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Firebase and Supabase are both popular backend development platforms that come with several features to aid developers in creating and managing web and mobile applications. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into both platforms and examine their features, strengths, and weaknesses. Let’s get started.

firebase-vs-supabase

1. Introduction

When it comes to building web applications, choosing a reliable backend platform can make a significant difference in terms of development speed, scalability, and ease of use. Firebase and Supabase both are robust backend platforms that provide a wide range of services.

2. What is Firebase?

Firebase is a comprehensive app development platform provided by Google. It comes with a suite of cloud-based tools and services that allow developers to build, improve, and grow their web and mobile applications.

// Firebase initialization in JavaScript
var firebaseConfig = {
  apiKey: "<API_KEY>",
  authDomain: "<AUTH_DOMAIN>",
  databaseURL: "<DATABASE_URL>",
  projectId: "<PROJECT_ID>",
  storageBucket: "<STORAGE_BUCKET>",
  messagingSenderId: "<MESSAGING_SENDER_ID>",
  appId: "<APP_ID>"
};

// Initialize Firebase
firebase.initializeApp(firebaseConfig);

3. What is Supabase?

Supabase is a relatively new platform that promotes itself as the open-source alternative to Firebase. It provides similar functionalities but leans more towards PostgreSQL, thus appealing more to developers who prefer working with SQL databases.

// Supabase initialization in JavaScript
const { createClient } = require('@supabase/supabase-js');

const SUPABASE_URL = '<SUPABASE_URL>';
const SUPABASE_ANON_KEY = '<SUPABASE_ANON_KEY>';

const supabase = createClient(SUPABASE_URL, SUPABASE_ANON_KEY);

4. Feature Comparison

Both Firebase and Supabase provide an array of features. However, their key strengths lie in different areas. Here’s a comparative look:

4.1. Real-Time Database

Firebase:

Firebase Realtime Database is a NoSQL cloud database where data is stored as JSON and synchronized in real-time to every connected client.

// Write to your database
firebase.database().ref('users/' + userId).set({
  username: name,
  email: email,
  profile_picture : imageUrl
});

Supabase:

Supabase offers real-time subscriptions to listen to changes in your database. With PostgreSQLā€™s built-in LISTEN and NOTIFY commands, you can create self-updating applications.

// Subscribe to changes
const { data, error } = await supabase
  .from('users')
  .on('*', payload => console.log('Change detected!', payload))
  .subscribe()
4.2. Authentication

Firebase:

Firebase Authentication provides backend services for easy use of Google’s reliable and scalable authentication.

// Sign up new users
firebase.auth().createUserWithEmailAndPassword(email, password)
  .then((userCredential) => {
    // User signed up
    var user = userCredential.user;
    // ...
  })
  .catch((error) => {
    // Handle errors here.
  });

Supabase:

Supabase Auth allows you to manage users and permissions on your app. It supports various sign-in methods and handles email verification, two-factor authentication.

// Sign up new users
const { user, session, error } = await supabase.auth.signUp({
  email: emailInput,
  password: passwordInput,
});
4.3. Storage

Firebase:

Firebase provides Cloud Storage, which lets you store and share user-generated content like photos and videos.

// Create a reference
var storageRef = firebase.storage().ref();

// Upload a file
var uploadTask = storageRef.child('images/stars.jpg').put(file);

Supabase:

Supabase Storage allows you to manage user-generated content. It offers fine-grained access controls and is backed by S3.

// Create a 'public' bucket
const { data, error } = await supabase.storage.createBucket('avatars', {
  public: true,
})

// Upload a file
const filePath = `${userId}/avatar.jpg`
const { data, error } = await supabase.storage
  .from('avatars')
  .upload(filePath, file, { cacheControl: '3600' })

5. Pricing Comparison

Firebase and Supabase both have free tiers and paid plans. Firebase uses a pay-as-you-go model beyond its free tier, while Supabase offers straightforward monthly pricing based on usage.

It’s essential to evaluate your project’s needs and budget constraints before settling on a platform. You should also consider long-term cost implications, especially if you plan on scaling up your application.

6. Firebase and Supabase in Action

The best way to choose between Firebase and Supabase is by building a simple application on both platforms. You can create a basic CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) application to get a sense of the platform’s capabilities.

Refer to the official documentation for a step-by-step guide:

7. Summary

Both Firebase and Supabase provide robust backend services for your applications, and your choice largely depends on your project’s specific needs. Firebase offers a more mature, feature-rich environment with seamless integration with other Google services. In contrast, Supabase provides a more SQL-oriented open-source platform that aligns better with traditional relational databases.

It’s always recommended to do a proof of concept with both platforms to understand which one suits your needs the best. Happy coding!

Categories: Mobile Tools

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