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Firebase vs Urban Airship: What are the differences?

Comparison: Firebase vs. Urban Airship

Firebase and Urban Airship are both popular mobile development platforms that offer a range of services to enable efficient app development and user engagement. While they share some similarities, they also have several key differences that set them apart from each other. In this comparison, we will explore six main differences between Firebase and Urban Airship.

  1. Ease of Integration: Firebase is known for its seamless integration with other Google services, such as Google Analytics and Google Cloud Messaging. This makes it easier for developers to incorporate Firebase into their existing Google ecosystem. On the other hand, Urban Airship provides more flexible integration options, allowing developers to integrate the platform with various third-party services, not limited to a specific ecosystem.

  2. Services Offered: Firebase is a comprehensive platform that offers a wide array of services, including real-time database, authentication, cloud messaging, hosting, and more. It aims to provide an all-in-one solution for app development. In contrast, Urban Airship focuses primarily on user engagement, offering services like push notifications, in-app messaging, and SMS messaging. While it also provides some app development tools, its primary focus is on enhancing user experience and engagement.

  3. Pricing Model: Firebase offers a user-based pricing model, where developers are charged based on the number of users or active devices using their app. This makes it easier for budgeting and scaling as developers only pay for the resources they consume. On the other hand, Urban Airship offers a more traditional feature-based pricing model, where developers are charged based on the specific features and services they require. This may be more suitable for developers with specific needs and requirements.

  4. Analytics Capabilities: Firebase provides a robust analytics platform that offers detailed insights into app performance, user behavior, and engagement metrics. It allows developers to track user events, set up conversion tracking, and create custom audiences for targeted marketing campaigns. Urban Airship also offers analytics features but focuses more on user engagement metrics, such as push notification performance and in-app messaging effectiveness.

  5. Platform Support: Firebase is a cross-platform development platform that supports both Android and iOS. It provides SDKs and comprehensive documentation for developers on both platforms. Urban Airship, on the other hand, is primarily focused on supporting iOS and Android platforms but also provides limited support for other platforms, such as web push notifications.

  6. Customization and Branding: Firebase provides developers with the flexibility to customize and brand their apps to align with their specific design requirements. This includes customizing the look and feel of the app, implementing custom themes, and adding branding elements. While Urban Airship does offer some customization options, its primary focus is on delivering engaging and personalized user experiences rather than extensive app customization.

In summary, Firebase and Urban Airship differ in terms of ease of integration, services offered, pricing model, analytics capabilities, platform support, and customization options. Developers should consider their specific requirements and priorities to choose the platform that best aligns with their app development and user engagement needs.

Advice on Firebase and Urban Airship
Needs advice

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 · 471.8K views

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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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

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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 Firebase
Pros of Urban Airship
  • 371
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 270
    Fast and responsive
  • 242
    Easy setup
  • 215
  • 191
  • 134
  • 128
    Backed by google
  • 83
    Angular adaptor
  • 68
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 & cache out of the box
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Simple and easy
  • 11
    Ios integration
  • 8
    Easy to setup
  • 5
    Android integration
  • 2
    PhoneGap Plugin

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Cons of Firebase
Cons of Urban Airship
  • 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
  • 1
    Easy to setup
  • 1
    Android Integration

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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.

What is Urban Airship?

We’ve built the smartest, most aware, precise, easy-to-use, scalable, secure and powerful push messaging platform on the planet. Our Push messaging platform leverages all that is unique about mobile as a channel, and that lights the spark to create meaningful and valuable mobile experiences. We help put your app in front of your users at the right time, and in the right place to drive usage and brand engagement.

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What companies use Firebase?
What companies use Urban Airship?
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