Since Firebase was launched as the all-powerful and fully loaded language for Android app developed, it generated more than 2 million active monthly users. Naturally, it made Google all the more interested to work on the platform and equip it further with more features. So, finally, the new Firebase update is here with a gamut of useful features and value additions. If you have already used Firebase for mobile app development, this post is for you.
As the Android development landscape stands today, you can hardly find developers who haven’t been introduced to Firebase or hasn’t used Firebase for key web features like implementing Google Analytics to get insights on app usage, targeted messaging to improve user engagement, retention rate, and loyalty, tracking app crashes and performance through Crashlytics and carrying out A/B testing remotely. Firebase has been so useful a platform that almost all Android developers without exception used it for their projects.
With so much of promise, Firebase stays on the top of the priorities for Google and so it continued to work on the platform to deliver more values over and above the earlier version. The new Firebase version launched by Google offers all the sought-after features and value additions that for some time occupied the attention of the mobile app development services.
Let us explain the key new features and value additions offered by Google Firebase.
New Firebase Extensions
Developers need to write a lot of boilerplate code for creating new functions if they don’t have ready to use extensions. Obviously, this involved a lot of coding time and chances of committing errors that further slows down the development pace. This is precisely why Google launched the new Firebase Extensions feature.
Any project using the serverless products of Google Cloud, can access Firebase Extensions that are basically pre-packaged bundle of code to take care of different development tasks such as translating the strings, changing the size of the thumbnails, creating email lists, using short URLs, etc. in the beginning only as many as 9 extensions will be made available for the developers.
According to Google, extensions play a crucial role in solving many pertinent and frequent development problems and they actually help in reducing the development time by making prebuilt solutions available. The new extensions launched by Google with the Firebase can easily work with other Firebase products as well as Google platforms. You can choose your required extensions from the Extensions Directory page or Firebase Extensions GitHub repository.
Firebase App Distribution
It is the established practice among the developers to distribute an app among trusted users first for the sake of evaluation and testing. Before launching your app on the Google Play Store you need to distribute the app among a handful of testers or peers for evaluation. Both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store allow you to launch and distribute the app privately among selected users. Instead of targeting each platform separately, you now have access to Firebase App Distribution. This new feature will allow you to launch and distribute the app privately on both the Play Store and App Store.
Thanks to Firebase App Distribution you don’t need need to launch the app separately. You can distribute the pre-release versions of the app for both Android and iOS platforms. Moreover, the new distribution platform allows managing several testing groups, sending invitation links, uploading apps for fresh distribution, etc. You can do all of these by using the same dashboard. The new distribution feature also comes with CLI support for Gradle, automation with Fastlane, and for deployment Firebase CLI.
Extended Firebase Analytics for Web Apps
Analytics has always been a key feature of Firebase platform. But it lacked features for website and web app evaluation. Firebase Analytics was only available for native apps and was not at par with Google Analytics which is more useful for the evaluation of web apps. But now, Firebase Analytics has been refurbished with features for web apps as well. So, just like Google Analytics, you can use this feature to track user engagement and different on-screen behavior to take measures for boosting retention and engagement. Now, web developers also can integrate Firebase Analytics with their web apps.
The extended and expanded capabilities of Firebase Analytics will help app developers getting a complete understanding of the user activities and in-app behavior. The tool also allows the developers to create a specific audience within the analytics for targeting them precisely by using remote Firebase Cloud Messaging or remote configuration.
Emulator Suite, Updated Predictions UI, Open-Sourced SDKs, and More
Apart from the above-mentioned features, there have been several other value additions with the new Firebase. Let us have a brief look at these features and value additions.
- The new Firebase Realtime database will have server-side SDKs, triggered functions, more extensive client support for client and hot reloading to reflect changes in real-time.
- Firebase Emulator Suite will now have a boost through new command for Continuous Integration (CI).
- Firebase Predictions UI will be another valuable feature to help app developers and marketers evaluate the entire spectrum of predicted behavior of users to help to target users more precisely.
- The Remote Config and Analytics loaded within the Web SDK will now work across all Firebase products.
- For Firebase developers the Identity and Access Management of Google Cloud Platform have been made available. This will give you more control over access to the app development project.
- By using Firebase Cloud Messaging the app admin can send image loaded notifications to the users now.
- The new Firebase will also have Test Sharding feature to boost testing speed in Firebase Test Lab. The feature by segregating tests into several parallels running subgroups will reduce the testing time.
The new Firebase with its value-added features showcases the effort of Google in creating a robust web developer ecosystem for all modern web and mobile app solutions including Progressive Web Apps (PWA). The new feature set also brought both Firebase and Google Cloud Platform closer to one another.