by Google Fire base it has been the default tool for web developers and mobile teams to help them take care of the backend so they can focus on the frontend of the application.
For Paul Copplestone, however, Firebase was still limited. Copplestone began working on solving these issues himself and found that Firebase couldn’t scale as easily. He then started building his own database with Anthony Wilson, a friend of his, and open sourced their version, calling it supa base.
Launched as Firebase killer
“Firebase, to its credit, is a phenomenal development experience. It is probably the best tool in the world to start a new project. But when your project starts to scale, it sometimes presents some difficulties. And so that’s the thing that we wanted to fix, and we fix that by offering this comprehensive Postgres database,” Copplestone said.
“Postgres, of course, is extremely scalable and has been battle-tested for over 30 years.”
Firebase Realtime Database stores and synchronizes data using a NoSQL cloud database. Copplestone wanted a more compact offering: where Firebase has about 18 different product offerings, Supabase is limited to just four that are typically the most in demand. Supabase has a Postgres database, auto-generated APIs, authorization and storage capacity for large files.
Despite its age, Postgres databases have remained popular with larger companies still preferring it. This may be the clincher for Supabase which uses many of the different parts of Postgres, especially in its permission level and magic links.
The Supabase community has grown rapidly with over 80,000 developers building over 100,000 databases on the service in the last year.
In May this year, Supabase raised $80 million in a Series B financing round led by Felicis Ventures with participation from Coatue and Lightspeed. Copplestone’s company now has total funding of $116 million.
However, aside from its Postgres glory, Does Supabase really live up to its lofty claims?
Comparison between Firebase and Supabase
First, the cost. Firebase is cheaper than Supabase, with a Firebase database price per GB of $0.108 compared to $0.125 per GB for Supabase. Aside from the free tier, Supabase has a pay-as-you-go plan with an additional $25 activation fee, while Firebase has no additional fees — users only have to pay for what they use.
Firebase has a number of authentication methods through email, Facebook, Google, Twitter, GitHub, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple that are free with no limit on the number of users. Phone authentication is charged after the first 10,000 users at $0.01 per verification for the US, Canada and India and $0.06 per verification for other countries. Supabase does not yet have phone-based authentication and authenticates through Google, GitHub, Azure, Facebook, Gitlab, Twitter and Discord with a free limit of 10,000 users per month.
Firebase is complete in itself and completely replaces the need for a backend or server – it has a database, storage, hosting, and can even help users send email from within the application using an extension. Supabase, on the other hand, does not have a hosting service yet, so developers would need an additional tool or app to host their frontend application.
Firebase also has the tools that Supabase gave up, including dynamic linking, remote configuration, in-app messaging, performance monitoring, cloud messaging, big data, and crashlytics. Since it’s a Google product, Firebase already has a huge market support, documentation, and community. Firebase services are also more reliable, cheaper and unlikely to go away in the near future.
In cases where the data must have ACID properties (the four properties of a transaction: atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability) or the data is relational in nature and must be interconnected using joins and foreign keys, the Firebase database falls short because it lacks as a relational database. Sometimes it can be difficult to refer to a document within another document; deep nested references as well and getting the references for these data points can be difficult.
Conversely, Supabase is a relational database and can be useful when the data is more rigid and needs to be consistent throughout. But there’s no set-in-stone rule as to which is best, it just depends on the project. Firebase’s NoSQL database can be repetitive, but query execution is faster and can be used for search engines and social media platforms.
Supabase can also easily import pre-existing data: a user can import a CSV file or copy and paste the spreadsheet from another platform to Supabase. Firebase doesn’t offer built-in services, so users can directly upload data in bulk. Users need to convert the data file from CSV format to JSON format first.
The landscape of BaaS platforms
Supabase isn’t the only open source platform – the evolving Backend-as-a-Service market has become quite competitive. Swedish open source hosts And Ethebas they also focus on end-to-end encryption with open source SDKs. Asuraanother open source GraphQL API engine, it also supports Postgres, BigQuery and MS SQL Server.
Big tech also has its skin in the BaaS game, with Microsoft’s .NET-based mobile app platform Xamarin and AWS, which has Amplify And GameSparksto create backends for network games.
Analyze developed for apps Node.js adds a GraphQL interface, a file system and a notification framework based on PostgreSQL or MongoDB. Back4App, also based on Parse, has a low-code backend on GraphQL and REST.
AppWrite it also offers cloud capabilities in addition to standard databases, storage, and authorization integrated with REST APIs.