Exploring Limitations and Considerations of Firebase as an Authentication and Database Solution

Cover Image for Exploring Limitations and Considerations of Firebase as an Authentication and Database Solution
Christopher C
Christopher C

Welcome to this discussion on the considerations and limitations of using Firebase as an authentication service and database solution. While Firebase offers several advantages such as fast and reliable databases, user authentication, and real-time synchronization, it is important to understand the potential drawbacks before integrating it into your projects. In this article, we will explore the limitations surrounding data ownership, data migration challenges, querying capabilities, real-time sync emphasis, and security rule flexibility. By examining these aspects, you can make an informed decision about whether Firebase is the right choice for your specific project requirements.

Data Ownership Limitations

Your data is not yours Your data is hosted on servers that you don't own, making it impossible to export user data, including emails and recoverable user accounts with passwords. Even when dealing with smaller data sizes in the past, exporting data was challenging. The only option to export email/password data is by contacting the Firebase team, rather than conveniently accessing it through the Dashboard.

Data Migration Challenges

The problem of data migration Firebase presents difficulties when it comes to handling data migration, unlike a simple SQL database. With Firebase's reliance on JSON and lack of SQL features, seamless migration from an existing database becomes complicated. Especially when managing large amounts of highly structured data, a traditional relational database equipped with SQL allows for powerful queries and simplified data handling using an ORM.

Limited Querying Capabilities

Limited querying Firebase's querying abilities are restricted due to its data stream model. The Firebase Database offers limited query options that cannot be combined. This limitation forces you to make a choice between ordering documents by date or filtering them based on user search queries on the database side while performing the other action on the client side.

Emphasis on Real-time Sync

Very oriented toward real-time sync Firebase heavily focuses on real-time synchronization, where typing in a text field automatically updates the database and adjusts the screen for other users. The primary documentation examples and Angular integration are centered around this real-time aspect. However, if your preference is to write queries and use event handlers for updating the database or receiving updates from others, Firebase may not align with your requirements.

Limited Security Rule Flexibility

Security rules are limited Firebase's security rules can pose challenges, particularly when building enterprise platforms. While the rules are designed for fast execution on Firebase servers, their limitations make it difficult to develop robust security systems. The security rule JSON file can become unwieldy and opening the rules editor to modify it is a daunting task, as any mistakes can potentially disrupt the entire application.

Enjoying the content?

Learn more about me and get access to exclusive content about software engineering and best business practices.