We will use this blog to keep you up to date of the latest updates regarding FireCMS, as well as case-studies!
But first, a quick introduction on how we ended up building our own generic headless admin panel/CMS solution based on Firebase!
We started Camberi as an apps and web development agency in 2018. We all were experienced Firebase users, and we found it was a great fit to start new projects, requested by clients.
Usually clients would like to develop an app or a webapp, and most times they would need an additional tool for backend administration. We built 3 tools for different projects, that were similar but slightly different. They were all React projects. We soon realized a generic solution would help us a lot, so we thought: There must be a generic headless CMS based on Firebase/Firestore right?
Right! There were some solutions out there, but we found problems with all of them, which stopped us from using them:
- Either they were generic CMS tools that were not optimised for the Firestore data structure, with its pros and cons (such as React Admin, despite being a great tool).
- Or they impose a specific Firestore data structure, which means that are not suitable for every project. This is the case for Flamelink, which is a commercial solution based on Firebase, which follows a philosophy more similar to Wordpress.
- Or they don't provide enough features. The best solution we have found is Firetable, which shares some core concepts of FireCMS, but we find a bit limited in some Firestore specific areas. It is opinionated on a few things, like the way users are stored for example, and we don't like that. They provide a lot of good widgets but not the possibility to use your own easily.
With all the previous factors taken into account, and a pandemic keeping us home, we decided to unify all the tools we had built into a generic one!
Companies put a lot of effort into building their client facing apps but internal admin tools tend to be the ugly ducklings, with huge productivity implications.
Pretty soon we knew what we wanted to build. Firestore is a no-SQL database with a data structure that consists of collections, that contain documents, that can contain subcollections, and so on. We need that our UI reflects that structure, with an arbitrary level of nested collections.
It is also crucial that that beautiful UI is customizable, and we have added multiple customisation points based on both our needs and your input.
Our headless CMS must allow developers to extend it in any way they need, while keeping it extremely simple to kickstart a new project, with the bare minimum configuration. We need sensible defaults that can be overridden or extended.
FireCMS allows setting up a CMS in no time, just by introducing your collections and document schemas as input, and it renders beautiful editable spreadsheet-like tables and forms. It also builds all the navigation and authorization views automatically, so you don't have to. All the common use cases are covered out of the box, including strings, numbers, booleans, arrays, maps, references to other documents, timestamps... We also provide more advanced use cases, like:
- String enumerations with customization.
- Handling of files such as images, videos or anything really in Google Cloud Storage.
- We automatically generate complex fields for references to other collections, just by providing the collection path. Also, we handle correctly arrays of references.
- Markdown fields, with preview
- Complex typed array structures: such as an array that contains objects of type
productslike in our blog example!
Again, besides the basic and advanced use cases that are bundled with the library, the CMS allows the developer to customise and override most aspects of it!
Take a look at the docs if you would like to know all the possible options!
We hope you enjoy using FireCMS as much as we do while developing it, and I would like to take the change to thank all the external contributors with feedback and PRs.
You rock! 🙌