Cloud FireStore: The Ultimate Guide

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Cloud FireStore: The Ultimate Guide


mobile app devolopment

Source: Firebase


A fully managed NoSQL document database defines Cloud FireStore at a cursory glance. Launched by Google in the year 2017, FireStore’s primary focus is to offer database facilities where the Web App and Mobile App data remains immutable despite any scale of the disaster.

Cloud providers are lesioning the services to you and bill, you as per the usages just like you pay the postpaid mobile bills. You may not even know, but you are already a part of Cloud

Developers are delighted!

As of late, developers juggled between multiple databases to build data-intensive mobile and Web Apps. Although Firebase Realtime Database has been doing a pat worthy job at providing NoSQL database for the same cause, With Cloud Firestore, Google is taking it a step ahead.

Good news for developers if Google has no plans to decommission Firebase Realtime Database. Both Cloud Firestore and Firebase Realtime Database will continue to co-exist as Google is focused on expanding the capabilities of each.


How is Cloud Firestore advanced as compared to Firebase Realtime Database?

Before we unravel more about Firestone let us shuffle through the advantages of it over Firebase:


● No performance barrier

Offering a platform for execution of expressive and scalable queries, the entire querying structure has been revamped. It automatically scales up the performance of query independent of the size of the output. While Firebase offers exceptional performance but it is not scalable.

● Quick execution of queries

The process of creation of queries in Firebase Realtime Database is spread across multiple fields. Firestore takes good care of this issue that causes unnecessary downloading of data. As the queries execute in a shallow manner, the time of fetching is significantly reduced.

● Real-time data synchronization

The real-time data is efficiently synchronized with Cloud Firestore along with data replication of multiple regions automatically. This feature renders the capability of offline data access from regions of SKDs like iOS, Android, and Web supporting the usability aspects of server less Apps.

● Auto-scaling

Scaling of Firestore does not limit at performance and expands to data storing, synchronization, and data querying for mobile, web and server development.


Practical implications of the potential of Cloud FireStore:

Flexibility and scalability aspects of the database to make it possible for developers to build apps and servers that keep the data in sync in real time. This also renders the capability of running Apps to full potential despite network latency.

Let us tread a little deeper into the deeper capabilities:

● Flexibility

Data is stored in documents in case of Cloud Firestore data model which renders flexibility as the data structure is hierarchal. The organized way of storing the data as nested objects simplify the operations.

● Expressive querying

Cloud Firestore offers querying structure that encourages retrieval of specific documents rather than unnecessary downloading. The structure includes filtering and sorting that allows better query performance which is directly proportional to the size of your result set.

● Real-time updates

With the execution of one-time fetch queries, it enhances the efficiency of real-time data synchronization of all the connected devices.


● Offline Operations

Cloud Firestore caches active data of the App. Using queries the data can be read, written and listened to even when the internet is not up and running. As soon as the internet is available, the Firestore immediately synchronizes the data updates.

● Designed to scale

Replication of data from multiple regions and provides support and scalability to become the most robust database that can handle exceptional amounts of workload.

How to implement Cloud Firestore?

Before we begin implementing Cloud Firestore, it becomes important to know how it operates and executes with the rich feature list it has. Being a cloud-hosted NoSQL database, FireStore just requires native SDKs for the Mobile Apps to access it.
What you can do with Firestore is quite evident.
Take a look at the granular operations:
✓ Data is stored in documents and the fields map to the real-time values.
✓ Collections are the places where the documents are placed, organized and queries are built.
✓ Documents can hold data like strings, numbers, nested objects and more.
✓ Hierarchical data subcollection can be created for enhancing the query performance.
✓ Real-time listeners update the database in the structure your set up

Implementation path of Firestore

Scaling of Firestore does not limit at performance and expands to data storing, synchronization, and data querying for mobile, web and server development.

Step #1

Secure the data

Before the database is set up some groundwork needs to be done. This first step is to set up security rules and set up the Identity and access management (IAM). While security rules secure App data, IAM secures server data.

Step # 2

Data addition

Start filling the database by creating documents and collections where the data can be organized and queries can be built.

Step # 3

Fetch Data

Set up predefined queries to define data fetching. The real-time listeners also need to be set up for data retrieval for real-time synchronization.
Getting started with Cloud Firestore is an easy 3 step process.Google laid a strong focus on making sure the implementation of Cloud FireStore is intuitive enough. Its SDKs can be integrated quickly with clients via the below implementation protocol:

What started with the inception of Firebase in the year 2014 by Google has turned into a full-blown revolution with Cloud Firestore. An improvement on top of Firebase, the Firestore is an intuitive data structure.

Developers enjoyed the advantage kitty of Firebase for 4 years and now it is time to explore the new baby Firestore that is an extension of Firebase capabilities. Firebase had taken developers skills to the next level as they could easily migrate the data and it did not even need the DevOps or sysadmin knowledge to make the Firebase database work for the Apps.
It was the tool that had it all to meet the needs of a robust backend. Although the capabilities were not scalable so the performance of the App would mar if there was a lot of data to handle. Its schemaless structure had put a cap on the data validation capabilities. Google promised to revamp its capabilities and feature list but the developer community was turning impatient.

