Firebase and Ionic: a guide to optimizing development times and costs

The cross-platform frontend development frameworks today


In today’s article, we will see how development times and costs can be optimized using the Firebase pairing for Ionic. But first, we must contextualize what each thing is.


Currently, cross-platform frontend development frameworks are established and continuously growing. The ease with which cross-platform applications can be created from a single code means that more and more developers use them. Some of the most widespread are Angular, React, Vue, and not inconsiderable etcetera.

Ionic Framework

This is where the Ionic Framework comes in. Ionic is a development Toolkit/SDK that allows you to develop applications with any of the 3 libraries above (and some others) with the ability to create fully functional native applications for Android, IOS, web, and/or desktop.


These applications may need data to work and/or store it persistently to be able to integrate and analyze it in our BigData later.

Every mobile or web application has a visible part with which the user interacts; the frontend. And practically all of them have a non-visible part that is in charge of working with the information provided by the user; the backend.

That is, almost all applications consist of 2 parts. Which means doubling code development, maintenance, infrastructure, time, cost, etc.

You can lear more details about Ionic Framework in this article.


At this point, Firebase appears to offer us a solution that manages all the necessary data of an application without having to depend on a backend.


This tool offers hosting, storage of one or more scalable databases, analysis tasks, testing, configuration, messaging, announcements, monetization, AI learning, and much more thanks to its modularization.

All this is for free at the beginning and with a scalable cost when the application needs more resources due to its growth and success. A symbol that we are on the right track.

But what is Firebase and how does it work? Let’s see it in more detail below.

What is Firebase and how does it work?

Firebase is a tool created by Envolve in 2011, as a real-time NoSQL database and later acquired by Google. Which over time has added many other features to improve performance and optimize development times and resources.

Its functionalities are included in 3 stages of the development of an application:

  • Build: tools that speed up the development and maintenance of the application
  • Release: features that allow you to analyze every aspect of the application in depth and optimize the release of new versions
  • Engagement: ​​to increase user engagement based on insights and A/B testing, configurations, or messaging

We are now going to analyze a little more in-depth some of the tools of each group.


Let’s take a look at the different build tools below.

Cloud firestore

It is the foundation of the Firebase project, a NoSQL database structured in documents organized in collections. It allows you to interact in real-time with the database even without having a connection since it stores the data in a cache and when you recover the connection it is automatically synchronized.

Realtime database

It is very similar to the previous one, except that, instead of documents organized in collections, the information is stored directly in JSON format and it is not as fast. But it allows a larger volume of data to be stored.

Automatic Learning Kit

It is an SDK that contains a set of APIs that can be installed in the application to offer the user functionalities based on learning and recognition such as the optical reading of text through the camera, face detection, translations, or detection of objects in images.


It allows delegating the management and authentication of users through the typical username/password, fingerprint, Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.


To use all these functionalities as a backend, they need to be available at some point in the network. So Firebase offers a fast, secure and integrated host with all its services.

Release & Monitor

Regarding launch and monitoring tools:


It allows for collecting information on failures that occur in the application for subsequent analysis and expediting their resolution.

Performance monitoring

This tool measures and analyzes the performance of the application in both mobile and web versions.

Google Analytics

By building the app with Firebase, Google Analytics already collects and centralizes basic information about the app, the users who use it, and how they use it. So we will have all this information to improve and evolve our application.


Now let’s look at the participation tools.

Remote configuration

With this tool, it is possible to modify some aspects of the application (previously defined) without the need to update the code or new versions.

Cloud messaging

This service manages the notifications that the user receives in your application.

In-app messaging

To go further with the interaction with users, in-app messages allow you to display images, texts, links, and anything that has been previously defined in a template.

This is just a small analysis of some of its features.

Also, Firebase can act as a traditional backend and save a lot of development time and cost. It allows you to create applications on Android and IOS that can grow without a problem and add more tools as they grow.

Do we recommend the use of Firebase?

Getting started with Firebase can take some time, due to the overwhelming amount of capabilities it offers. Also, non-relational databases can be scary for developers used to traditional SQL-based databases. But once you get past that initial learning curve, Firebase can help us greatly speed up the development, release, and maintenance of our apps.

Getting started with Firebase can take some time, due to the overwhelming amount of possibilities it offers. Also, non-relational databases can be scary for developers used to traditional SQL-based databases, but once you get over that initial learning curve, Firebase can help you greatly speed up the development, launch and maintenance of your applications.

In addition, Google is constantly making the platform grow and it does not stop innovating and adding new options and functionalities that can be very useful to grow our project.

Javier Moreno Morales – Key Software Developer at Itequia