Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebase - Part 1

Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebase - Part 1

#1 Online Course: Vue JS 2 - The Complete Guide (incl. Vue Router & Vuex) (http://codingthesmartway.com/courses/vuejs2-complete-guide/) Vue.js is a powerful ...

Vue.js is a powerful framework for building JavaScript-based single page web-applications and is often considered to combine the best of both, React and Angular.

Firebase is a cloud development platform by Google which offers various services for building modern web & mobile applications. E.g. the Firebase Firestore service enables you to store and sync data in real-time. The Cloud Functions feature enabled you to run mobile back-end code without managing servers.

In this series we’re going to build a real-world chat application by combining the power of Vue.js and Firebase Firestore. Furthermore we’ll also be making use of Firebase Cloud Functions and finally use Firebase Hosting to make our application available to the public.

In this first part of this series we’re going to set up the Vue.js project from scratch, install needed dependencies, establish the connection to Firebase and start implementing the Login component.

Before getting started let’s first take a look at the application we’re going to build in this series.

The final real-time Vue.js chat application will look like the following. Fist the user is able to see a Login screen. To login just enter your name in the text field and click on button Enter Chat or just hit return.

Next the Chat window is opened. If no messages are existing yet the user will see the following result in the browser:

The text No messages yet is printed out and you’re able to enter the first chat message and click on button Submit or hit return to send this message. Next the message is presented in the chat window together with the login name and the time:

All users logged in will be able to see the messages in the chat window. Next you can see the how the output will look like if multiple messages from multiple users are entered:

Finally we’ll be implementing a Cloud Function onMessageCreate which is invoked each time a new message is submitted. This is how the Firebase Cloud Function looks like in the Firebase backend.

The purpose of this method is to monitor the number of message documents already created in Firestore. If more than ten documents are already existing the oldest documents should be deleted, so that only ten messages remain. By using this cloud function we’re able to make sure that the database is not filled with hundreds or thousands of messages.

Creating A New Vue.js 2 Project

Let’s start creating a new Vue.js project by using Vue CLI 3. Therefore you need to make sure that Vue CLI 3 is installed on your system:

$ npm install -g @vue/cli

Having completed the installation of Vue CLI 3 the new command vue is available.

To start creating a new Vue project via the command line just use the vue create command followed by the name of the new project, e.g.:

$ vue create vue-chat

Follow the steps on the command line and create a new project with the following features:

  • Babel
  • Linter / Formatter
  • Router

For detailed instructions take a look at our Getting Started With Vue CLI 3 tutorial.

Now that the Vue.js project is created and configured we’re able to change into the newly created project folder and start the development web server by typing in:

$ npm run serve

The application is then available via http://localhost:8080.

Adding Dependencies

Let’s further complete the project setup by installing needed dependencies.

Adding Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a very popular responsive, mobile-first front-end component library which will be used to build up the user interface of our Angular web application. Let’s install Bootstrap by using the NPM command in the following way:

$ npm install bootstrap jquery popper.js

Then open main.js and insert the following two import statements to include Bootstrap in our project:

import 'bootstrap'; import 'bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css';

Adding Firebase

Because we’re planning to use various Firebase features we need to add the Firebase JavaScript library to the project as well:

$ npm install firebase

This makes sure that the Firebase JavaScript library is downloaded and installed into the node_modules folder of the project. With that library installed we’re now able to establish a connection to the Firebase service by create a new file src/firebase/init.js and insert the following code:

import firebase from 'firebase/app'; import firestore from 'firebase/firestore'; // Initialize Firebase var config = { apiKey: "...", authDomain: "...", databaseURL: "...", projectId: "...", storageBucket: "...", messagingSenderId: "..." }; const firebaseApp = firebase.initializeApp(config); firebaseApp.firestore().settings({ timestampsInSnapshots: true }); export default firebaseApp.firestore();

The values which are assigned to the properties available in the config object needs to be replaced with the values specific to your Firebase project. To retrieve those settings you need to open the backend of your Firebase account (Firebase console) via URL https://console.firebase.google.com, create a new Firebase project and access the settings in the project settings page via button Add Firebase to your web app.

