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App Analytics Leads Firebase Mobile Back-End Upgrade

The Firebase platform for mobile and Web apps has been upgraded with new functionality -- including new app analytics -- in an update announced today.

With roots as a Back-end-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution providing database and other supporting server-side services such as user authentication, the Firebase platform has been expanded by parent company Google to be more of a complete app development platform since it was acquired about two years ago.

Google added a bunch of functionality -- including tools for app development, user acquisition and engagement, monetization, and more -- in May, when it also introduced Firebase Analytics.

"Firebase Analytics is user and event-centric and gives you insight into what your users are doing in your app," Google said at the time. "You can also see how your paid advertising campaigns are performing with cross-network attribution, which tells you where your users are coming from. You can see all of this from a single dashboard."

In today's announcement of further upgrades, that analytics functionality takes center stage.

Firebase Analytics
[Click on image for larger view.] Firebase Analytics (source: Google)

"Firebase Analytics now offers live reporting, a new integration with Google 'Data Studio' and real-time exporting to BigQuery," product manager Francis Ma said in a blog post published today from the Firebase Dev Summit in Berlin.

In addition to the ability to export data in real-time to Google's BigQuery -- a managed enterprise data warehouse for large-scale data analytics in the cloud -- Ma highlighted the following new features:

  • Real-time uploading of conversion events.
  • DebugView for validation of analytics instrumentation.
  • StreamView, which will offer a live, dynamic view of analytics data as it's received.

"To further enhance your targeting options, we've improved the connection between Firebase Analytics and other Firebase features, such as Dynamic Links and Remote Config," Ma said. "For example, you can now use Dynamic Links on your Facebook business page, and we can identify Facebook as a source in Firebase Analytics reporting. As well, you can now target Remote Config changes by User Properties, in addition to Audiences."

Other upgrades boost crash reporting functionality, better support game development with a Unity plug-in and provide an updated library of UI elements.

Firebase Crash Reporting has emerged from a beta program with new crash diagnostics and the ability to reproduce app crashes.

"Firebase Crash Reporting now shows Firebase Analytics event data in the logs for each crash," Ma said. "This gives you clarity into the state of your app leading up to an error. Things like which screens of your app were visited are automatically logged with no instrumentation code required. Crash logs will also display any custom events and parameters you explicitly log using Firebase Analytics. Firebase Crash Reporting works for both iOS and Android apps."

Other upgrades to Firebase include:

  • The new Unity plug-in provides support for Firebase Analytics along with database, authentication, notifications and more.
  • The FirebaseUI library of common UI elements used in the construction of apps has been enhanced in a new v1.0 edition, featuring elements for authentication, database querying and more.
  • The Firebase Test Lab for Android development now supports more devices and comes in a new free edition. The tool lets developers test their apps on selected devices -- both physical and virtual -- in the cloud.

"Finally, to help wrap your head around all our announcements, we've created a new demo app," Ma said. "This is an easy way to see how Analytics, Crash Reporting, Test Lab, Notifications, and Remote Config work in a live environment, without having to write a line of code."

Ma said more than 750,000 projects have been created on the Firebase platform.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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