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Contentful vs Firebase: What are the differences?
Developers describe Contentful as "Manage content once, publish it anywhere". Contentful is a flexible and future-friendly content platform that helps editors to manage and developers to serve content into mobile or web applications. Using Contentful, editors collaborate on content interactively in an easy-to-use editing interface, while developers use the content with the programming language and templating frameworks of their choice. On the other hand, Firebase is detailed as "The Realtime App Platform". 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.
Contentful can be classified as a tool in the "Cloud Content Management System" category, while Firebase is grouped under "Realtime Backend / API".
Some of the features offered by Contentful are:
- Live collaboration
- Media & files
On the other hand, Firebase provides the following key features:
- Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
- Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
- Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.
"API-based cms" is the top reason why over 15 developers like Contentful, while over 317 developers mention "Realtime backend made easy" as the leading cause for choosing Firebase.
According to the StackShare community, Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 838 company stacks & 957 developers stacks; compared to Contentful, which is listed in 38 company stacks and 21 developer stacks.
Hi StackSharers, your help is dearly needed as we're making a move to which we will commit for the next few years.
Problem: As our Marketing team gets growing needs to publish content fast and autonomously, we're trying to add a CMS to our stack.
This CMS should have fairly advanced marketing features: either natively built, and/or be open source, so we can either find third parties' plugins suiting our needs or build our own plugins homebrew.
"Advanced marketing features" like these: Non-devs should be able to handle content autonomously, Should have a non-dev friendly interface, should allow creating a library of reusable components/modules, should show the preview before publishing, should have a calendar with all publications, should show the history/tracking, should allow collaborating (Google Docs like), should display characters limit optimized for SEO.
Solution: We're considering an SSG + Headless CMS combination. We're fairly confident for the SSG (Gatsby), but we're still uncertain which CMS we should choose.
Of all the content management systems out there, contentful seems to be the most flexible. It consist of an user interface with an API a front end app can retrieve data from.
It makes no assumptions about how your data is presented or structured, and you can form any kind of content in the interface. Architectural portfolio with square footage attributes? Check. Carousel section on a page? Check. A blog? No problem. Entire landing pages consisting of sections that have child items in them and attributes for each child? Not an issue. Image hosting / cdn and resizing? No problem. Character limits? Widely supported. Multilingual? Easy peasy
There are two parts of the interface. Content types and content items. Content types is just a definition of how a content item is structured, you can add fields such as title, unique id, image, rich text, lists of child content items, etc. And then the API will just return a list of content items in JSON array or object format.
There is service integration with common apps, or data sources.
Because it’s just an API call, you can use literally any tech stack with it. It won’t stop you from using MySQL or any other technology alongside it. No messing about compilation, Java, maven, like with AEM. No being constrained to the CMS’s programming language or hosting environment like with Wordpress (to an extent, wp has an API too). You can integrate it with any app, whether it be serverless, on a vm, or inside a docker container.
Downside is the front end is really up to you. It’s just a cms for structuring your data. No preview though. How you present it is not handled by contentful. It is it’s greatest strength and not a weakness though
Hi Kamil, Have you considered Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)? It is not completely open-source but is built on top of many open source modules - like Apache Sling, Apache Felix, has a great deal of open-sourced core components, supports SPA - React and Angular Recently and can be deployed as a cloud service. Good luck in your search!
I'd like to share my experience for a similar use case.
A couple of months back I was in a similar place while facing some similar set of challenges within our SEO and Content Team. We were working with WordPress at that moment and for some parts - we still do. While WordPress is a very fast, intuitive and comprehensive tool to power static pages, it's not ideal for: 1. The content team as it requires some level of technical skills 2. Code reusability perspective - impacts performance in a longer run 3. Performance and user experience can easily go for a toss considering content team may not be diligent with everything outside the scope of the content
While evaluating we were looking at these key criterias: 1. SEO, Performance and UX 2. Ease of use for Content Team, developer independence 3. Learning Curve for devs and more importantly content creators 4. Support for complex design cases 5. Cost
Being part of a small org on a tight budget our natural inclination was for open-source solution, Strapi, and so we gave it a go for a smaller project before jumping the marketing wagon.
