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Android Room vs Firebase: What are the differences?

Introduction

In this article, we will discuss the key differences between Android Room and Firebase, two popular technologies used for data storage in Android applications.

  1. Data Model: One key difference between Android Room and Firebase is the way they handle data models. With Android Room, developers define data models using entities and annotations, which are then used to generate the necessary code for CRUD operations. In contrast, Firebase uses a NoSQL data model, where data is stored as JSON and can be nested and structured in a flexible manner.

  2. Real-Time Updates: Firebase provides real-time updates out of the box, allowing data changes to be automatically pushed to all connected clients in real-time. This is achieved through the use of Firebase's real-time database and Firestore, enabling instant synchronization across devices. Android Room, on the other hand, does not offer built-in real-time updates and requires additional implementation to achieve similar functionality.

  3. Offline Capabilities: Another major difference is the offline capabilities offered by Android Room and Firebase. Firebase provides offline support by caching data on the client device, allowing users to access and modify data even when offline. Android Room, on the other hand, does not offer built-in offline capabilities and requires additional custom implementation to support offline data access.

  4. Database Setup and Hosting: Firebase offers a complete backend-as-a-service solution, providing not only a database but also hosting for web applications, cloud functions, authentication, and more. It simplifies the development process by providing an all-in-one platform. Android Room, on the other hand, is purely a local database solution and does not offer hosting or other backend services.

  5. Integration and Dependencies: When using Android Room, developers need to integrate the Room library into their project by adding the necessary dependencies and implementing the required code. Firebase, on the other hand, requires integration with the Firebase SDK, which includes adding dependencies and configuring the project with Firebase's services. The specific integrations and dependencies differ between the two technologies.

  6. Data Security and Authentication: Firebase provides built-in support for authentication and data security rules, allowing developers to authenticate users and enforce fine-grained access controls for data. Android Room does not provide these features out of the box and requires additional implementation to handle authentication and data security.

In summary, Android Room and Firebase differ in terms of data modeling, real-time updates, offline capabilities, database setup and hosting, integration and dependencies, as well as data security and authentication.

Advice on Android Room and Firebase
Needs advice
on
ApolloApolloFirebaseFirebase
and
Socket.IOSocket.IO

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance | 7 upvotes 路 470.1K views
Recommends
on
FirebaseFirebase

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Recommends
on
AblyAbly

Hello Noam 馃憢,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

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Recommends
on
8base8base

Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

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Pros of Android Room
Pros of Firebase
  • 1
    Extensive documentation
  • 1
    Pushing bulk data to server easily
  • 1
    Easy to understand the transaction of data
  • 371
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 270
    Fast and responsive
  • 242
    Easy setup
  • 215
    Real-time
  • 191
    JSON
  • 134
    Free
  • 128
    Backed by google
  • 83
    Angular adaptor
  • 68
    Reliable
  • 36
    Great customer support
  • 32
    Great documentation
  • 25
    Real-time synchronization
  • 21
    Mobile friendly
  • 18
    Rapid prototyping
  • 14
    Great security
  • 12
    Automatic scaling
  • 11
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Chat
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 6
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 6
    Firebase hosting
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
    Great
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    Free hosting
  • 2
    Cloud functions
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
    .net
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    Push notification
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 2
    Free authentication solution
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration
  • 1
    Google's support
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    CDN &聽cache out of the box
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    Large
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
    Serverless
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Simple and easy

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Android Room
Cons of Firebase
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 31
      Can become expensive
    • 16
      No open source, you depend on external company
    • 15
      Scalability is not infinite
    • 9
      Not Flexible Enough
    • 7
      Cant filter queries
    • 3
      Very unstable server
    • 3
      No Relational Data
    • 2
      Too many errors
    • 2
      No offline sync

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Android Room?

    It provides an abstraction layer over SQLite to allow fluent database access while harnessing the full power of SQLite. Apps that handle non-trivial amounts of structured data can benefit greatly from persisting that data locally. The most common use case is to cache relevant pieces of data.

    What is Firebase?

    Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

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    What companies use Android Room?
    What companies use Firebase?
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    What tools integrate with Android Room?
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    Blog Posts

    GitNode.jsFirebase+5
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    What are some alternatives to Android Room and Firebase?
    SQLite
    SQLite is an embedded SQL database engine. Unlike most other SQL databases, SQLite does not have a separate server process. SQLite reads and writes directly to ordinary disk files. A complete SQL database with multiple tables, indices, triggers, and views, is contained in a single disk file.
    GreenDAO
    It is an open source Android ORM making development for SQLite databases fun again. It relieves developers from dealing with low-level database requirements while saving development time.
    Realm
    The Realm Mobile Platform is a next-generation data layer for applications. Realm is reactive, concurrent, and lightweight, allowing you to work with live, native objects.
    DBFlow
    It is fast, efficient, and feature-rich Kotlin database library built on SQLite for Android. It utilizes annotation processing to generate SQLite boilerplate for you and provides a powerful SQLite query language that makes using SQLite a joy.
    Hibernate
    Hibernate is a suite of open source projects around domain models. The flagship project is Hibernate ORM, the Object Relational Mapper.
    See all alternatives