Firebase (YC S11) launches its iOS SDK, brings realtime capabilities to mobile

by Y Combinator3/20/2013

Today, Firebase hopes to change this with the launch of a mobile SDK bringing its scalable realtime backend platform to iOS. In other words, the company can offload the major engineering challenges to allow resource-constrained developers to build rich Web-like experiences for mobile, keeping users engaged and delivering updates as they occur. Firebase can also simplify the development process and in many cases can be used as a complete backend, meaning developers can skip the hassle and expense of running their own servers.

Based on the traction of its Javascript-based Web product, including with companies like Atlassian, BitTorrent, Pivotal Labs, and eToro, it’s fair to assume the new mobile product will be popular in the gaming, social, and communications categories. The iOS SDK is already in use by collaborative reading app Kindoma, alternative PC input platform GemPad, and silent disco synchronization platform DiscoSync.

In an effort to demonstrate its technology, Firebase did something so obvious, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it used before: It created a standalone sample app and open sourced the code. SF Live Bus is a Firebase-powered iOS app that displays a realtime view of the location of every bus in San Francisco. The team created the entire app with 30 lines of unique code, 12 lines of Firebase code, plus standard iOS boilerplate. The team also created a simple sample chat example.

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