The Firebase app instance is created by calling method firebase.initializeApp and passing in the config object as a parameter. With the Firebase app instance available we’re now able to access Firestore by calling the firebaseApp.firestore() method. First we’re configuring the Firestore instance by calling the settings method to contain timestamps in snapshots and after that the Firestore instance is being exported, so that we’re able to import it again in our components.

Adding moment.js

Another JavaScript library we’ll be using in our project is Moment.js. Moment.js makes it easy to parse, validate, manipulate, and display dates and times in JavaScript. The following command will install Moment.js:

$ npm install moment

Architecture Of Our Vue.js Chat Application

Before starting to further implement the Vue.js application, let’s first take a look at the architecture of the application:

Here you can see that the application will be split up into three components:

  • Babel
  • Linter / Formatter
  • Router

Login and Chat are both View Components, which means that those components are connected to a route. The CreateMessage component is used inside Chat component.

The default route of the application is connected to Login component. The component is providing the functionality to output a form, so that the user is able to enter a name and login to the chat.

Having logged into the application the user is automatically redirected to the route which is connected to Chat component, so that the chat view becomes visible. Part of that view is the output of the child component CreateMessage.

Implementation

Implementing Login Component

Now we’re ready to implement the first component of the Vue application: Logincomponent. Create a new file src/view/Login.vue and insert the following code:

<template> <div class="container"> <div class="card login"> <div class="card-body"> <h2 class="card-title text-center">Login</h2> <form @submit.prevent="login" class="text-center"> <div class="form-group"> <input type="text" class="form-control" placeholder="Please enter your name ..." name="name" v-model="name"> <p v-if="errorText" class="text-danger">{{ errorText }}</p> </div> <button class="btn btn-primary">Enter Chat</button> </form> </div> </div> </div> </template> <script> export default { name: 'home', data () { return { name: "", errorText: null } }, methods: { login() { if (this.name) { this.$router.push({name: 'Chat', params: {name: this.name}}) } else { this.errorText = "Please enter a name!" } } } } </script> <style> .login{ max-width: 450px; margin-top: 50px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } </style>

The template section of this component contains the HTML code which is needed to output a simple Login form. By using this form the user is able to input a name and then submit the form to enter the chat. If the form is submitted without entering a name an error message is output.

The submit event of the form is bound to method login. This functions checks if a name is entered and then uses this.$router.push to redirect to the Chat route (which will be configured later on) and pass over name as a routing parameter.

Routing Configuration

Finally we need to make sure that the routing configuration is in place to load the Login component when the default application path is accessed. Add the following configuration to src/router.js:

 routes: [ { path: '/', name: 'Login', component: Login }, [...] ]

What’s Next

In this first part of the Building A Real-Time Chat Application With Vue.js and Firebasetutorial series we’ve set up the Vue.js project, installed needed dependencies like the Bootstrap framework, established the connection to Firebase and started with the implementation.

In the next part we’re going to further complete the implementation of the Vue application and we’re going to implement the Chat and CreateMessage component.

What are the differences between the various JavaScript frameworks? E.g. Vue.js, Angular.js, React.js

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

What are the differences? Do they each have specific use contexts?

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

Ember.js vs Vue.js - Which is JavaScript Framework Works Better for You

In this article we will discuss full details and comparison of both Ember.js and Vue.js

JavaScript was initially created to work for web applications. But today they have become the favorite of mobile app developers. Most of the developers prefer to work with frameworks based on JavaScript. It simplifies coding. You can use JavaScript with almost any framework.

The use of a particular framework will decide how easy and fast it is to create the app. So, you must choose the best one suited for the app that you are planning to build. You must make a wise choice so that you benefit in the end. Among the crowded market, two of the frameworks stand out. We will make a comparison between Ember.js and Vue.js.

