How does Firestore differ from Firebase?

Priyank Trivedi, in Priyank TrivediDatabase

Your guide to choosing the right database for your project.You might have heard of Firebase, Google’s mobile and web application development platform that helps to develop high-quality Apps. For those among us who haven’t heard of Firestore, it is Firebase’s new flagship database. Firestore is a more intuitive model of Firebase with richer features, faster queries, and better scalability.

With both databases being cloud-based and client accessible, there is an unprecedented debate about which database is better for developing a mobile application.

What is the difference between a Firebase and a Firestore?

Asking the difference between Real-time Firebase and Cloud Firestore is similar to asking the difference between a frog and a toad. Both toad and frog belong to the same animal group Anura but have some key differences. Similarly, both Firebase and Cloud Firebase belong to Google but have some key differences that cannot be neglected.

A cloud Firestore supports enhanced functionality, scalability and performance and supports more powerful features. Cloud Firestore can be used if you are more comfortable with a product in Beta.

First of all both Firestore and Firebase are cloud-hosted NoSQL database. While simple data is easy to store in both databases, complex hierarchical data is harder to organize in Firebase. To make the organization of complex, hierarchical data easy, it needs to be worked in Firestore. Also, cloud Firestore offers less denormalization and data flattening.

The Realtime firebase gives you the advantage of offline support on iOS and Android only whereas the Cloud Firestore provides offline support for iOS Android and Web clients. Also you can either sort or filter and not sort and filter both in a single query when it comes to queries in Realtime Firebase. With cloud Firestore however, you can both filter and sort in a single query. The queries in Firebase are deep by default whereas queries in Firestore are indexed by default.

Firebase supports basic write and transaction operations whereas Firestore supports Atomic write and transaction operations. The major factor involved in choosing any database for your project is its reliability and performance. While you can expect excellent scalability in Firebase, Firestore disappoints you. The scalability in a beta product in Firestore is not always the same as that of a fully launched product. However, the databases are limited to zonal availability in Firebase. Data housed in cloud Firestore ensures global availability and strong reliability.

Which database to choose for your next project?

Both Realtime Firebase and Cloud Firestore are scalable but scaling in Firebase requires sharding your data across multiple databases whereas that in Firestore scales automatically. It does not require sharding across multiple databases.

The next major thing people focus upon is security. Firestore is simpler and provides more powerful security for mobile, web and server SDKs.

The cloud Firestore is still in its beta. Both databases can store the same types of data, however, these differences must be kept in mind if you decide to use one or both for your next project.

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