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5 Tips for Using a Firebase Database for Real-Time Data Applications

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Whether you're working with your first Firebase database or you're trying to boost your skills, try these great tips from our experts.

Whether you’re working with your first Firebase database or you’re trying to boost your skills, try these great tips from our experts.

If you’re considering making an application, you need to calculate the time and money it costs to focus on development. Much of this would be counted as “lost revenue,” so you need to choose smart solutions for developing your applications. A Firebase database is a great solution for developers and anyone looking to make an application that relies on high data transfer rates.

Here is what you need to know about developing your Firebase application using their native database.

What Firebase is Used For

If you’re a Firebase developer, you’ve probably been waiting for the perfect data solution for a while. Firebase can bring developers a stand-alone storage solution that doesn’t require juggling several different tools at once. When you’re working across several different tools and solutions, you need to constantly check a translation layer for any errors.

When you’re allowing user-generated content to be uploaded to your site or your application, you’re dealing with a lot of complicated data management. Handling all of those connections and transfers into and out of your database can cause data leaks, errors, and server problems. Having a storage solution that’s designed for your development makes everything easier.

Content from iOS or Android devices can be handled with ease, with no major drop-offs or lost files. Even bigger files, like images and video, sent over the web can be handled with ease. Since there’s no server required, you can put everything in Firebase’s hands and rest assured that every element will be resilient.

Why It’s Great For Developers

One of the most common concerns for developers always centers around the scale. As connectivity increases, a wider diversity of devices are used to connect to your database, requiring you to handle lots of data that will add up quickly. Thankfully Firebase is backed up by Google Cloud Storage and will be able to handle petabytes of data.

Thankfully there are also plenty of security options available for users of a Firebase storage database. With adding so many files, you might think it would be a free for all, where anyone with access can manipulate or change any file. Thankfully you can secure your files to only be managed by a specific set of users with their native Storage Security Rules.

When you’re hammering a network with persistent uploads and downloads, it’s hard to get a network to stay resilient. Poor connections can hit at any time, especially when you’re testing the limits of a network. Rather than having to keep track and retry them manually, Firebase’s database technology will retry them when necessary to keep you on task.

Now follow these five tips to ensure you make the most out of your firebase setup.

1. Create References That Point To Files

One of the best things that Firebase can do for you is to allow you to create references to point to files.

Storing data is a headache with most tools out on the market. When you’re dealing with the average database, you could have a complicated folder and file system that you need to remember or keep pointing back to. Rather than having this long lineage in mind, use their simple system for structuring data.

By creating a simple parent-child folder relationship, you’ll have control over files that are either foundational or were added years later. Just using simple references gives you control over any file in your storage bucket. With a simple storage reference, you can download that file or replace it easily.

2. Just One Method For Uploading

Once you’ve got your references in place, don’t make it unnecessarily complicated for yourself. You can upload your files with just one simple method.

After you’ve put that code in, you can use that upload method over and over. The binary file will come from your “file upload button” with dependable regularity. It’s even possible to upload a file from memory or locally using iOS.

Even Android users can get in on the fun using a stream to upload their files.

3. Use Tasks To Monitor Progress

If you need to create a progress bar for your application, that’s easy with Firebase storage solutions. When you’re uploading a file, the system will automatically create an object called UploadTask or DownloadTasks. That object can then be added to a function to show progress.

Your automatic progress listeners will give a notification of the upload and how it’s doing. These snapshots will provide information, including the total size versus how many bytes have been uploaded.

Using this data, you can easily calculate a percentage and send it to a UI control unit on your interface.

4. Download Files Easily

While there are two ways to download files with Firebase, you should stick to one method. Whether you choose to use references in your SDK or generate a download URL, keep things consistent. iOS and Android devices can download files onto their disks.

They can use your download URLs too.

However, if you are using a web-based interface, SDK can get their files from a download URL on its own.

5. Use User-Based Security

Storage Security Rules, as mentioned above, allow you to provide restraints specified to each user. Don’t overlook the importance of this setup.

By integrating Firebase’s authentication methods, you can set up the conditions for when users are allowed to upload their profile photos. You can also set up standards for limiting when anyone is allowed to even view it.

A Firebase Database is a Smart Solution

If you’re already using Firebase for development or considering a switch, you’d be advised to consider a Firebase database as a choice for storing data. Not only do you get a whole lot of features, but also its scalability makes for a future-proof solution like a few others.

If you need assistance with setting up your system for Firebase, contact us.


Data Team

As a team of data scientists and other professionals, we analyze and interpret data to help our clients understand how trends affect their businesses and daily operations.

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