AWS Amplify vs. Firebase: 50-Feature Comparison

AWS Amplify vs. Firebase: 50-Feature Comparison
Photo by Marvin Meyer / Unsplash

Google and Amazon dominate cloud computing. Developers want to know what developer-friendly services these behemoths offer. Two services competing for slightly different audiences are AWS Amplify vs. Firebase from Google.

  1. Let’s take a brief look at these two services. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
  2. Next, we’ll show our 50-feature comparison table.
  3. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a method to choose between the two services—plus a bonus alternative.

Table of Contents

What is AWS Amplify?

What is Firebase?

Pros and Cons of AWS Amplify vs. Firebase

AWS Amplify vs. Firebase: 50-feature Comparison

How to choose between Firebase vs. AWS Amplify

BONUS: There is another option

What is AWS Amplify?

AWS Amplify is for front-end developers seeking a visual way to deploy full-stack web or mobile apps on AWS. No DevOps required. Connect your git repo, click through a few settings pages, and automatically deploy your app.

Another option is to construct a backend to your app using a visual drag-and-drop editor. Backends can include storage, data, authentication, plus more.  You may also design your frontend visually using the same kind of interface.

Once configured, all it takes is a push to your git or AWS CodeDeploy repo. Amplify does the rest.

You deploy your app through a fully-managed hosting service. Then, automatically scale your app to the AWS Cloudfront content delivery network (CDN).

AWS has an impressive list of users, including Neiman Marcus, Noom, and the United Way.

What is Firebase?

Google's Firebase offers a command-line interface (CLI) alternative to AWS Amplify’s visual deployment cycle. With a single console command, you can deploy static or full-stack apps—after setting it up.

Marketed as an app development platform with a NoSQL database, Firebase is not necessarily for the same developers as AWS Amplify. Firebase appeals to mobile and web app developers with CLI skills who need a scalable backend and database capabilities.

Several services are available with Firebase. Included are:

  • authentication
  • a real-time database
  • analytics
  • performance monitoring
  • cloud messaging
  • a test lab
  • crash reporting

Developers can roll out new features progressively, testing on a few users at a time before the complete launch.

Google boasts the New York Times, Lyft, Alibaba, NPR, and Venmo as users of Firebase.

Pros and Cons of AWS Amplify vs. Firebase

Both of these Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platforms are highly scalable. Both support a variety of languages and frameworks.

Firebase requires command-line skills. This is different from the graphical approach of AWS Amplify or other services such as Netlify.

We don’t want to give the wrong impression. The CLI interface is very powerful, and so is Firebase. Note that Amplify also has an optional, mostly full-featured CLI interface for those who prefer them. Still, you may not feel confident using the command line, and Firebase requires it.

Both platforms have pay-as-you-go pricing schemes, making it difficult to predict how a rapid increase in users will affect costs. This is especially challenging in Firebase which does not enable budget caps.

Firebase uses a NoSQL database. If you decide to switch platforms, you may suffer from data migration problems. You may wish to migrate to another platform for several reasons. You may at once face difficulties migrating while experiencing vendor lock-in. This dilemma can be a severe problem. Also, NoSQL means no SQL capabilities, making queries more complicated. This can limit typical database functions.

AWS Amplify is not without its troubles. Amplify can be difficult for teams to work with. Configuration files may not be stored for convenient team access. Git and AWS Amplify can have trouble working together if not all files are tracked by git. (https://dev.to/yonatankorem/finding-the-limitations-of-aws-amplify-200a).

AWS Amplify vs. Firebase: 50-feature Comparison

 

AWS Amplify

Firebase

Description of service

SaaS, Scalable, Full-stack Apps

BaaS, Web, Mobile App Backend

Development Environment

Amplify Studio

Firebase Project

Supported Frameworks

SPA Frameworks, Static site generators SSR

Firebase SDKs, JavaScript, C++, Unity, Apple, Android

Automate Web Projects

Yes

APIs, CLI

Automatic Build

GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, AWS CodeCommit

GitHub, Bitbucket, Gitlab

Monorepo Support

Yes

Yes

Automatic Scaling

Yes

Yes

Build Version Rollback

Yes

No

Deploy Previews

Yes

Yes, Preview URL

Infrastructure

AWS

Google Cloud

CDN

Yes

Yes

Cache Invalidation

Yes

Yes

Edge Handlers

AWS Cloudfront

Google Cloud CDN

File Optimization

CDN

CDN

Intended Users

Web and Mobile App Devs, Frontend Devs

Web and Mobile App Devs, Frontend Devs

DevOps Required

No

No, but must use CLI

Static Web Apps

Yes

Yes

Mobile Apps

Yes

Yes

Jamstack

Yes

Yes

Full Stack

Yes

Yes

Microservices

Yes

Yes

Serverless

Yes

Yes

Backends

Serverless

Firebase

Headless CMS

Third-party

Flamelink CMS

CLI

Yes

Yes

CI/CD

Yes

Third-party

Database

Amazon Aurora MySQL

Firebase NoSQL

Authentication

Amplify Auth

Firebase Authentication

Automated SSL for HTTPS

AWS Certificate Manager

Yes

Global Availability

Yes

Yes

Hosting

Yes

Yes

APIs

graphQL, REST

graphQL, Firebase REST API

Atomic Deploy

Yes

Yes

Global Build, Test, Deploy

Yes

Yes

High-performance Builds

Yes

Yes

Push to Git Deployment

Yes

No

Rollback Versions

Yes

Yes

Storage

S3

Google Cloud Storage Bucket

Dependency Cache

Yes

Yes

Testing

Site Previews

Firebase Hosting, Firebase Test Lab

Fixed IP Address

No

Third-party VPC

Forms Management

No

No

Password Protection

Yes

Yes

Split Testing

Third-party

Firebase A/B Testing

Add-ons

Yes

Firebase Extensions

Team Permissions

Yes

Yes

Analytics

Amazon Pinpoint and Amazon Kinesis 

Google Analytics

Security

AMS key encryption at rest

Encrypt in Transit (HTTPS), At-Rest (Cloud Firestore)

Free Trial

Free Tier

Free Tier

Pricing

Free Tier, Pay-as-you-go

Free Tier, Pay-as-you-go

How to choose between Firebase vs. AWS Amplify

Which BaaS platform you choose depends on what you value in a platform like Firebase or AWS Amplify.

If you…

  • want a lightweight, simple, and developer-friendly environment
  • don’t anticipate massive scaling
  • have CLI skills
  • want many integrated services

… then choose Firebase.

If you…

  • want a no/low code environment
  • are happy working within the AWS console (it’s pretty complex)
  • need access to much of AWS infrastructure
  • want to visually construct your backend or frontend
  • intend to scale your app to large or enterprise sizes

…then choose AWS Amplify.

BONUS: There is another option

Digger delivers an AWS-hosted, one-click build-deploy-scale cycle. You can have the power of the entire AWS infrastructure in a more user-friendly way. Learn how it works here.