Strapi is a great tool, easy to learn and pick up. You get most of the design use cases out of the box baked for you. It's a Node.js service so you'll need to manage the service (meaning you'll have to handle monitoring, logging, cdn, auth, etc) and DB - which requires quiet some dev bandwidth. Now Strapi is still very young in term of DB migrations (not a seamless deployment yet - no schema diffing mechanism), setting up different environments required effort and you can do content modeling only in development environment (the db migrations complexity) - which becomes really critical when you want devs, design and content to collaborate simultaneously and don't want repeated work for modeling. Over a 5-6 weeks of use we realised that more and more dev bandwidth is required to do progressive addition of new content and hence we did another PoC with contentful.
Comparing this with contentful - which is a managed service, comes with inbuilt environment and preview setup, gives on-the-fly content modeling (replacing all the dev bandwidth dependency for managing migrations, cdn, auth, service, etc) gives a huge advantage of speed and developer independence at a very moderate price. Plus, the UI is very intuitive (taking some concepts from Tag Manager).
Few other thing to highlight: - Both Strapi and Contentful have plugins for common tooling. - Both the dashboard supports custom data type and UI extensions. I found Contentful UI extensions much more easier to implement. - Contentful has only US based availablility zone. Simple in-memory caching can be used to improve costing and SLA.
Hope this helps!
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.
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.
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.
Hello Noam 👋,
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
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.
Hi Community, Would like to ask for advice from people familiar with those tools. We are a small self-funded startup and initial cost for us is very important at that stage. That's why we are leaning towards Sanity. The CMS will be used to power our website and flutter cross-platform mobile applications.
Former Prismic.io developer here. If you want something robust vs "looks good from a distance," I would recommend Contentful. They are the biggest for a reason. Their CMS handles a lot of use cases and has great documentation. Prismic.io will work well in simple blog-esque use cases. Their more complex features break easily and their documentation is confusing. It has fallen quite a distance behind Contentful. Sanity appears to be a much newer CMS and you might come to regret the lack of features, but I've only briefly reviewed their product.
Pros of Contentful
- API-based cms30
- Much better than WordPress17
- Simple and customizable11
- Images API5
- Free for small projects3
- Extensible dashboard UI1
- Super simple to integrate1
- Managed Service1
- Tag Manager like UI1
Pros of Firebase
- Realtime backend made easy369
- Fast and responsive268
- Easy setup240
- Backed by google126
- Angular adaptor82
- Great customer support35
- Great documentation31
- Real-time synchronization25
- Mobile friendly21
- Rapid prototyping18
- Great security14
- Automatic scaling12
- Freakingly awesome11
- Super fast development8
- Angularfire is an amazing addition!8
- Built in user auth/oauth6
- Firebase hosting6
- Awesome next-gen backend6
- Ios adaptor6
- Speed of light4
- Very easy to use4
- It's made development super fast3
- Brilliant for startups3
- Free hosting2
- Cloud functions2
- JS Offline and Sync suport2
- Low battery consumption2
- The concurrent updates create a great experience2
- I can quickly create static web apps with no backend2
- Great all-round functionality2
- Push notification2
- Free authentication solution2
- Simple and easy1
- Free SSL1
- Faster workflow1
- Easy Reactjs integration1
- Easy to use1
- Google's support1
- Good Free Limits1
- CDN & cache out of the box1
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Cons of Contentful
- No spell check5
- No repeater Field5
- No free plan4
- Slow dashboard3
- Enterprise targeted2
- Limited content types2
- Not scalable1
- No GraphQL API1
Cons of Firebase
- Can become expensive31
- No open source, you depend on external company16
- Scalability is not infinite15
- Not Flexible Enough9
- Cant filter queries7
- Very unstable server3
- No Relational Data3
- Too many errors2
- No offline sync2