Why Do You Select A Particular Framework?

Before we start comparing the two frameworks, we should understand the factors that lead to the choice of a framework. Each developer chooses a framework before he or she goes to work on an app. Let us see the reasons for the selection.

● The codes must be easy to understand and transparent.

● The framework should give the maximum power with the least amount of coding.

● The framework should provide a well laid out structure to work on.

● Does the framework support an in-built router or an external plug-in router?

● The framework should be able to transfer more data on a full page-load so that it becomes a single-page app. A single-page app is more beneficial for the application.

● In single page architectures if there is a need for users to share links to sub-screens within the interface, then the framework should have the capacity to route based on the URL.

● A tighter template option can help in enabling two-way binding.

● The framework should not conflict any third-party library.

● Testing the codes inside the framework should be easy.

● The framework should provide the HTTP client service for AJAX calls

● The documentation is essential. It should be complete and up-to-date.

● The framework should be compatible with the latest version of the browser.

● The framework has to fulfill the above conditions for easy construction of the app. You must ensure that the framework you choose meets the conditions.

Vue.js Explained

Developers are always looking at new frameworks to build their apps. The main requirements are speed and low cost. The framework should be easy to use by even new developers. You should be able to use it at low cost. Other considerations are about simple coding, proper documentation, etc.

Vue.js combines a lot of good when it comes to software language for web app development. The architecture of Vue.js is easy to put in use. The apps developed using Vue.js are easy to integrate with new apps.

Vue.js is a very lightweight framework. It makes it fast to download. It is also much faster than other frameworks. The single-file component nature of the framework is also beneficial. The size has made it very popular.

You can further decrease weight. With Vue.js you can separate the template-to-virtual DOM and compiler. You can only deploy the minified and zipped interpreter which is only 12 KB. You can compile the templates in your machine.

Another significant advantage of Vue.js is that it can integrate easily with existing applications created with JavaScript. It will make it easy for using this framework to make changes to applications already present.

Vue.js also integrates easily with other front-end libraries. You can plug in another library and make up for any deficiency in this framework. This feature makes this tool a versatile one.

Vue.js uses the method of rendering on the streaming-side server. You can render your component and get a readable stream. You can then send this to the HTTP server. It makes the server highly responsive. Your users will get the rendered content very quickly.

Vue.js is very SEO friendly. As the framework supports server-side rendering, the views are rendered directly on the server. The search engines list these.

But the most important thing for you is the ease with which you can learn Vue.js. The structure is elementary. Even new developers will find it easy to use it to build their apps. This framework helps in developing both small and large templates. It helps to save a lot of time.

You can go back and check your errors very easily. You can travel back and inspect all the states apart from testing your components. It is another important feature as far as any developer is concerned.

Vue.js also has very detailed documentation. It helps in writing your applications very quickly. You can build a web page or app with the basic knowledge of HTML or JavaScript.

● Vue.js has pure architecture. It helps in integration with other apps

● Vue.js is lightweight and fast. It can be made lighter by deploying only the interpreter

● You can separate the compiler and the template-to-virtual DOM.

● Due to smooth integration, you can use this to make changes to existing apps

● To make up for any shortfall, you can plug-in any library and makeup.

● As Vue.js uses streaming-side server rendering, your users can get quick responses.

● The server-side rendering also helps in being ranked higher by search engines.

● It has a simple structure. Easy to use for any new developer

● You can go back and check and correct your errors.

● You can check all the existing states.

● Detail documentation also helps build the web page or application very quickly.

Ember.js Decoded

Ember.js is an MVVM model framework. It is open-source software. This platform is mostly used for creating complex multi-page applications. It maintains up-to-date features without discarding any of the old features.

With this framework, you have to follow the architecture of the framework strictly. The JS framework is very tightly organized. It reduces the flexibility that other frameworks might offer.

