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A Supabase overview

Supabase and man touching open source word

Supabase, in recent years, has emerged as an established alternative to Firebase for the development of database-driven applications, due to its comparable functionalities but with a distinctive approach based on open source enterprise-level tools.

Using robust open source tools allows developers to benefit from a more open and flexible development ecosystem, enabling them to customise the platform to the specific needs of the project and thus giving them more control than with proprietary solutions.

Supabase offers a wide range of functionalities, including real-time database, user authentication and file storage. Its adoption of high-quality open source tools is a solid foundation for the development of scalable and high-performance applications. Moreover, Supabase presents itself as an open-source alternative to Firebase, adopting the so-called Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) model. Such a model offers ready-made solutions, greatly simplifying the work of developers on the backend side. Developers can therefore focus on creating the frontend, while the backend-as-a-service handles most of the heavy work, removing the need for complex configuration and infrastructure management.

Supabase thus stands out as an open and flexible option, offering a comprehensive backend-as-a-service that can be adapted to the needs of developers, start-ups and companies looking for ready-to-use solutions for web and mobile application development. Let us now look at this service in more detail.

 

Why did Firebase popularise the Baas model?

Firebase has significantly promoted the Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) model mainly through its pioneering offer of a comprehensive and feature-rich BaaS solution. As the first BaaS platform to offer such a wide range of services, Firebase has made a number of essential tools for managing the backend of applications accessible to developers and development teams.

The BaaS model simplifies application development by allowing developers to focus primarily on front-end logic and rely on managed services for the backend. Firebase has helped consolidate this idea by providing a comprehensive set of services, including real-time databases, user authentication, media storage, hosting, serverless functions and even machine learning capabilities.

The key of Firebase's success was its ability to provide an integrated platform, allowing developers to obtain all necessary services from a single source, greatly simplifying development and reducing the complexity of backend management. Such ease of use combined with the abundance of features provided has helped make the BaaS model increasingly popular, as many other platforms have followed suit, seeking to provide a similarly comprehensive and managed approach to the backend of applications.

 

What does Supabase offer?

Supabase offers a wide range of services designed to simplify and enhance application development. Its main offerings include:

1) Database:  Supabase provides a reliable database in which developers can store and manage all the data needed for their applications. Among other things, this includes a wide range of functionalities for efficient and scalable data management.

2) Authentication: the platform fully manages user authentication, offering several options, such as access via e-mail and password, access with Google and Facebook accounts, and even authentication via magic links. This enables developers to easily and safely implement user management processes.

3) Storage: Supabase includes a storage feature that allows multimedia files and other large data to be saved. It facilitates the management of content such as images, videos and other files within the application.

4) Edge functions: Supabase's Edge functions, equivalent to traditional serverless functions, are triggered by events and run in the cloud. This allows developers to easily write and deploy custom code without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

5) Real Time: Supabase supports the development of multiplayer experiences through real-time data synchronisation. This is critical for applications that require immediate updates and real-time interactivity.

6) Vector: Supabase's Vector service allows developers to integrate machine learning (ML) models to store, index and search vector embeddings. This extends the possibilities of implementing advanced machine learning-based functionality.

 

Supabase also stands out for its transparent application of prices, which differ according to the needs of developers.

 

Supase's database

Supabase offers a free, SQL-based PostgreSQL database, complete with tables and relations. It is important to note that this PostgreSQL database is open source, a significant advantage. You might wonder whether managing a SQL database might be complex, considering the current stigma around SQL databases, with the rise of NoSQL solutions such as MongoDB, Firebase and Firestore.

However, with Supabase, managing a SQL database is not as complicated as you might think. Supabase takes care of all the complex tasks behind the scenes, managing the infrastructure and scalability, freeing you from these worries. You are provided with an intuitive interface that allows you to interact with the data without the need to write SQL code. This greatly simplifies the use of the database, as the screenshot on the official Supabase website clearly shows.

Supabase table view

SDKs and libraries

Supabase fornisce principalmente SDK per il web, in modo da poterlo utilizzare con qualsiasi framework di frontend web, come React, Svelte, Vue e Angular. Per i dispositivi mobili, si concentrano principalmente sulla multipiattaforma, quindi su cose come React Native, Flutter e Ionic. Ci sono anche alcune librerie emergenti che sono elencate sul loro sito web e sono open source, quindi si possono controllare anche su github, quindi ci sono una libreria python, una libreria c-sharp e una libreria kotlin. È davvero interessante perché la libreria kotlin ci permetterà di usare Supabase con le applicazioni native per Android e c-sharp è molto importante per gli sviluppatori di giochi unity, che notoriamente usano molto Firebase nella maggior parte dei loro giochi. 

Supabase mainly provides SDKs for the web, so you can use it with any web frontend framework, such as React, Svelte, Vue and Angular. For mobile devices, the focus is mainly on cross-platform, so frameworks such as React Native, Flutter and Ionic. There are also some emerging libraries that are listed on their website and are open source, so you can check them out on github as well, so there's a Python library, a C# library and a Kotlin library. It's really interesting because the kotlin library will allow us to use Supabase with native Android applications and c-sharp is very important for unity game developers, who are known to use Firebase a lot in most of their games.

 

Conclusion

Summing up, Supabase stands out as a solid alternative to Firebase, offering not only comparable functionality, but also the advantage of being an open source option supported by a large and active community. Its user-friendly interface allows developers to easily interact with all the features offered, including effective database authentication, making the implementation accessible even to those without in-depth technical knowledge.

Especially notable is the presence of an SQL database with text search, which is a brilliant opportunity for applications requiring advanced search functionality. In addition, transparent pricing with a predefined ceiling provides clarity and control over costs, especially for those using the free plan, avoiding unpleasant surprises at the end of the month.

If you are looking for a solution for web or mobile application development that combines advanced functionality, ease of use and an active community, Supabase is a highly recommended choice. For more information or to start your project with Supabase or the technologies and languages we implement, do not hesitate to contact DevInterface, our team of experienced developers will be happy to assist you in implementing and optimising your application.