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.
- Let’s take a brief look at these two services. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
- Next, we’ll show our 50-feature comparison table.
- 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?
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:
- a real-time database
- 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
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.
- want a lightweight, simple, and developer-friendly environment
- don’t anticipate massive scaling
- have CLI skills
- want many integrated services
… then choose Firebase.
- 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.