There is a very refined and developed control system for its platforms and tools. You can integrate it with the new version with the tools provided. There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated APIs.

You can understand Ember’s APIs easily. They are also easy to work. You can make use of highly complex functionalities simply and straightforwardly.

The performance is better as similar jobs are processed together. It creates batches of similar bindings and DOM updates to improve the performance. It means that the browser needs to process them in one go. It will avoid recomputing for each task, wasting a lot of time.

You can write the codes in a simple manner and modules. You can use any of Ember’s APIs. It is possible due to the presence of Promises everywhere.

Ember comes with a well-written guide. The API is recorded in a useful manner. It is a front-end framework that is loaded. Ember has a router, pipeline, services, etc. of its own.

The basis for views, controllers, models, and framework is the Ember Object Model. All components come from the same objects. The framework is firm and steady. The reason is that all elements have similar jobs and characteristics.

Ember has made the general application, organization, and structure clear so that you don’t make any mistakes. You will have no chance to complicate the application unnecessarily. If you have to go out of the defined limits, you will have to force your way out.

The language used for templating in Embers is Handlebars. This language helps Embers to keep its logic out of view. The clean syntax of Handlebars makes it easy for you to read and understand the templates. Handlebar templates are faster to load.

Another advantage you gain from Handlebar is that you don’t have to update your template every time you add or remove data from the page. It will be done automatically by the language itself.

A community that is continually improving the framework supports Ember. They are updating the framework with the latest technology. They also make sure that backward compatibility is possible.

● Ember.js is an open-source MVVM model framework suitable for complex multiple-page applications.

● It offers both the latest and old features.

● It has a very tightly structured framework which doesn’t offer much flexibility

● A very refined control system helps you to integrate with new versions without any problem.

● There is strict guidance about avoiding outdated API versions.

● Ember’s APIs help you to use complex functionalities in a simple manner

● There is no recomputing for each task as the framework allows the browser to do similar functions together.

● Promises allow you to write modular and straightforward code using any API of Ember.js.

● Ember.js is a fully loaded, front-end framework.

● The framework is stable because all components have the same functionalities and properties.

● It has well-defined limitations which will prevent your complicating your application

● Handlebars, the language used by Ember.js allows you to read and understand templates easily. It also helps to load the templates faster.

● Handlebars will ensure to update the template every time you add or remove data.

● Ember.js has an active community that updates the framework regularly and facilitates backward compatibility.

A Comparison Between Ember.js And Vue.js

This article intends to compare the features of both frameworks. Let us see how the characteristics of these frameworks compare. It will help you to make use of the right framework for your web application.

When you need a modern engine for an old application, it is Vue.js which will help you. It combines the best properties of other frameworks. Vue.js is a developing framework. A ready-to-use library of interface elements does not exist. However, many third-party libraries can help you.

Ember.js offers you a well-organized and trustworthy framework. When the development team is big, this is the framework that suits best. It allows everyone to understand the written code and contribute to a common project. The technology will be up-to-date, and the platform will be stable.

Vue.js can help you use the syntax of different kinds. It helps in writing the codes with ease. It is also an SEO friendly framework. Ember is a fully loaded front-end framework and can help you develop the applications very fast. But it is not suitable for developing small projects.

It is not easy to say this is better than that. It will depend on what kind of project you have undertaken. Both have their pluses and minuses. The below table will help in a better comparison.

Final Thoughts

It is not easy to conclude as to which is better. It all depends on the application that you want to develop. Both frameworks are developing. Both are getting updates. Both the communities are working on the frameworks.

While Vue.js is more comfortable for writing codes, Ember is a full-stack framework allowing the development of apps very fast. It is suitable for big projects. It is too complicated to be used for smaller projects.

We hope you had a great time reading this article. If you’ve any questions or suggestions related to this blog, then feel free to ask them in the comment section. Thank You.!