Firebase and Heroku Platform are platforms for applications development and continuous delivery. Firebase offers a more abstracted backend setup, requiring less server-side expertise from developers. Heroku Platform gives more control and insight into backend processes, but requires developer effort and knowledge to do so. Both products are used most heavily by small businesses, likely because their pricing allows new users to start for free and scale up as-needed, which makes them attractive options for hobbyists, freelancers, and start-ups.
Both Heroku Platform and Firebase help developers create, deliver, and maintain web-based applications, but they each have their own strengths.
Firebase gives developers a lot of in-service tools to use in their applications. Developers especially appreciate the built-in authentication tools, which handle the entire user authentication process end-to-end. The Firebase Console is a much-appreciated feature that allows developers to deliver app updates, send or schedule push notifications, and monitor their app from a centralized interface. A/B testing tools help teams adjust and optimize the user experience. Solid documentation and strong support from the Firebase community help developers get started and solve problems as they occur.
Heroku Platform makes it quick and easy to test and deliver new applications. Users appreciate the effort that Heroku’s team has put into UX across the board, with an intuitive and useful GUI, API, and command-line interface. Detailed and useful notifications, metrics, and alerts help developers monitor their app and take action when problems arise or usage patterns change. It’s also easy to scale up on server resources as an app’s needs become more demanding.
However, Heroku Platform and Firebase might not be suited for all applications, as each platform has its drawbacks.
Heroku Platform can be expensive, especially when developers need to scale up. Important features might be gated behind advanced subscription tiers, and repeated attempts to upsell extra resources and features can be frustrating. Other users found Heroku Platform’s notifications about server status and downtime to be overzealous, generating too many irrelevant alerts with no effective way to filter them. For free users, their server goes to sleep if its application is not used frequently enough, and it can be slow to reboot when used again.
Firebase users primarily complain about the user experience. The interfaces can be unpleasant to use and unintuitive, especially for the included Firestore database system. Firebase users also found the platform limiting, since its abstraction of some server-side functions makes them difficult to adjust. Other developers wish Firebase had a more robust capability to track user interactions with their app. Although community support for the product is strong, the official support team seems to be hit-or-miss, leaving some users satisfied and other users frustrated with rote, unhelpful responses.
Firebase offers two pricing tiers. The Spark Plan is free and includes most of Firebase’s feature set, with data usage caps and restrictions. The Blaze plan is pay-as-you-go for data usage and adds additional features, such as multiple databases per project and access to the Google Cloud infrastructure-as-a-service product. For specific pricing details, refer to the Firebase pricing page, which includes a plan calculator for estimating your cost.
Heroku Platform uses a tiered build-a-price model based on type of application, number and tier of app containers, database access, and add-ons. To evaluate your price for Heroku Platform, use the price estimation tools on the Heroku website.
Provided by the TrustRadius Research Team
Published on September 24, 2020
Likelihood to Recommend
Feature Rating Comparison
Ease of building user interfaces
Platform management overhead
Workflow engine capability
Platform access control
Development environment creation
Development environment replication
Issue monitoring and notification
Upgrades and platform fixes
- User authentications: Firebase is an amazing tool that removes the requirement for having an authentication server locally or on your private cloud. It has its own cloud and syncs your user data in realtime and securely. Firebase will run the end to end authentication process and free you to make your application a better user experience.
- Firebase Console is one of the best features of this platform. This console is one point stop for all monitoring and troubleshooting purposes. You can view data from all of your connected applications and make and changes in realtime from the console itself.
- Heroku has a very simple deployment model, making it easy to get your application up-and-running with minimal effort. We can focus on our efforts the unique aspects of our application.
- The robust add-on marketplace makes it easy to try out new approaches with minimal effort and investment -- and when we settle on a solution, we can easily scale it.
- Heroku's support is quite good -- their staff is quite technical and willing to get into the weeds to diagnose even complicated problems.
- If you are looking for a mobile app analytics platform that has extremely high-quality tracking (down to an ad level), then Firebase may not be for you. While they do track basic UTMs source, medium, and sometimes campaign, Firebase's attribution only scratches the surface of what other competitors are able to do.
- Firebase has room for improvement when it comes to its Cloud Messaging aka Push Notifications. The room for improvement lies in its user segmentation capabilities. Currently, Firebase does not allow for platform users to segment app users based on in-app events, except for their predictive user events (Firebase predicts which events users will take). Rather Firebase primarily allows for app user segmentation based on demographics and locations. Also, Firebase doesn't allow for automated push notifications or adding images to the push notifications.
- While Firebase can export data into Google Analytics, it does not allow for direct data exports to a data visualization tool like Google Data Studio, or mobile app engagement platforms, etc. This would be a more advanced feature, that would ideally be in their paid plan.
- Large price jumps between certain resource tiers (2x Dyno for $50 per month versus Performance Dyno for $250). Free Postgres next jumps to $50 per month.
- Marketing/Branding to non-technical stakeholders. As the years pass, I've had to fight more to convince stakeholders on the value of Heroku over AWS.
- Improve Buildpack documentation. This is one area where Heroku's documentation is fairly confusing.
Likelihood to Renew
Reliability and Availability
Return on Investment
- Firebase was our sole data analytics platform through our Beta period which was crucial to make business decisions and adjust our application.
- Because it was free it allowed us to focus on high priority issues instead of adding in a costly data analytics platform (which we finally did - Appsee and Appsflyer - which costs us now over $500 month so it saved us $500/month for about 4 months).
- There's no way to directly correlate this to ROI but without Firebase's basic app analytics we would have never made core changes to our app or business and possibly still wouldn't be producing revenue today.
- Heroku allowed us to get up and running fast. Deployment was really easy and connecting to our codebase was, too. The deployment integration with GitHub is pretty slick.
- The add-ons provisioning is so simple and the documentation is so thorough that, at least at first, it means you don't have to hire a dedicated devops person to manage this stuff.
- Heroku has tools that allow the collaborators (those with access to the Heroku dashboard) to be able to quickly and easily do triage from just about anywhere, including your smartphone.
Premium Consulting/Integration Services—
Entry-level set up fee?
Firebase Editions & Modules
- Per Verification
- Per GiB
Additional Pricing Details—
Premium Consulting/Integration Services—
Entry-level set up fee?
Heroku Platform Editions & Modules
- per month