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Introducing Cloud Firestore: Our New Document Database for Apps

By Alex Dufetel, Google Product Manager

October 3, 2017

Today we're excited to launch Cloud Firestore, a fully-managed NoSQL document database for mobile and web app development. It's designed to easily store and sync app data at global scale, and it's now available in beta.

Key features of Cloud Firestore include:

  • Documents and collections with powerful querying
  • iOS, Android, and Web SDKs with offline data access
  • Real-time data synchronization
  • Automatic, multi-region data replication with strong consistency
  • Node, Python, Go, and Java server SDKs

And of course, we've aimed for the simplicity and ease-of-use that is always top priority for Firebase, while still making sure that Cloud Firestore can scale to power even the largest apps.

Optimized for app development

Managing app data is still hard; you have to scale servers, handle intermittent connectivity, and deliver data with low latency.

We've optimized Cloud Firestore for app development, so you can focus on delivering value to your users and shipping better apps, faster. Cloud Firestore:

  • Synchronizes data between devices in real-time. Our Android, iOS, and Javascript SDKs sync your app data almost instantly. This makes it incredibly easy to build reactive apps, automatically sync data across devices, and build powerful collaborative features -- and if you don't need real-time sync, one-time reads are a first-class feature.
  • Uses collections and documents to structure and query data. This data model is familiar and intuitive for many developers. It also allows for expressive queries. Queries scale with the size of your result set, not the size of your data set, so you'll get the same performance fetching 1 result from a set of 100, or 100,000,000.
  • Enables offline data access via a powerful, on-device database. This local database means your app will function smoothly, even when your users lose connectivity. This offline mode is available on Web, iOS and Android.
  • Enables serverless development. Cloud Firestore's client-side SDKs take care of the complex authentication and networking code you'd normally need to write yourself. Then, on the backend, we provide a powerful set of security rules so you can control access to your data. Security rules let you control which users can access which documents, and let you apply complex validation logic to your data as well. Combined, these features allow your mobile app to connect directly to your database.
  • Integrates with the rest of the Firebase platform. You can easily configure Cloud Functions to run custom code whenever data is written, and our SDKs automatically integrate with Firebase Authentication, to help you get started quickly.

Putting the 'Cloud' in Cloud Firestore

As you may have guessed from the name, Cloud Firestore was built in close collaboration with the Google Cloud Platform team.

This means it's a fully managed product, built from the ground up to automatically scale. Cloud Firestore is a multi-region replicated database that ensures once data is committed, it's durable even in the face of unexpected disasters. Not only that, but despite being a distributed database, it's also strongly consistent, removing tricky edge cases to make building apps easier regardless of scale.

It also means that delivering a great server-side experience for backend developers is a top priority. We're launching SDKs for Java, Go, Python, and Node.js today, with more languages coming in the future.

Another database?

Over the last 3 years Firebase has grown to become Google's app development platform; it now has 16 products to build and grow your app. If you've used Firebase before, you know we already offer a database, the Firebase Realtime Database, which helps with some of the challenges listed above.

The Firebase Realtime Database, with its client SDKs and real-time capabilities, is all about making app development faster and easier. Since its launch, it has been adopted by hundred of thousands of developers, and as its adoption grew, so did usage patterns. Developers began using the Realtime Database for more complex data and to build bigger apps, pushing the limits of the JSON data model and the performance of the database at scale. Cloud Firestore is inspired by what developers love most about the Firebase Realtime Database while also addressing its key limitations like data structuring, querying, and scaling.

So, if you're a Firebase Realtime Database user today, we think you'll love Cloud Firestore. However, this does not mean that Cloud Firestore is a drop-in replacement for the Firebase Realtime Database. For some use cases, it may make sense to use the Realtime Database to optimize for cost and latency, and it's also easy to use both databases together. You can read a more in-depth comparison between the two databases here.

We're continuing development on both databases and they'll both be available in our console and documentation.

Get started!

Cloud Firestore enters public beta starting today. If you're comfortable using a beta product you should give it a spin on your next project! Here are some of the companies and startups who are already building with Cloud Firestore:

Get started by visiting the database tab in your Firebase console. For more details, see the documentation, pricing, code samples, performance limitations during beta, and view our open source iOS and JavaScript SDKs on GitHub.

We can't wait to see what you build and hear what you think of Cloud Firestore!

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