Using React, Firebase, and Ant Design to Quickly Prototype Web Applications

In this guide I will show you how to use Firebase, React, and Ant Design as building blocks to build functional, high-fidelity web applications. To illustrate this, we’ll go through an example of building a todo list app.

These days, there are so many tools available for web development that it can feel paralyzing. Which server should you use? What front-end framework are you going to choose? Usually, the recommended approach is to use the technologies that you know best. Generally, this means choosing a battle-tested database like PostgreSQL or MySQL, choosing a MVC framework for your webserver (my favourite is Adonis), and either using that framework’s rendering engine or using a client-side javascript library like ReactJS or AngularJS.

Using the above approach is productive – especially if you have good boilerplate to get you started – but what if you want to build something quickly with nearly zero setup time? Sometimes a mockup doesn’t convey enough information to a client; sometimes you want to build out an MVP super fast for a new product.

The source code for this example is available here. If you’re looking for a good IDE to use during this guide, I highly recommend Visual Studio Code.

Developer Experience Lessons Operating a Serverless-like Platform At Netflix

The Netflix API is based on a dynamic scripting platform that handles thousands of changes per day. This platform allows our client developers to create a customized API experience on over a thousand device types by executing server side adapter code in response to HTTP requests. Developers are only responsible for the adapter code they write; they do not have to worry about infrastructure concerns related to server management and operations. To these developers, the scripting platform in effect, provides an experience similar to that offered by serverless or FaaS platforms. It is important to note that the similarities are limited to the developer experience (DevEx); the runtime is a custom implementation that is not designed to support general purpose serverless use cases. A few years of developing and operating this platform for a diverse set of developers has yielded several DevEx learnings for us…

In Part 1 of this series, we outlined key learnings the Edge Developer Experience team gained from operating the API dynamic scripting platform which provides a serverless or FaaS like experience for client application developers. We addressed the concerns around getting code ready for production deployment. Here, we look at what it takes to deploy it safely and operate it on an ongoing basis…

Introducing Cloud Firestore: Our New Document Database for Apps

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.

Firebase Cloud Functions with Typescript and Webpack

Recently Firebase launched Cloud Functions–a way to run your code on their servers. It’s a game changer! Now you can run code that you trust to manage many parts of your Firebase Project.

The downside of Cloud Functions is that it only supports NodeJs, forcing you to use Javascript. Fortunately, we can mitigate some of the issues that Javascript brings with Typescript.

In this post we’ll build Firebase Cloud Functions using Typescript and Webpack.

Introducing Cloud Functions for Firebase

Firebase started with the belief that apps could be built with mostly client code since it was, in many instances, easier and faster. However, there are still some cases where server code is needed, such as executing trusted code, authenticating to a third party API, or running battery intensive operations. In these instances, you had to stand up your own server —  until now.

Today we are excited to announce the beta launch of Cloud Functions for Firebase. It lets you write small pieces of JavaScript, deploy them to Google’s Cloud infrastructure, and execute them in response to events from throughout the Firebase ecosystem. This has been the most requested feature since Firebase launched. The ability to extend and connect Firebase features using Cloud Functions makes Firebase more powerful, allowing you to do even more with your app without having to think about servers.