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FireCMS enters the beta period

ยท 5 min read

Exciting times for our project!

After more than 60 releases, and numerous refinements of the internal components and APIs, we are ready to start the beta release of version 1.0.0 ๐Ÿ’ƒ

We now consider that the code and the UX and UI are mature enough to create a beta release (though we have multiple instances of previous versions already in production!).

In the last months we've been focused on improving the CMS quality by doing a lot of internal restructuring that is also going to affect the public facing APIs.

A bit of backgroundโ€‹

We started building FireCMS out of necessity. We were working on several projects based on Firebase and in most of them we needed to develop some kind of backend admin panel/CMS. We took some of those tools we had built, and merged them into a single generic project that would support any database structure and data type. We needed to make sure that we would need to be able to customize many aspects of each implementation based on the necessity.

The outcome was a very good starting point to what would become FireCMS after many iterations and feature updates. One of the consequences of this approach was that the code was tightly coupled to Firebase, and you could find imports to Firebase code in most layers of the code.

The influence of Firebaseโ€‹

The original coupling to Firebase and specially the data structure of Firestore has influenced many aspects of this project. The way we create entities based on documents and collections and subcollections mimics the Firestore data structure. What seemed like a limitation has turned out to be an opportunity to think of a great UI.

At FireCMS we have a special passion for user experience and believe that internal admin tools don't always receive the love they deserve.

In this time, we have developed some high quality components such as the spreadsheet views of collections, or the side panel to edit entities and nested subcollections.

Where we are goingโ€‹

In the last year, we have seen developers integrate FireCMS in ways we had never imagined! We have tweaked the APIs to try to accommodate those requirements, but we have come to the conclusion that a bigger change was needed.

The result is a big rework of the internal APIs and components that improves re-usability and customisation.

We have also added a lot of minor performance tweaks as well as design tweaks and improvements, including a very awesome new dark mode!

If you are using FirebaseCMSApp (previously CMSApp), so FireCMS as a standalone app, you will need to update some APIs (see the Migrating from alpha versions).

But, but, but... If you need more customisation you can now completely override FirebaseCMSApp and reuse all its internal components. This means you now have control of the MUI theme (adapted to V5), the CMS routes (adapted to React Router 6), or how you display the different parts, such as the side dialogs, or add your own.

You are now free to integrate the new FireCMS component and reuse all the internal components, combine them with your own, build your own custom themes or custom backend implementations.

Separation of concernsโ€‹

In the process of having a cleaner code, all the code related to Firebase has been isolated into 3 components, one for authentication, one for the data source and one for storage. These components are abstracted away behind their respective interfaces. This means you can replace any of those parts with your custom implementation!

We have three new types that abstract away the services provided by Firebase:

  • AuthDelegate, in charge of handling the auth operation such as login or sign out, and build the logged-in user.
  • DataSource, in charge of handling data operation (fetch, listen, save, delete).
  • StorageSource, in charge of dealing with file storage operations.

We provide implementation for using Firebase Auth, Firestore and Firebase Storage, assigned by default if you use FirebaseCMSApp.

This means that you are now able to use FireCMS with any backend, auth or storage solution. If you want to go this way, you can check an example implementation of FireCMS that uses the internal components instead of FirebaseCMSApp

How did it go?

If you have been using FireCMS with a custom backend, we would love to hear your feedback either in our Discord channel or directly at ๐Ÿ˜Š

Code qualityโ€‹

We have done a huge internal refactor that affects pretty much every part of the CMS. We have now a much better separation of the internal packages. There is also a package named firebase_app which encapsulates an implementation of FireCMS that uses the Firebase services as backend.

All the code referring to Firebase can be found only in this internal package, and nowhere else. This means the core of FireCMS has been completely isolated from Firebase and is now much more maintainable and extendable.

We have got a lot of PRs and support from out users and would love to foster that participation going forward. A cleaner code will help everyone involved and allow for more and better features!

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