AWS Amplify vs. Google Firebase: Advantages & Disadvantages

With the technological world evolving with every passing minute, most businesses are now adapting a cloud-based model.

AWS Amplify

Cloud-based services cater to developers’ needs so they can develop fast, efficient, serverless, and secure web and mobile applications.

AWS Amplify is one such application that has become hugely popular among developers.

AWS Amplify is an open-source JavaScript library provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The AWS Amplify Console was launched in November 2018. 

It is a set of purpose-built tools and services that makes it quick and easy for frontend web and mobile developers to build full-stack applications on AWS. It allows the developers to take advantage of the broadness of AWS services to further customize applications. 

AWS Amplify allows developers to build both mobile and web applications, and also create cross-platform mobile apps using frameworks like React Native. 

You can create native Android and iOS applications while using AWS Amplify for the backend.

Developers can use the AWS Amplify declarative API to integrate cloud-based services into their applications, and it aims to enable apps to scale via cloud services, and also accelerate them to production. 

Some examples of these services, which support automatic and manual setup options, are user authentication, content management, push notifications, and analytics. 

AWS Amplify is open and pluggable with other backend components and services, and it also includes extensions for JavaScript-based frontend platforms. 

It supports popular languages, frameworks, and platforms, such as AngularJS, React, Vue, and Next.js for web apps and Android iOS, React Native, Iconic, and Flutter for mobile apps.

Google Firebase

Firebase is a Google-backed application development software for creating mobile and web applications.

Originally founded as an independent company by James Tamplin and Andrew Lee in 2011, Firebase was acquired by Google in 2014, and has now become their flagship offering for web development. 

Over the time, Google has added significantly to the Firebase portfolio. Google has also extensively integrated Firebase with other services that they offer, such as Google Cloud Platform, AdMob, etc. 

It is a toolkit and infrastructure that intends to support the process of building better applications and helping businesses to flourish. 

With Firebase, developers are able to develop high-quality apps in no time. It gives you functionality like analytics databases messaging and crash reporting which allows you to move quickly and focus on your users. 

Firebase is built on Google infrastructure and scales automatically for even the largest apps.

In order to make the user experience much more convenient and productive, Google is constantly improving Firebase, and it has now become a key component of Google’s mobile strategy.

Firebase is continuously innovating, and is dominating the BaaS (Backend as a Service) market. 

The application SDKs provided by Firebase directly interact with backend services. This means that there isn’t a necessity to establish any connection between the app and the service. 

So, if developers operate one of the Firebase database options, they would typically need to write code to query the database in the app. 

This is what makes it different from traditional app development. In the traditional app development process, you would need to write both frontend and backend software.

The frontend code simply implements the API endpoints exposed by the backend, and the backend code is what actually does the work.

But with Firebase products, the traditional backend development is omitted, and puts the work into the client.

Similarities between AWS Amplify and Google Firebase

Both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform have come a long way to simplify the developers’ work and provide ready-to-use solutions as a part of their PaaS (Platform as a Service). 

AWS Amplify and Google Firebase are both development platforms that are designed to make it easy to authenticate users, store data and user metadata securely, authorize access to data selectively, and to integrate machine learning.

They are both designed for building secure and scalable mobile and web applications. 

While building mobile and web applications, AWS Amplify and Firebase also help in process management, fast releases, and better user engagement.

Teams are able to accelerate the development process by leveraging offered features, and do not need to build the app from scratch. 

Advantages and Disadvantages 

Advantages of AWS Amplify

Besides the universal advantages offered by an MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service), the following advantages are available with AWS Amplify-

Cloud Capabilities: AWS Amplify takes advantage of the cloud capabilities of AWS. It offers many cloud features that can be utilized to improve existing applications. 

Scalability: With AWS Amplify, you can scale your app.

GraphQI: AWS Amplify uses GraphQI to simplify data processing. 

Cheaper: Prices are more manageable and can be adjusted according to usage.

Compatibility: AWS Amplify can be used to create native Android or iOS apps. It also supports React Native, Flutter, and other cross-platform frameworks.

Storage: AWS Amplify is very well integrated with AWS storage solutions.

Integration: Developers can integrate their apps to various AWS capabilities such as Amazon Cognito, Amazon S3, AI/ML, and analytics.

Tools: With AWS Amplify, you get a CLI, and a workflow. You can get access to its libraries and UI components as well.

Easy to Implement: Common functions such as user authentication, push notifications, managing messages and subscriptions, etc. can be implemented very easily.

Development and Support: AWS Amplify is constantly being developed, and will get even better in the coming years. You will also be getting consistent support.

Disadvantages of AWS Amplify

There are few disadvantages of AWS Amplify which are common with every MBaaS platform. Additional disadvantages are as follows-

Learning Curve: AWS in general has a learning curve that is actually higher than for AWS Amplify itself, and developers will need time to learn AWS Amplify. Also, there are some features that are quite difficult to implement.

Overload of Information: The AWS Amplify CLI tool creates a lot of data, and it can sometimes be hard to extract meaningful information from it.

Complexity: Even though AWS Amplify is an MBaaS platform, it has UI components as well. It also has Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Delivery (CD) capacities. This makes AWS Amplify a complex platform. 

Advantages of Google Firebase

Just like AWS Amplify, Google Firebase also has universal advantages offered by an MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service). Other advantages are-

Cloud Capabilities: It offers matured cloud capabilities.

Databases: Google Firebase offers scalable and advanced databases like Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore. 

Faster Development: Google Firebase offers a set of prerequisites of backend development, which makes the entire development process simpler and shorter. 

Integration: It integrates well with important Google capabilities such as Google Analytics, in-app messaging, cloud messaging, etc. 

Compatibility: It supports all key platforms like Android, iOS, web, and unity.

Cost Effectiveness: With Google Firebase, you can eliminate dependencies among developers and maintain the tasks of frontend coders with Firebase services. This shortens the time-to-market and inevitably cuts expenses. This prevents possible bugs and errors, and also allows businesses to hire less workforce.

Disadvantages of Google Firebase

Apart from the common disadvantages with every MBaaS platform, Google Firebase has certain other disadvantages too. They are as follows-

Inconvenient Data Storage: You will use Realtime Database as your main storage. It is scalable and performant, but has limited querying capabilities. You will not be able to query for more than one key at a time, and the service does not provide a way to filter your data. 

Limited Data Migration: Google Firebase hosts your data. If you continue to use Firebase, then you will not be affected by this. But it will impact you if you wish to migrate the backend to another platform. There is no option to transfer the app to another source. The limitations to data migration will significantly limit your options.

Android Centered: Google Firebase provides a lot of abilities for Android, but does not provide the same capabilities for iOS apps. It is still more Android centered. Firebase Test Lab integrates well with the Android studio and supports a wide range of Android devices for testing. In the case of iOS apps, you can use very limited features of the Test Lab.

Thanks for reading!

Writen by

Marny Lopez

Software Developer