Whether you’re independent or part of a small or large team, you probably rely on tools like Google’s Firebase to make your life easier. Rather than set up your own crash reporting system, you just integrate Crashlytics. Rather than implement your own push messaging service, you just use Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM.) For smaller or even bigger development teams, it’s a no-brainer to use the awesome tools that Google already provides you. And just to make your lives a bit easier, Google today unveiled new features to the Firebase app development platform. The major announcements today include a new “In-App Messaging” feature, supports for Crashlytics data export to BigQuery, and Crashlytics integration with Jira Software, but there’s more for us to talk about.
Firebase In-App Messaging
Once a user installs your app, how do you communicate with them? It may be tempting to send a push notification using Firebase Cloud Messaging, but you may experience backlash from users who loathe unwanted push notifications. With the new In-App Messaging feature, you can directly send in-app messages to a targeted group of users to keep them engaged within your app. For example, what if you identify a certain group of users whom you want to send certain promotions to? With In-App Messaging, you can send a custom message while those users are actively using the app so you hopefully convert them into long-term, loyal users of your app.
How do you identify groups of users to target with in-app messages? Thanks to Google Analytics, you can create user audiences based on set actions. If you, for example, develop a mobile game and you want to reward users who pass a certain level, you can create a user audience based on users who meet that criteria and then send them an in-app message with a custom image, text, and a button that triggers a specific action. The ability to target certain groups of users is robust thanks to Firebase Predictions integration, and thanks to the data that’s collected, you can start campaigns on a trial-and-error basis to see how best to target your users.
Firebase In-App Messaging rolls out today. You can view the documentation here for more details.
Crashlytics Data Export to BigQuery
If your team deals with massive amounts of data, then you may not find Crashlytics to be suitable for the job. Thanks to BigQuery integration, you can now export all raw, deobfuscated crash data for deeper analysis and custom visualization using your preferred business analytics tool.
Crashlytics Integration with Jira Software
If you use Jira Software for tracking bugs, you’ll be happy to know that you can now create new issues in Jira Software directly from crashes identified in Firebase. It’s as simple as clicking “Create new ticket” after linking Jira Software to your Firebase account. You can also link an issue to an existing ticket to better track the issues you’ve already identified and are working on. With the existing Slack integration, you can also communicate with your team when opening and closing issues in Jira Software first created in Firebase. No need to switch to another platform—all of your favorite tools work together.
Jira Software integration will roll out in the coming weeks.
Change History for Remote Config
If you develop an app and want to run A/B tests, you turn to Remote Config in Firebase. Remote Config allows for behavior and appearance changes in apps without pushing an update—just specify the in-app values you want to override for either all users or a group of users. One of the biggest problems with Remote Config is keeping track of the values you’ve parameters and conditions you’ve changed, but today, Google is adding change history so you won’t have to keep track of changes manually. Firebase will now save 300 versions of your project’s Remote Config for up to 90 days. If you make a change that you don’t like, you can easily rollback to a previous version by clicking the “rollback to version” button.
Change history in Remote Config rolls out today and will be available for all in the next few days. You can view the technical documentation here.
Hosting Multiple Websites with Firebase
Google has announced that over the next few weeks, they’ll roll out an update to Firebase Hosting that allows you to host multiple websites in a single project. In addition, starting from version 4.1.0 of the Firebase CLI, pushing an update to a site will only upload the files that have actually changed since the last release—speeding up the update process.
Revamps to the Project Overview Page
With how many new features and integrations Firebase has gained recently, it was only a matter of time before Google revamped the Project Overview page. Within the next few weeks, you should see a redesigned Project Overview page that gives you a summary of data from each part of Firebase. The summary now includes performance issues, notification and A/B test status, and the usage and health data for other services like Functions, Hosting, Storage, and more. Lastly, the Latest Release section now contains live data.
Firebase Summit Date and Location
If you have the means, Google invites you to meet the Firebase team in person at the annual Firebase Summit on October 29th in Prague, Czech Republic. At the Summit, you’ll get access to an entire day of technical sessions, hands-on codelabs, and discover the latest updates. If you can’t join them in person, you can make your voice heard through any of the official support channels.