Firebase Adds Android to Mobile Support

Amy Castor, July 9th, 2013

FirebaseAre you an Android developer? If so, now you can quickly whip out applications using the Firebase API. The company, which lets you create interactive apps with only frontend code, announced support for Android in a blog post last week.

Firebase is a platform that lets developers create full applications with just HTML and JavaScript. Its key advantage is that it saves time by letting you build those apps on the client side without the hassle of managing backend servers or writing server side code.

When Firebase launched in April 2012, its initial focus was on web apps. A partnership with Trigger earlier this year brought support for mobile. Trigger takes the JavaScript written for the web and turns it into Objective-C and Java for mobile applications.

Firebase announced support for iOS devices in the spring. With the introduction of its Android SDK, the San Francisco startup now supports 90 percent of the mobile market.

“We now have a mature backend offering. We’ve checked off all the boxes with the Android release,” said James Tamplin, Firebase CEO and cofounder.

Firebase works similar to Dropbox. With Dropbox, you can add, delete and edit documents even when you don’t have an internet connection. When you come back online Dropbox syncs everything back up.

Firebase works the same way, but for code. You drop in arbitrary JavaScript objects and Firebase does the behind-the-scenes job of notifying clients connected to your app about any changes in real time. As a result, you can develop apps without having to know anything about servers.

Tamplin says this makes Firebase a perfect solution for the mobile market.

“Mobile is spotty for Internet connections. But with Firebase, your app still works even if you are driving through a tunnel. No more refresh, since we deliver instantly,” Tamplin added.

Firebase has received a $1.4 million seed round and a $5.6 million Series A funding from Union Square Ventures and and Flybridge Capital Partners. The startup, which grew out of a chat service called Evolve, currently has eight employees, and 23,000 developers actively using its platform.

The next step for Firebase is to launch out of beta and into generally availability, which will happen over the next few months, according to Tamplin. At that point, the company will begin charging for its services. Developers who still want to try out Firebase at no cost, should sign up for an account now.

By Amy Castor. Amy is a freelance writer for ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach her at amycastor6@gmail.com. Connect to Amy on Twitter at @ahcastor

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