It carried on for four long years as its difficulty level was lower than most of the existing database structures and what more it can for free in initial phases. Such a powerful database for zero cost was a cherry on top of the cake. Real-time synchronization, JSON data structure, rich code libraries and expedited development cycles- what was really missing?

Comparing Firebase Realtime database and Firestore – When should you use each?


Right in the beginning, we drew a small comparison of the two. But what is ideal for your App from a practical perspective needs deeper insight than we provided there. The section that follows offers you a clear picture of parameters that allow you to make the right decision between the two.

Who wins?

● Query Execution

There is a stark difference in the execution of the Firebase Realtime database and Cloud Firestore database. While the former executes deep queries with a few filters and sort capabilities leading to the procurement of documents that are not required. It is a default feature of Firebase and cannot be scaled.
On the other hand, Cloud Firestore indexes run shallow queries. But the sorting and filtering are way too powerful leading to the procurement of an exact set of documents. A single query of Cloud Firestore is more powerful than multiple queries Firebase. With the kind of sorting and filtering each query has, the query executes inside the document rather than the collection which leads to higher performance of data fetching in less time. As the queries are indexed, its performance becomes directly proportional to the result set size.

● Data organization

Firebase Realtime database stores the simple data efficiently but as the data becomes complex, it loses all its organizational stability and capability. The limit on its data organizational capabilities makes it an ill fit for data-intensive Apps.
Google has this in mind always that is why Cloud Firestore is primarily developed for data-intensive Apps which have a complex and hierarchical database. While simple data continues to be stored on JASON, the complex data storage is handled efficiently by implementing sub-collection within documents that add to the performance of queries too. Such structure of storing data reduces the denormalization requirements as are required in Firebase Realtime database.

● Real-time and offline capabilities

Firebase Realtime database provides the last active data access to the SDKs even when in case of network latency. But this support is limited to iOS and Android. Cloud Firestore takes it a step and extends its support to Web apps along with iOS and Android.

● Atomic write

In Firebase Realtime database, the write and transaction operations are basic in nature. While write data works at the individual operational level, the transactions always require completion callback. Write become efficient with Cloud Firestore as it supports Atomic write and transaction operations. The operations are grouped together in a batch and then they undergo automatic execution. For the transactions, they repeat automatically repeat till the point each transaction is marked complete.

● Performance

In the absence of scalability, Firebase real-time database performance is not comparable to Cloud Firestore. As a fully mature database, it renders very stable operations to client Apps. If you’re App has a property of changing the state very frequently, Firebase is for you.
Scalability and reliability of Cloud Firestore database stand unparalleled fueling the performance of the App. As it has the capability to store data from multiple regions, it is a clear winner from performance and reliability perspective.

● Auto-Scalability

To achieve scalability, Firebase Realtime database shards the data into multiple instances to speed up the data fetching cycles. The data is shared across multiple databases and due to inefficient storage even that does not lead to sufficient scaling. Cloud Firestore takes care of scalability automatically as it has been inherently been made capable of scaling up the performance and flexibility.

● Security Aspects

With not too much of data validation capabilities, a database built on Firebase Realtime database will only have rules as the security layer. It adds to the task list of developers as they have to create validation rules to promise higher security. Cloud Firestore renders security of a higher state to the App that spans mobile Apps, Web Apps, and even server. By offering automatic data validation it does not leave any scope for data leak in case a query fails.

● Pricing

The Firebase Realtime database charges higher rates for the usage of bandwidth and storage. While Cloud Firestore mainly charges the App developer for the operations like read, write delete. Charges include the overheads for metadata and indexes also. The bandwidth and storage are also charged but at a much lower rate as compared to Firebase Realtime database.
Was it way too heavy? Well, you may not remember all the differences while you build your next Apps but a short recap can prove to be handy:
Use Firebase Realtime Database only when
✓ Data involved is simple. If you App is data intensive and that data is complex or hierarchical, Firebase is not the ideal choice.
✓ Check the scalability you may need today and in future, if it surpasses 100,000 concurrent connections, switch to Cloud Firestore.
✓ If your App consumes a lot of bandwidth and storage Firebase will rip you off.
Use Cloud Firestore database when
✓ Data storage needs are complex or hierarchical. It can handle the complexities at sub collection level
✓ Data scaling that surpasses 100,000 concurrent connections cannot run on Firebase without degrading the performance of the App
✓ Offer nominal rate for bandwidth and storage. Charges are primarily for the operations.

To Wrap

In conclusion, weighing the feature list and implementation ease, Cloud Firebase is a winner hand down. Armed with chain filter, filter combining, data fetching in descending and a lot more makes Cloud Firestore and ideal database solution for Apps that need real-time sync, offline capabilities, and scalability. Although the Firebase Realtime database will not be decommissioned by Google, both database will continue to serve the Apps that have specific needs.

Although Cloud FireStore wins from all perspectives to meet the requirements of the aggressive Apps that use a lot of data and data transactions to offer users higher level of interactivity, Firebase is also set to be revamped and soon we will witness a better version while Cloud FireStore will keep evolving.


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