Application development is becoming increasingly complex. Developers need to build for different platforms and an increasing number of form factors. They must meet more and more security and scalability requirements, while meeting growing customer expectations. To help developers handle it all, Google is rolling out a series of new updates to Firebase, its backend app development program.
“We invest in helping developers solve problems that don’t always necessarily differentiate their products, like building backend infrastructure and scaling it, things like security, or the need to integrate third-party APIs. “said Francis Ma, Firebase Product Manager. ZDNet. That way, he said, developers can stay focused on what they “need to do to keep pace with consumer expectations and reach users where they are.”
The updates, announced at Google I/O on Wednesday, are primarily aimed at improving how Firebase works with some of Google’s most popular developer products, as well as a broader open tools ecosystem. The updates will impact over 3 million developers who use Firebase.
Here are some important points:
Integrations with Android
To simplify developer workflow, Google is integrating the Firebase Crashlytics tool directly into Android Studio, Google’s integrated development environment (IDE) for the Android operating system.
Crashlytics is a crash reporting tool within Firebase that helps developers track their app’s performance after launch. Developers can track crashes, errors, and user feedback, so they can make improvements in the next version of their apps.
However, until now, developers had to switch between Crashlytics and their IDE to fix these issues. Now Google is bringing the Crashlytics experience right into Android Studio with a feature called App Quality Insights Window. The developer will be able to automatically see crashes and identify the specific line of code that caused the errors. They can both recognize and fix problems while staying in the editor.
“We all know developers like to be in the flow and be productive,” Ma said.
Improved experience for web developers
Developers often use modern frameworks like Angular, Vue, Next.js, Nuxt to build and deploy web applications. However, this can add more complexity in terms of managing application deployment. Some frameworks may be for front-end deployments, while others are for back-end deployments, and developers need to orchestrate everything.
Now developers can deploy modern web apps with a single command: firebase deploy. Google automatically determines all dependencies and deploys them to Firebase hosting and backend services.
Better management of third-party APIs
Developers often use a number of third-party APIs in their applications, usually between 20 and 40 APIs. They can, for example, use a popular provider like Stripe for payment processing or Twilio for handling email communications.
Two years ago, Google introduced Firebase Extensions, which offers pre-packaged solutions and integrations so developers can easily deploy them. Now, Google is introducing the concept of extension events, giving developers the ability to deploy pre-packaged APIs while further customizing them.
For example, a developer might already deploy a Stripe extension to handle payment for a subscription. Now, with Extensions Events, they can further customize the workflow. If a user cancels their subscription, for example, the developer can now resend a discount offer to try to win the user back.
Google also announced the release of third-party extensions for marketing, search, and payment processing. Two new Snap extensions, for example, allow users to connect with Snap and promote their products in their stories.
To improve security for app developers, Google is making a project called App Check generally available. App Check verifies that incoming traffic is coming from a developer’s app on a legitimate device and blocks traffic that does not have valid credentials. This helps protect the app against threats like billing fraud, phishing, spoofing, theft, and data poisoning. Additionally, App Check now integrates with the Play Integrity API.
Deeper Flutter integration
Flutter is Google’s open-source UI framework that lets developers build cross-platform apps from a single codebase. Now, all Firebase plugins for Flutter have moved to general availability, and Google has added official Flutter documentation, snippets, and customer support to make it easier to use Flutter and Firebase together.