution they choose for the app development. The better the BaaS platform, the more efficient their services will be. Although Firebase and Supabase are both reliable options for backend operations, Supabase is a cheaper, safer, and more powerful alternative to Firebase.

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