As more businesses and consumers come online, more data is being generated that needs to be stored, updated, managed, and analyzed. Database Management System (DBMS) is the software used for this purpose, which maintains interactions between users and applications. All Android and iOS apps and websites are handled through databases. To get more users onboard an application and scale it further, the database becomes one of the technology stack’s essential elements. The more efficient and powerful a database, the more traffic an application can handle.
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It is a systematic collection of data that is accessed through a DBMS. The data can be organized into rows, columns, tables, documents, etc. There are many types of databases, such as hierarchical, network, object-oriented, relational, and NoSQL.
SQL and NoSQL
Structured Query Language (SQL) is used for communicating with relational databases where the data is stored in tables. It has a predefined schema. It is effortless to search, insert, update, and delete any database data with SQL programming. It has an extensive collection of tools and functions and can be applied to several data models. It is used by several applications and can be scaled vertically by adding CPU, SSD, or RAM. Since SQL databases have existed over a long period, more documentation and support can easily be found online.
‘Not-only’ SQL (NoSQL) is an open-source database that is used when data is stored in various data models like documents. There is more flexibility in the way the databases can be structured. It has a dynamic schema. NoSQL is easily and highly scalable by adding more servers to the database. It is ideal for more extensive and more powerful applications and can also be used for real-time applications. Compared to SQL, NoSQL is newer, so there are less documentation and support that can be found online.
Firebase is a NoSQL database developed by Google. It is a platform that provides multiple services for building web and mobile applications such as real-time database, cloud storage, hosting, cloud functions, and Machine Learning Kit. More than a database it is a Backend-as-a-service. It is used by real-time messaging, multi-player gaming, storage apps, etc. Companies such as Alibaba, The New York Times, Shazam, Trivago, etc. use Firebase.
Firebase is ideal for small scale apps, which require less expertise in coding and can be easily developed when there is a time constraint. It can also handle traffic very well and can be remotely configured. It is highly scalable and user-friendly in terms of authentication and notifications. As it is a part of Cloud Firebase services, it can be easily integrated with other Firebase products.
However, Firebase does not perform well when there is high traffic, and it cannot be used for large scale applications as compared to MongoDB. There are no relational queries. The app creators do not own data, and thus it is not highly secure. Migrating data can be tricky. Lastly, the Firebase database becomes more expensive as the application starts to scale.
MongoDB is an open-source NoSQL database managed by MongoDB Inc. It is a cross-platform, document-oriented database that is highly flexible in handling indexing and queries as needed. It does not provide varied services such as Firebase does but gives importance to data storage.
Data is stored locally as documents in JSON format. Different categories of apps are powered by it, such as search engines, social networks, retail, etc. Companies such as eBay, Adobe, Google, Cisco, KPMG, etc. use MongoDB. It requires more coding expertise and is ideal for large-scale applications that need to be developed without a time constraint. MongoDB provides high performance, is highly scalable, and can handle high traffic exceptionally well.
Developers have more freedom as data can be handled easily and have more flexibility as there is no requirement of a unified data structure across all objects. Data is secure as there is no SQL injection possible. Any changes made in the database do not affect the application. Additionally, MongoDB also has geospatial support.
But there have been cases of leaking, losing, and corrupting of data with MongoDB. The queries are very complex and difficult to work with. It does not offer powerful indexing and searching. ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties are not followed completely. This database should not be used for highly transactional systems. Learn more about MongoDB Project ideas.
Also Read: Hadoop Vs MongoDB
Which is better? Firebase or MongoDB?
When comparing these two databases, there are some similarities, but many differences, as seen above. Depending on the application that is needed to be developed, preference can be given to one of these. Small scale, less traffic, low expertise, less time, low security, and low-performance apps can be developed using Firebase.
Whereas a large scale, high traffic generating, more expertise available, and high performing apps should be developed using MongoDB. Firebase comes with many other services and real-time synchronization other than just data storage as compared to MongoDB. However, there is more freedom and fewer expenses when using MongoDB.
Eventually, it depends on the app developers’ resources and needs and can choose the appropriate database that meets with all their requirements.
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