Cloud Functions for Firebase

What’s up guys, Eze is here. During the past post we were talking about Firebase, AngularJs and a bunch of cool tools to create rapidly powerful front-end apps, in case you missed it you can check here. Today I want to bring you the server side code that runs in a serverless architecture,  and no, I’m not talking about Azure Functions, today we are going to talk about Cloud Functions for Firebase the new tool from the Google Cloud team.

About Cloud Functions for Firebase

Cloud Functions is a hosted, private, and scalable Node.js environment where you can run JavaScript code. What that it means? well basically means you don’t need to take care about where your code is going to run, about which configuration has this server, how much memory is using or which OS version has. You just need to define the code to execute and which event is going to trigger our function. As they say.

Cloud Functions for Firebase provides a way to extend the behavior of Firebase and integrate Firebase features through the addition of server-side code.

Common scenarios for Cloud Functions for Firebase

  • Real-time Database Triggers: Handle events in the Firebase Real-time Database. It’s important to highlight that each change in the database is processed individually, the function runs with Admin privileges and you can change the behavior anytime.
  • Firebase Authentication Triggers: The function can be triggered in response to the creation and deletion of user accounts via Firebase Authentication.
  • Cloud Storage Triggers: The function can be triggered in response to an upload or delete of a file in the cloud storage.

  • HTTP Triggers: Of course the function support HTTP triggers which means that you can manually trigger the function on demand.


Create and deploy your first Function

We are going to use the Firebase CLI tool to create the project for our function. If you haven’t done yet you can install the tool by using this command: npm install -g firebase-tools. Once we have the Firebase CLI tools then we need follow this steps:

  • Run firebase login
  • Navigate to our project folder and run firebase init functions

This will create the following structure:

 +- .firebaserc    # Hidden file that helps you quickly switch between
 |                 # projects with `firebase use`
 +- firebase.json  # Describes properties for your project
 +- functions/     # Directory containing all your functions code
      +- package.json  # npm package file describing your Cloud Functions code
      +- index.js      # main source file for your Cloud Functions code
      +- node_modules/ # directory where your dependencies (declared in
                       # package.json) are installed

Import the required modules and initialize

At this point our Cloud Function is almost ready to go. First we need import the providers modules. In order to do that we need to edit the index.js file which contains the function code.

const functions = require('firebase-functions');

const admin = require('firebase-admin');

And now as in every nodeJs application we need export the function we want run. As you can see in the code below we create a HTTP function that takes the parameter from the query string and add it to the database.

exports.addText = functions.https.onRequest((req, res) => {
const original = req.query.text;
admin.database().ref('/messages').push({original: original}).then(snapshot => {
res.redirect(303, snapshot.ref);

Now we need deploy our function to Firebase. In order to do that we just need execute the following command: firebase deploy –only functions. After do that our function will be available to use via HTTP request.

This is just a small taste of what you can do with this new functionality from the Google Cloud team.  We can use this new tool to maintenance task or just to add more functionality to our current apps. The idea to have a backend for our firebase applications is something really exciting and allow us to have more powerful apps.

For more details of Cloud Functions you can use this link.

For more details of Cloud Functions for Firebase you can use this link.

If you found this post useful please don’t forget to press the like button and share it. If you are in doubt don’t hesitate to ask a question and as always thank you for reading.


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